Last month I visited the Italian side of the World War I battlefield Kolovrat. Today I decided to check out the Slovenian side of the ridge, as well as the valleys far below.
It was quite windy and cool when I started riding at Ponte San Quirino, just east of Cividale. I warmed up on the flatish road to Clodig, but instead of heading up the climb to Drenchia like before, I turned right at Clodig toward Lombai. This route climbs the opposite side of the Cossiza gorge, and is somewhat less steep but still a good workout. After reaching the gorge rim around 630m, this route follows the rolling topography to 795m. Here you turn right toward Kolovrat and Rifugio Solarie, ascending steeply until Passo Solarie (960m).
After crossing the Slovenian boundary, you make a left turn marked Livek (going straight takes you to Kambresco). Moments later, another junction, where you turn left for Kolovrat (going straight takes you to Tolmin). The road for Kolovrat ascends, somewhat steeply but not bad. Soon you reach the rolling ridgeline and follow it along the frontline fortifications of a century ago. There are occasional tunnel/trench entrances marked with signs. At the midpoint is a flat path across Passo Zanuso to the Italian side of the ridge. There are beautiful views of the Soča River valley and surrounding mountains all along the route.
I continued to a highpoint of 1140m, and then began descending, first gradually and then more rapidly. The road is quite rough, so I held onto my brakes (plus it was cold and I didn't want to freeze). There were some steep pitches here (maybe 18%), so climbing it will be a challenge (especially from Idrsko in the valley, at 209m) Eventually I reached Livek at 693m and turned toward Italy. This is a nice rolling pass which then descends steeply to Cepletischis (550m). Here begins the wonderful descent through the Alberone gorge, which I previously rode after climbing Matajur. Great fun!
|Monte Matajur from south rim of Cossiza gorge|
|Slovenia hills to the south of Passo Solarie|
|Soča River valley to southeast|
|Soča River to the north|
|Slovenian mountains to northeast of Kolovrat|
|The mountain range continues toward the east|
|Goats cavorting in pasture above Livek|
|Livek with Monte Matajur looming above|
|The taller Julian Alps farther north; Kobarid in foreground,|
site of pivotal Battle of Caporetto
|Looking back toward Livek from Italian border|
|Profile of elevation|
|Note the steep gradients descending toward Livek|
Map of the ride