Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Monte Grappa da Alano di Piave

Monte Grappa has more optional routes than any climb I know.  There are so many possibilities they even have an event called Monte Grappa Challenge where people try to do 5 (or more)  different climbing routes in one day.  I climbed starting in Pederobba last year, so today just for fun I tried it from Alano di Piave.  I drove to Pederobba so I could get some flattish km in before the start.  Along the river at Fener, turn left toward Alano, head up the gentle climb through town, and follow the signs for Passo del Tomba or Monte Tomba.  This is a mostly shady climb up a forested gorge.  The worst stretch is 5km of average 10% gradient, which wore me out pretty good.  I caught up with another biker and commiserated about how hard it was and he said it was especially hard at age 72!  Ok, time for me to stop whining.

At 861meters you join the road  from Pederobba, along the ridge and across the flowered meadows of Passo del Tomba.  After some fairly easy ascending along a cliffside road, you reach a scalinata di tornanti exposed to the sun, gaining 253 meters in 2 km, for an average gradient of 12.65%.  I was in full vapor lock toward the end of this at 1174m, gasping and wobbling but I never stopped.  A brief false flat was followed by another ramp up to 1445 meters at La Vedetta.

Now a nice break, descending 10% slopes to Val delle Mure, a wonderful grassy valley with a herd of Holsteins drinking at their favorite pond then heading upward to graze.  Climbing out of here you pass through some World War I tunnels and more beautiful meadows.  After some cliffside riding you turn toward Monte Grappa and make the final push up to memorial at 1732m.  I parked my bike and walked up to the two massive ossuaries, interment of the remains of thousands of Italian and Austro-Hungarian soldiers killed during the endgame of the war.  

The descent is much easier of course, except the climb back up to La Vedetta from Val delle Mure.  I skipped the descent back to Alano, returning directly to Pederobba for the drive home.  And now the difficult task of choosing which of the routes to try next. 

Above Alano del Piave; they've included the
flat starting/ending sections in their calculation

From summit- looking down the route of the ascent from Nardo to north

From summit toward northwest

Westward view from summit

Looking down at the route I climbed

View east toward Val delle Mure

Beautiful rock formations above Valle San Liberale

Wild boar round up tomorrow morning

Counterclockwise ride

The climb from Passo del Tomba to summit

Close up of scalinata di tornanti of death

2 km of 12.65% average gradient 

Note the amount of gradient above 10% for almost 3km

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