See the section for Europe of the Trento Bike Pages.

Six Passes in the Alps, between Italy and Switzerland

Contributed by Marco Buffa in November 1995


Start from Pontresina; bycicles must enter Samedan, Madulain and Zuoz. This fact prevents me to go fast in the most flat stretch of this tour; however the three villages above are worthwhile of a stop (especially Zuoz). No difficulties to get to Zernez: I can pecefully admire the Engadina environment. Ascent to Ofenpass can be divided in two parts both substantially straight: the first one ends to Ova Spin where a 5km. stretch of descent allows me to rest a bit. Now I'm in Switzerland national park and I can see many starts of paths (very interesting for those who are fond of trekking). The second part starts from crossing Livigno-tunnel to Ofenpass; immediately the ascent is steep but then I still find some resting stretch: I'm a little disappointed when I get to the pass because was expecting a more lonely place with a better view. (Till here: 50 km. 160 min. 700 mt. of devilment)

I'm in Val Mustair now: the descent is very steep and high speed can be easily reached due to the wide and straight route: stop at S. Maria is needed both for resting (here there is on the left the last drinking fountain before Umbrailpass) and for turn right with much care to Umbrailpass (the street is immediately steep and also quite narrow).

Ascent to Umbrailpass turns to be very demanding: the efforts required won't be smoothed by the view above S. Maria and along the valley till Ofenpass. Although this is a "northside", the route is quite exposed to the sun: and when the slope decreases the street is nomore paved ... . The last 3 km. (paved) are very difficult and very slowly here I am to Umbrailpass (till here: 80 km. 345 min. 1800 of devilment). Stilfserjoch seems to be very close but I' m too tired to get there and after a stop I go down to Bormio however just after taken a last glance to the beautiful mountains visible from Umbrailpass.

From Bormio to Isolaccia the route is almost flat: at Isolaccia there is the last drinking fountain before Foscagno. The ascent is very regular and not very demanding considering the fact it' s the third one of the day; before a left bend a last view about the Bormio valley and then a few km. to the frontier. Here there's a lot of traffic, so it's better to continue and stop at Eirapass: I use the descent form Foscagno as run-up to face the brief (< 3 km.) ascent to Eirapass (till here: 130 km. 530 min. 3100 of devilment). The route bypasses Livigno, that I can see only from an hairpin: as I'm in a land flat, I'm already out of the village. The ascent is difficulty due to strong no-fair at all wind and becomes an endless ascent (luckily not very steep).

At last the frontier (till here: 153 km. 620 min. 3600 of devilment) and a compulsory stop: I'm too tired. This time the ripid descent don't work as run-up to get to Bernina: wind is absent now and although the slope is increased a lot the effort is smaller than previous one: howevwe I'm riding very slowly to Berninapass. (till here: 162 km. 680 min. 3900 of devilment) It just remains the easy descent to Pontresina like a prize after all these efforts.

Questions and answers:


Yes: no doubt about it. Umbrailpass from Bormio is easier than from S. Maria. Maybe Ofenpass is a little more demanding but it's worthwhile.




The Umbrailpass and Berninapass