Friday, October 29, 2010

Monte Rest out & back

Today's the last day of sunshine for awhile, so I headed up Passo Monte Rest.  I was a little worried the pass might be snowed-over because it's over 1000 meters, but I figured I could just turn around if the road was closed.

I headed to Meduno, then Tramonti di Sopra where the climb begins.  It climbs gradually at first, until the Ponte di Torrente Viellia at 492m.  From here to the top you traverse 26 switchbacks, gaining 560 meters in 8 km.  The surroundings are beautiful- beech tree forest with orange and yellow leaves dappled with sunlight, mixed with dark green conifers.  All the rain has the streams running like crazy, with gorgeous waterfalls where the switchbacks repeatedly cross Torrente Viellia.  The sound of birdsong and falling water accompany you all the way up the climb.

After the road crosses this torrente for the last time, through a gap in the trees there's an awesome panorama of the valley and surrounding mountains, with the twisty road you've climbed visible far far below.  The cliffs of Monte Rest rise hundreds of meters vertically above you.  Around 900m snow appears on the road sides, though much has melted from the southern exposure's  bright sun.  Above 1000m the snow covers everything- just before the top you enter the shade of an adjacent peak, which has prevented the snow from melting.  It weighs down the boughs of tall conifers, with occasional loud crashes of a limb's snow-load impacting the ground far below. 

After donning my wind jacket I headed back down.  I slowed to a snail's pace at the end of each tornante because of ice and wet leaves, stopping several times to enjoy the music of waterfalls.  On reaching the bottom I rode home as rapidly as possible to check on the dogs. 





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