Stories, information and comments from Passo Vrsic climbers
Story by Björn Nilsson from Falun, Sweden, submitted on 02/02/2010
I climbed the Passo Vrsic on June 17, 2009 from Kranjska Gora.
I’ve climbed several other passes in the Alps, e.g. Mortirolo, Gavia, Stelvio, Giau, Pordoi, and especially Mortirolo and Gavia are hard, but Vrsic was also actually quite demanding. I think it’s because the climb is “only” 9 km. This feeling of having a “short” climb ahead certainly made me push just a little too hard from the start and as I came to the steepest part I had to pay for that.
I consider myself being at a fitness level a couple of notches below the best amateurs of my age (in my early 40’s). I did the climb in 48min 30sec, starting at the bridge and finishing at the sign which marks the summit of the pass. My friend reached the summit around 1 min ahead of me. I guess a good amateur of my age would make it in 40min and it’s reasonable to believe that the record time could be around 30min (as reported in the article by Matija Goljar).
The scenery is beautiful and the road interesting with its cobbled hairpins.
My personal climb rating:
Story by Matija Goljar from Velenje, Slovenia, submitted on 08/10/2006
Vrsic (Vršiè) is the most famous alpine pass in Slovenia. Also the highest, with the altitude of 1611m it offers some amazing views. The climb starts just outside Kranjska Gora when the newly constructed road crosses the bridge over Pisnica river. The first part of the climb is through the forest and the road is well paved. The interesting bit is that all the hairpins are cobbled. Expect no major difficulties for roadbikes because the cobbles are well packed together. In terms of gradient, the climb is not terribly difficult if you are a moderately fit cyclist. Actually it is a little less steep than it says on the salite.ch altimetry. The most difficult parts for me were firstly a cobbled double hairpin that is about 100m of 14-16% that is about 4-5kms into the climb and the last 300 metres which are just above the forest and are usually filled with parked cars on both sides of the road. Note the amazing views (notably the rock formations at the Panorama section on salite.ch altimetry) and the russian chapel at km 4. Also you should note that there is a mountaineering hut at approximately the middle of the climb where there is a little bit of flat road (the long green section at km 5 of the salite.ch altimetry)where you can rest and get drinks and food. All in all it is a climb that has a true alpine feel, it is the highest in the region and not that terribly difficult. Just choose a warm sunny day and enjoy. Some other facts - the record time is somewhere around 30 minutes whereas a good average time is somewhere near 55 minutes. Many cyclists climb the pass every day as it is considered a classic here and you can even see some pros training early in the season. I highly reccomend the climb as the enjoyment level is way higher than the effort required to climb it.
This is all for the Kranjska Gora side of the pass, the road on the other side is much more difficult, although it has been completely renovated and has no more cobbles. The hairpins are more sharp there and the visibility is poor at times. The traffic is not heavy however there are numerous tourist buses that take hairpins really slow so be VERY careful descending. The altitude difference from the Trenta side is about 300 m greater and the climb is a few kms longer. Also note that the numbering of hairpins begin at the bottom of the Trenta side, goes over the summit and ends at the bottom at Kranjska Gora. (42 I think, the summit is at 20 something) I suggest the Kranjska Gora side because it is more accessible for transportation, easier and the views are better.
Enjoy the climb!