Saturday, September 24, 2011

Passi Falzarego e Valparola

Returned to the  border of Dolomiti Bellunese and Alto Adige today after a week of rain, scheduling conflicts etc.  Felt good to be back in the mountains.

Passo Falzarego is at the crossroads of Cortina- Alta Badia and the road from Caprile.  I decided on the southern approach from Caprile (998m) because it starts closer to home.  The road begins climbing a set of switchbacks almost immediately, so I didn't warm up sufficiently.  It was quite a chilly, shady morning so I tried standing in the pedals to generate heat, but the grade was only 7-8% so standing didn't help much.  Around 1500 meters you emerge from the mountains' shadow and cold is no longer an issue.  Now you begin the actual ascent of the pass, with a series of 17 tornanti carrying you through meadows, forest and finally rocky alpine-scape to Passo Falzarego (2117m).  Some lovely peaks here- Sass di Stria  and Lagazuoi (2752m) standing out.  Continued another couple of kilometers upward to Passo Valparola (2192m).  Wonderful views from the pass to the north, south and west.

I headed down the descent into Alta Badia- first beautiful San Cassiano then La Villa (1420m).  The shady curves were damp- it had snowed earlier in the week,  and though the roads were cleared I worried there might be black ice from snowmelt and low temps at night.  No problems though.  

After La Villa the road climbs gradually toward Corvara (1522m).  Here I repeated the climb over Passo Campolongo (1875m) as on the previous ride of Sella Ronda.  At Arabba (1600m) I headed down the rolling main road toward Digonera and Livinallongo (1470m).  From here it's a fun descent down into the gorgeous valley of Torrente Cordevole to Saviner di Lasta,  Rocca Pietore and Caprile. 

This is a fun ride, not too steep.  I'd love to ride it clockwise someday, as the climb from La Villa to Passo Valparola looked quite inviting. 

Lovely villages in the meadows west of the climb from Caprile

Marmolada glacier from afar

Lagazuoi (2752m)

Sass di Stria cliffs, right

Cloud capped reddish mountain to northeast 

View south from Passo Valparola

Lavarella (3055m) on descent toward San Cassiano 

Close up of tower on Cima Del Lago (2654m) 

Sound of Music town in meadows below Pieve di Livinallongo

Another gorgeous village above Val Cordevole

Gruppo Sella capped by clouds 

Torrente Cordevole

Climb from Caprile to Passo Falzarego

Over the pass to Passo Valparola, down to La Villa, then up
to Corvara and Passo Campolongo

Arabba to Livinallongo and Caprile

Left Passo Valparola, right Passo Campolongo

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