Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sella Carnizza

Another wonderful ride in the Julian Alps, this one through Val Resia and up very steeply to Sella Carnizza at 1085m.

Got an early start, and began riding from Resiutta at 8AM.  It was cool and clear as I left town and headed up the valley.  Gorgeous views of the mountainous ridge to the south and white water of Torrente Resia.  After an easy 10 km warmup along the valley I reached the village of Resia (376m), and turned right.  It gets steep briefly (12.9%), then mellows out to 5-6% for about a km and a half.  A large meadowy area called Lischiazze has a few houses, and I noticed a helicopter circling in the mountains ahead.  I asked a guy watching it from his balcony, but he didn't know what was up either.  Then the road got very steep and headed into dense beech tree forest.  I noticed a huge frane (landslide) beside the road at the next switchback.  It was at the base of a very high peak, and was a 100-meter-high tumbled mix of giant boulders, trees, dirt, etc.  Luckily it hadn't covered the road, but the material looked very unstable.  At the next tornanti, a workman said I should go back down because of the frane.  I asked if I could continue to Slovenia since I'd already passed the frane and he said ok.  He must have thought I was German-  he said Auf Wiedersehen.  

The road continues climbing steeply for 4 km, averaging 13.7% with several stretches of +18%.  I just stood the whole way.  The surface is good, and the shade from the large beech trees keeps things nice and cool.  I don't know if it's accurate, but the Ediciclo guide compares this gradient to the top of Tre Cime di Laveredo.  To me it was very strenuous, but climbable.

The sella (1085m) opens into a wide meadow with some farmhouses.  Now starts the narrow and rough road down the gorge.  It's not steep but you must go slowly in case of an approaching car because it is so twisty and narrow.  Also many rocks (some paving stone sized) which you must avoid.  The area feels wild and mostly deserted.  At the bottom is the village of Uccea (607m) where you join the main road.  A sign pointing left said Slovenia 1km, so I cruised over there.  Beautiful Torrente Uccea separates the two countries, in a heavily wooded valley.  I headed back up along the main road about 7km to Passo di Tanamea (870m), then down a long descent along Torrente Torre to Tarcento.

Now a 30km flat ride to Gemona and back up SS13 along Torrente Fella to Resiutta.  My original plan was to simply return from Uccea back over Sella Carnizza, but this changed due to landslide.

The mountainous ridge above Val di Resia

Close up, with shaft of light illuminating a row of dolomite spires

Looking back from the meadows after Sella Carnizza:
on left Monte Musi (1870m), right Monte Nisca (1454m)

Torrente Uccea downstream flowing into Slovenia

Torrente Uccea upstream, coming from Italy

From bridge over Torrente Torre, looking north at ridge
separating this valley from Val di Resia to the north

18.4% and 18.5% grades climbing to Sella Carnizza 

Average grade for final 3.8km is 13.7%

Altimetria from

Val di Resia up to Sella Carnizza

From Sella Carnizza to Slovenia, then to Passo di Tanamea

From Passo di Tanamea down Torrente Torre
toward Tarcento

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