Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Monte Lussari MTB

I've been dreaming of this climb ever since I read about the trio of pilgrimage churches on the Italo-Slovene border:  Castelmonte, Sveta Gora and Monte Lussari.  They're all atop steep summits which  the pilgrims would ascend on foot after an even longer hike from their hometowns.  Today I passed a few hikers on the ascent and one other biker.  Most people now days take the funvia (cable car).

You start at Valbruna just off the road to Tarviso.  After a brief paved warm up the road crosses a bridge over Torente Saisera  and slants steeply upward.  I gave it my best shot but eventually had to push the bike up the steeper bits.  Maybe a quarter or a third of the climb I had to walk.  After the worst is past, you see the church afar on a hill and the gradient moderates slightly.  Then on the ski slope at the end it pitches up again briefly.

I walked through the tiny village (now a row of souvenir shops) and finally reached the church, very pretty with its sundial and steeple.  Very cold up here even in late June, so I donned my windshirt and arm warmers, wishing I'd brought leg warmers too.

The descent is very steep with loose gravel so I went slowly to avoid sliding over a cliff.  I will try a variant next time: to Jof di Sompdogna, which connects to paved road to Dogna on Torrente Fella.  This area is irresistibly undeveloped and wild.  Must return.  

The mountainscape

Pretty old church

The climb

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