Saturday, August 2, 2014

Passo Manghen da Molina di Fiemme

Passo Manghen in Trentino is a special climb.  The forest it traverses is densely packed with big fir trees growing on slopes so steep it seems they must topple over.  There is hardly any sign of human development other than the road, which seems like a backcountry forest road.  Manghen is farther south than other 2000-meter passes and peaks of northeast Italy, and attracts fewer tourists in July/August than more famous mountains to the north.  

I climbed the southern approach from Val Sugana a couple years ago and today finally tried it from the north, Molina di Fiemme.  The climb starts very gradually, so you can use it for a warmup if you want.  I did just that, because I had gotten lost driving to Molina di Fiemme and squandered half an hour of ride-time.  After 6 or 7 kilometers of warming  up the hard climb begins: 8 km averaging 10% gradient with a few spots in the mid-teens (Garmin says 16%).  I decided to see if I could stay in the 27-tooth cog the whole way and I succeeded.  That was a first.  Also used my mountain bike pedals and shoes on the road bike because I was originally planning a climb in Austria where they'd be needed, but the weather there turned bad.  The MTB shoes seem more steep-climb friendly.

Lots of clouds boiling up over the pass from the south.  I quickly donned my cold weather clothes and headed back down.  Lovely descent with many riders heading uphill now.  Maybe word is getting out about this place.  Best of all I even found the correct roads driving home.  I highly recommend climbing Passo Manghen if you get a chance.  No tour busses, motorhomes or packs of motorcycles.  Lots of trees and streams.

Pastures transitioning to fir trees above Malga Cadinel

View of Cima Fornace across the valley from Cadinel

Stream rushing down the precipitous slope

Another stream with waterfall

Large loud cascate di Torrente Avisio

Rive delle Stue at 1250 meters

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