Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Forcella Lavardet MTB

I left at zero dark thirty and drove to Comeglians, north of Villa Santina.  Then I hopped on my mountain bike and rode up beautiful Val Pesarina.  This starts with a series of picturesque villages where clocks were made in the old days, now only one factory remains at Pesaris.  Higher up it is covered with miles of spruce forest, waterfalls, and a couple of small ski areas.  Around 1545m the main road continues up to the left toward Sella Ciampigotto.  On the right is a curious sign saying Forcella Lavardet, road closed.  This dirt (rock) road was closed in 1993 after torrential storms caused some huge landslides.  For years I read it was impassable, but lately I've seen some reports of people mountain biking it, so I had to try.  

The upper part is rough with exposed rock, and what look like remnants of rough pavé (more like a bunch of different-sized big rocks pounded into the dirt.  This wasn't too bad, I just went slow and the suspension fork took care of it.  All of this slow-going in the shade of a big mountain at 1500 meters after sweating up the hill took its toll: I was freezing.  I figured I wouldn't need a jacket after doing Col Visentin and Monte Grappa in short sleeves, but I figured wrong.  I got to shivering and I think I was a bit hypothermic because I was trying to sort some minor problem with my bike and had no comprehension nor coordination (even less than normal).   Later on the road is nice, wide, graded gravel- they've done a lot of work down there.  Eventually you rejoin rough pavement around 1300 meters, arrive at a beautiful little chapel, and wind down the fanciest set of tornanti I've ever seen.  It looks like a piece of art, every switchback is symmetrical and fits exactly into the the next, all the way down to the Torrente Frison.

The road ends at Campolongo di Cadore, where you turn right  and head up the Piave Valley to Sappada and Cima Sappada (1290m).  From there a wonderful downhill cruise through Forni Avoltri and Rigolato to Comeglians.  Got to try this in the opposite direction someday.

Waterfall along Val Pesarina road

The mystery road

Creta di Mimoias (2320m) north of forcella

Monte Brentoni (2548m) northwest of forcella

Another peak of Brentoni Group, above winding Torrente Frison

Torrente Frison

Close up Brentoni Group peak

A Terza Group peak (to east) 

This massive cliff face is part of Brentoni Group 

Madonna della Difesa chapel, at Merendera

Looking north through the mountain gap toward Campolongo
and peaks beyond

Looking down the tornanti toward bridge over Frison
Sun about to break over Terza Group 

Close up of Terza Group ridge with colored dolomite

The adjacent ridge, also with colored dolomite

Sun breaking out over the tornanti stack at Merendera

Beautiful Campolongo view to the north

Campolongo church copper steeple,
hay sheds on the hills above

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