Monday, May 16, 2011

Val Dogna

I was so overwhelmed by Altopiano del Montasio last Friday I had to try another nearby climb today- Val Dogna.  Last night a tempesta blew away all the humidity and warmth, and left a couple centimeters of snow on the mountain behind our house, Pala Fontana (1637m).  It was beautiful against the green grass, lit by the rising sun.  So I had hopes of beautiful weather in the higher mountains.

I left around 6 AM and drove to Dogna, a few km further up SS13 from Chiusaforte. From here I biked, following the signs for Val Dogna, which led across the narrows of Torrente Fella, and immediately began a gentle climb.  After a narrow but well-lit galleria, I entered the gorge of Torrente Dogna.   The road steadily ascends the gorge's north wall, with lovely views of waterfalls plunging down the cliffs.  As you gain altitude, the road makes increasingly longer and more-serpentine diversions into side canyons carved by descending streams.  As far as the eye can see, stands of tall red spruce trees cover the valley walls and surrounding mountains.

Around 1000 meters the road levels out and continues to hug the gorge walls for about 3 km.   From here awesome views across Val Dogna of the peaks along the ridge above Altopiano del Montasio.  They seem completely different mountains viewed from the north than they did from the south last Friday.

Eventually the false flat ends and the road starts to ascend again.  It leaves the gorge wall and begins a series of tornanti up the slopes of Jôf di Miezegnot (2089m) to the north.  The fir trees' branches here are covered in snow from last night's storm.  Already the sun's rays are melting it, and in the silence the falling snowmelt sounds like rain.  At Sella di Sompdogna the pavement ends (1398m).  Everything is blanketed in snow here, including the dirt road up to a rifugio said to have great views above the trees and hills.  I decide not to walk up because of the mud under the snow- maybe in summer I'll try again.

The descent was fun, with lots of curves and some fast straight stretches.  Many of the views I enjoyed on the way up seemed new again, as the light had changed.  I stopped to take them in again.

This is a fairly easy climb with a good, wide road surface and easy access.  Tough to beat given the spectacular scenery- highly recommended.  

Waterfall on north side of Val Dogna

Up the gorge toward Jôf di Montasio (2763m)

Looking west down the gorge across Torrete Fella,
 toward Zuc dal Bôr (2197m)

Close up Zuc dal Bôr (left) and Monte Chiavals (2096m)

Close up Jôf di Montasio 

Jôf Fuart (2668m), left and Jôf di Montasio, right

From Sella Sompdogna, looking east across Slovenia border 
toward Monte Mangart (2676m)

To the north from 1350m- Jôf di Miezegnot (2089m)

A stoney peak adjacent to Jôf di Montasio

Waterfall down the exposed
sedimentary strata of Val Dogna's south wall

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