Friday, September 5, 2014

Monte Cuarnan MTB

Monte Cuarnan is an interesting climb above Gemona.  For one thing it starts in the city on the   mountain's lower slopes.  This adds to the fun of finding the start of climb, especially on market day.  On the other hand, the paved road ends in the middle of nowhere.  You must hike or use a MTB to reach any of the local sights.  Luckily today I finally had a chance to MTB it.

After 10 km or so of warming up/being lost I got onto Via Cappuccini which leads to Via Foredor where the climb proper begins.  On a MTB it's easy but on a road bike the gradient will give you a good workout.  After 40 switchbacks (a record for Friulian paved climbs) it ends in a gravel spot at 933 meters.  Now a few more switchbacks on gravel and you reach Malga Foredor, a rustic eatery.  I looked around for a trail here- no luck, so I headed briefly downhill to the steep dirt/gravel road toward Ors di Cuarnan.  At first it is paved with river rocks pounded into the dirt which I was able to ride, but then it turns to very steep gravel with large concrete drainage channels.  I hopped off and walked a couple hundred meters then resumed riding.  Steep but doable all the way up to end of the road at 1145 meters.  

Here the forest disappeared; instead pastures with cows (wearing bells) covered the cloudy hill tops.  There is a very steep drop off to the south, which a windsock told me is used for launching hang gliders.  I walked along the cliff edge trail and considered trying to hike to Il Redentore church on the shoulder of Monte Cuarnan.   But I decided to try again on a clearer day, as the attraction there is the sea of peaks surrounding you.

So I rode back down.  I turned off of Via Foredor at Via Baldo, a steep alternative when descending.  Before getting into Gemona my rear brake pads wore down and I could hear them scraping the disk, so I used only the front brake on the final steep kilometers.  That was fun.  Will try again when sunny (possibly on snow shoes to the top this winter). 

Take Via Cappuccini, the right fork

From Ors di Cuarnan:  Fiume Tagliamento and pianura

Southward Monte Faeit and Monte Campeon 

Eastward Monte Duon

Monte Cuarnan 1372 meters, Il Redentore church

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