Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Dobratsch - Villacher Alpenstrasse

Another climb unknown (to me) until I saw it while researching Grossglockner.  The climb starts right on the outskirts of Villach, a city on the Austrian border with Italy.  Almost immediately it turns steep, so I rode downhill from the Alpenarena ski jump ramp to some lovely horse farms below.  After warming up I began the ascent at around 550 meters.

This side of Dobratsch (2167m) is covered with dense spruce forest.  The road switchbacks upslope, passing the top of the ski jump ramp and continuing up the seemingly endless wooded mountainside. After the switchbacks the long constant 10% straight stretches begin.  There's a bit of variation between 9-12% but the gradient continues unabated.  A brief dip at the Alpengarten(1403m) and then more constant 10%.  You come out of the forest into alpine meadows around 1650m and reach end of pavement at 1730m.  

From here there is a dirt road/hiking trail to the top of the peak.  I took a few pictures and then headed downhill.  Wonderful descent, the pavement is smooth and wide, traffic was light early in the morning, an absolute blast.   I'll be returning here, maybe with Marilyn to see the Alpengarten.  

Note: the south side of the Dobratsch is a very long, high vertical cliff which you see for miles while driving toward Villach.  I did not get a picture while driving but you can see it here http://www.villacher-alpenstrasse.at/en/der-dobratsch/   

The top of the ski jump ramp

Ski jump ramp from below (astroturf instead of snow)

Monte Canin (2587m) center, Jof Fuart (2666m) near Altopiano Montasio, right

Jalouc (2645m) left and Mangart (2677m) right, in Slovenia

Hiking trail to Dobratsch summit (2167m)

The warm-up and the climb

Remarkably constant gradient for 16.5 km

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