Thursday, July 26, 2012

Mangart

I started from Bovec (450m) in Slovenia around 0745.  It was heavily overcast and looked like it could start pouring any minute.  In fact after a few minutes it did begin drizzling lightly for a couple of hours, almost throughout the entire climb. The road climbs easily up the Koritnica River valley, past Kluže Fortress and onward to Log Pod Mangartom (645m), a picturesque village with wide meadows along the river, surrounded by mountains.   Here the gradient begins to steepen for next 4 km, averaging 8.6% through Strmec (975m).  A bit further up, after a tall bridge at 1100 meters you reach the turnoff for Mangart (or you can continue straight for another 2 km to Predil Fortress at 1156m).

The first segment of Mangart climb is through a rocky area along a stream, normally exposed to full sun.  But today it was cloudy with a cooling mist, so no problems.  A bit further on the environment changes to fir trees, then big shady beech trees.  Very nice through here.  Then you're exposed on bare rock again, with scattered trees and a few tunnels to cool off in.  The first tunnel had been commandeered by a maraudering herd of goats, who were laying about in the road without concern for passers-through.  Luckily I was able to weave a path between them without being impaled on any horns.  

The final section is alpine, bare rock with some small grassy areas here and there covered with wildflowers.  Quite cold here as the wind was blasting.  At the high point (2055m) I parked my bike and hiked up to the edge of the north facing cliffs.  Here are wonderful views of Laghi Fusine near Tarvisio, valleys, and more mountains.

The windy descent was quite cold, despite my windjacket.  Once I got down a bit lower it warmed up some.  Still I rode fairly slowly because of the damp pavement.  

Mangart's an excellent climb, 10km averaging 9%, with awesome scenery.  The road's not as busy as some others because of its remoteness, it's a dead-end, and has a toll on cars and motorcycles.   I'd climb it early in the morning or on a cloudy day because it's mostly exposed to full southern sun.

Jof di Montasio (2753m)

Kanin range (2587m)


Laghi Fusine with Austria in background

Skala (2133m)

Mangart (2677m)

Close up Laghi Fusine

Looking over the sheer cliff-edge, with wildflowers


Koritnica River gorge
Downstream the gorge narrows to only a few feet across


The climb from Log Pod Mangartom to Mangart

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