Riding ideas pre-Stelvio fondo

Traveling over for the Stelvio Fondo (June 2nd) from Canada flying into Zurich. Was planning on pre-riding the great loops out of Bormio the 5 days before the event but am worried about the major passes all being closed due to the snowpack this year (Gavia, Stelvio, Umbrai, Forcola). The Mortirolo should be open by then as the top is much lower than the others - but not sure 5 days of hill repeats up it would be the most fun (though there are the multiple ascent options). Imagine the Sella Ronda and passes in the Dolomites are open as further south and lower altitudes (though adds a fair bit of driving). I have done the Fluelapass-Albulapass loop out of Davos - and they both look open. Looking for any other ideas or advice on routes that wouldn’t be a wildly out of the way (Zurich to Bormio). Has anyone ridden Gavia/Stelvio/Umbrain/Forcola when they are listed as ‘closed’ (do they mean closed to everyone or just cars)? Stelvio looks quite beat up from the winter and some concerns about avalanches (though am still 10 days out and the weather looks to be turning). Giro is going over Umbrai May 21st - will see how things look when watching the stage.

Thanks in advance!
Ryan

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You could stop in Andermatt and do the Furka/Neufenen/Gotthard loop

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I spent some time in Andermatt last fall and loved it - would definitely go back if the passes were open. Sadly Furka pass is still closed with estimated opening of May 29th. Neufenene and Gotthard both closed as well. If I can’t cycle the passes when ‘closed’ thinking I might have to head further south or lower altitude loops.

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Wow, man this season is going to be late!

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Rode the Gavia yesterday when it was listed as closed. Was definitely an interesting experience. There was a barrier down across the road just after the switchbacks but we hopped over and proceeded anyway. The weather and conditions went downhill rapidly after that point. We probably got about 100m from the top before we ran into impassability. Didn’t see any black ice on the way up so other than being a little cold the descent wasn’t too bad, although I did proceed with extreme caution as the last I wanted was to be rescued by Italian mountain rescue after hopping a barrier.



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Looks like the Albula is also still closed… Wanted to do a big round on Monday in preparation for the marmotte, but basically all the high passes in Switzerland are still closed… Will do a loop with 3 climbs up to 1600m instead… Hope I will have another day where I can get away to do a high altitude pass before to get used to it…

That is still a lot of snow on the gavia.

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They are, if a little damp at the moment.

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Not sure if Albula is closed due to weather or just to cars due to construction. This is what is listed on the Swiss pass info site: “The Tuorsbach Bridge, Berguen, will be closed to all traffic from 3 April 2024 to 24 May 2024 due to maintenance work. A large-scale bypass with a maximum capacity of 18 tonnes is signposted. Pedestrians and cyclists can pass the construction site on a small signposted diversions.
Bergün - Preda no restrictions”. It could actually be extra nice riding if there are no cars!!!

Huge thanks for the pictures and information - definitely helpful. At least you were able to make it close to the top - hopefully another 10 days of good weather will allow it to be rideable the entire way. Have you recently been up any of the other high passes out of Bormio?

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Yeah it wasn’t fully clear to me if that meant it is possible to ride it by bike… Would be cool then the Albula flüela loop would be nice. Just need to check if I can make it back home early enough so my wife can go out and if the weather is holding on Monday in Graubünden.
On the other hand the currently planned route with glaubenberg glaubenbielen and Ächerlipass should also be a nice one.

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Stelvio is closed, as of today, still.
Rode the Mortirolo today, from Mazzo di Valtellina, and that is in great condition. One of the toughest climbs I’ve ever done though

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We had a lot of spring snow this year.
Heck, it is still snowing in places around Alps (pink=snow).

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Went up the Stelvio on Sunday. Barrier was down but it’s very rideable all the way to the top with snow banks only for the last 300m of ascent


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You just made my day!!! Huge thanks for the info! Any experience or word of mouth on the other high passes in the area? Barrier down is lovely as no cars - as long as the roads aren’t too dodgy!

The only other ride we did (other than Stelvio and Gavia) was the Mortirolo from the Mazzo side. 100% one of the hardest climbs I’ve ever done. Just unrelenting double digits the entire way up but no snow as it is at a, relatively, low elevation.
Drove back over the Foscagno Pass just after the Giro had been over and that was, obviously, in great condition and looked like a great climb to Livigno

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I always think about wanting to try something like the mortirolo and then I realize how mieserable that experience would be :wink: Just rode a 10km 10% climb that has the first 5km with a similar steepness of the hardest 5k of the mortirolo but at least then levels of for the last 4km to more of a 7-10% having to grind it out at 60rpm or sometimes lower is just hard on my legs… if I could just add another .5 w/kg it would look way more enticing :wink:

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Just love the Mortirolo but definitely has some steep slopes. Was in Bormio last year and had a couple days with dodgy weather and avoided the high passes - spent an entire day going up the different approaches of the Mortirolo. Fun but punishing!!!

Looks like more of the Swiss passes are open than the ones around Bormio. Contemplating a loop starting/ending in Tirano that goes over Bernina, then Albula wrapping around to Julier and finally over Bernina on the way back to Tirana (~200k and 4800m). I have done Albula twice before and beautiful with very little traffic (and since closed to cars - could be extra nice). Curious if anyone has experience with Bernina and Julier? What are they like for traffic and do they have a good shoulder if heavier traffic? Anyone been over Forcola yet this year?

My favourite loop out of Bormio is definitely Motirolo and Gavia - though not sure the Gavia will be open in time. Umbrai-Stelvio is another gem - though worried it won’t be open either.

Check this site out which tells you the status of the swiss passes: https://alpen-paesse.ch/

Flüela is open. Other good options depending on travel plans are Klausenpass, Splügen, San Bernardino, Maloja, Oberalp, Lukmanier.

The Glaubens are very nice also if a little shorter.

Julier is nice, open all year round and busier for traffic, but usually fine to ride.

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I haven’t done the full loop, but I rode from Tirano to Poschievo, out and back, and the road going up is not bad, but if you feel uncomfortable with traffic getting “close”, it can be a bit disconcerting. I rode during the weekday in mid September, so it seemed less traveled. I couldn’t really comment on how traffic would be on a weekend or holiday.
Tirano to Bormio is a great ride as well, and during the weekday it seemed great.

One other ride I can suggest is going up to Lake Cancano. That’s got some great switchbacks and once you get past the tower on top, keep goin on the dirt road until you get to the lake. A magnificent view is the reward.

Also the road up to where the Bormio 2000 olympic ski area is a great ride as well.

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