Saturday, November 24, 2012

La Crosetta

Another favorite prealpi pordenonesi climb- La Crosetta is the southward pass accessing altopiano Il Cansiglio.  It starts below Sarone, a perfect warm-up-ride-away from our house.  From here long steep stretches meander across the mountainside exposed to the sun, but it's no problem on this cold overcast day.  Around 850-900 meters elevation the environment transitions to beech forest, shady and cool.  At 1120 meters you reach the forest station at La Crosetta.  You can continue on to Monte Pizzoc (over 1500 meters high) or down to Il Cansiglio, a beautiful grassy plain surrounded by forested mountains.  Sorry, no pictures today, but you can click on "View full route" and click the "play" arrow to see location vs altitude (or gradient) animation.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Passo di Monte Rest

Haven't ridden up Mont Rest since last spring so it felt nice to be back.  All the rain has filled up the waterfalls and they looked great.  The climb gave me a good workout, and at the summit there was absolute silence- very unusual as there was no wind or even birds chirping.  I saw no other bicycles above Meduno, and only one car above Tramonti di Sopra (arriving at Passo di Monte Rest just as I left).  Felt tired on the way home- still haven't recouped training lost while I was healing in September.  I'll try to catch up this fall/winter.

Waterfall on Rio Novarchis
Boisterous falls on Rio Pecol

Friday, November 16, 2012

Monte Jouf hike

I was planning to ride to Monte Rest today, but thought I'd check the news first to see if any roads were closed from landslides, bridges washed away, etc.  Instead I found a news item about rampaging baby bears in the mountains above Maniago.  Intrigued, I decided to head up Monte Jouf to search for bears.

It's possible to climb Monte Jouf with a mountain bike but I don't have one so I hiked it instead.  I drove up to the high point of the paved road from Maniagolibero, parked and set off.  I hiked up the first couple of switchbacks (under construction) then headed up the Club Alpino Italiano (CAI) trail toward the summit.  Great trail through beautiful forest, and well-marked though I managed to wander off course anyway.  I couldn't find any of the red & white trail marks on trees or rocks.  No harm done, I found my way back and continued.  The trail gradually became steeper, then even steeper, and again I lost sight of any trail markings.  I rested a moment before heading back down to look for the trail, when I heard a clattering sound above me.   Peering through the tree limbs I caught sight of an elderly man rapidly descending this steep slope with trekking poles.  He seemed to be floating along, barely touching the leaf-cover and loose stones with his feet but rhythmically stabbing at the ground to left and right to keep from tumbling.  I asked him if this was the way to the summit and he asked if I was from Deutschland (I get that a lot) then said the trail led to a "gross haus" and promised it was only 5 minutes away.  I figured at my speed it would take 15, but it ended up being 30.   

Beautiful up here, the forest abruptly ends and it's rolling grassland.  Great views in all directions.  I wandered around awhile but never sighted the bears.   Then it was time to head down and I still couldn't find the CAI trail so I headed down the dirt road.  This would be a fun descent on a mountain bike, but on foot it was quite long.  I wished I had a pair of those trekking poles and could glide down the steep footpath like the old fellow.

Pillows of alpine grass foreground, with Alpi Giulie to northeast

Malga Jouf (the "gross haus") with barn for hay and livestock

Monte Raut towering over Pala Barzana

Remnant of antique teleferica, a ski-lift for cargo used in mountains 


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pala Barzana

The torrential rains are over and the flood waters are receding- time to head for the hills.  Today I set out for Pala Barzana, first visit in 6 or 8 months.  A shame to visit so infrequently- Pala Barzana is one of the classic Prealpi Pordonesi climbs, along with Il Cansiglio, Piancavallo, Monte Rest, Sella Chianzutan, Monte Prat.  It's very close to home, yet feels like remote wilderness.   

Torrente Cellina was still unusually full of water, as was Bus di Colvera.  All the streams along the climb were foaming and surging with runoff.  Luckily there were no landslides or washouts.  Part way up the climb from Pian delle Merie toward Pala Barzana there was a bad slump in the pavement, maybe a couple of feet vertical drop- no problem ascending but if you were descending fast it might cause a crash.  

Descent to Andreis wasn't bad, but when you reach SS251 the road to Molassa is closed.  I was thinking of riding down there to check out Forra del Cellina, but it's impassible.  The 4km tunnel was fine, just some water half-way across the lane in a few spots.

Traditional mountain house in Bosplans: to go from room to room you must go out
on the wooden balcony- same to go up/down stairs.  That would suck in winter.
Wooden slats are for drying hay

Cloudy rugged peaks north of Bosplans


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Col Alto (almost)

A warm sunny day and no school so I decided to try my first big climb of autumn.  I got a late start because I stayed up in the wee small hours of the morning watching election results, so I wasn't sure I'd have time to reach the top and return home.  I kept a steady pace up the mountain until the steepest section, between tornanti 6 and 7 below Rifugio Bornass.  There I had to stand for the 13-14% stretch and was breathing very hard.  Afterward I returned to slow, steady, and seated.

At Castaldia I had to decide whether to go to Piancavallo, Col Alto, or just turn around.  It was getting late so I decided to continue part way up to Col Alto.  I rode up the long traverse to Candaglia (1179m) took some pictures and turned around.  Tried not to go too fast on the way down- hard not to on this wonderful road.

Candaglia, toward Casera Barzan

Fontanuzze with autumn colors; Alpi Giulie in background

Monday, November 5, 2012

Forgotten cycling gear

A few months ago I drove over near Slovenia, parked and got ready to ride, when I realized I'd forgotten my tire changing levers and wouldn't be able to fix a flat.  I abbreviated my originally planned ride, and luckily avoided a flat.  A few other times I've forgotten my cell phone or gloves or sunglasses but rode without them.

But the last week or so I've noticed two cycling bloggers who both forgot their shoes and ended up riding on clipless pedals with street shoes.  These are experienced racers, so I'm taking it as a sign.  If I was in the Air Force again I would make a checklist and tick off the items before departing.  On second thought I'll probably keep looking over my gear just before leaving and hope for the best.