Cycling Passo Gavia Ponte di Legno

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Passo Gavia - Ponte di Legno

Basic data & ranking

Average grade: 7.9 %

Length: 17.3 km

Altitude start: 1258 m

Altitude top: 2621 m

Ascent: 1363 m

Maximum: 16 %

Passo Gavia rankings

Difficulty ranking world: 332 (all)
Ranking Italy: 62 (all)
Ranking Alps: 111(all)
Difficulty score: 156.69 what?

Passo Gavia ratings

(5)  Overall

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(4.5)  Traffic

(4)  Amenities

(5)  Surroundings

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At the town of Ponte di Legno, across the wooden bridge, you turn left towards the Passo Gavia. It’s a gradual climb for about 4 kms. The road is paved, but after a couple of km, it turns to a dirty narrow one lane road, where it reaches suddenly 16%. The Passo Gavia a really hard climb with 18% in parts. It never really gets below 10% with steady, steep grades, lots of switchbacks.Every few hundred meters there’s a little parking place carved out of the mountain, for cars to pull over and pass… The top is paved for about 3 km. Then it turns back to dirt on the way down, pretty much a one lane road with again, an incredible number of switchbacks…

The Passo Gavia is situated in Lombardy. This climb belongs to the Alps. Starting from Ponte di Legno, the Passo Gavia ascent is 17.3 km long. Over this distance, you climb 1363 heightmeters. The average percentage thus is 7.9 %. The maximum slope is 16 %.

Look for other sides to climb the Passo Gavia.

Since 2005, the Passo Gavia will be/was climbed in the following big tour stages:
Giro d'Italia 2014 :  Ponte di Legno - Val Martello on 27/05/2014
Giro d'Italia 2013 :  Ponte Di Legno - Val Martello /Martelltal on 24/05/2013
Giro d'Italia 2008 :  Rovetta - Tirano on 31/05/2008

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Location info

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Stories, information and comments from Passo Gavia climbers
Story by Pete Merritt from Bournemouth, United Kingdom, submitted on 02/08/2015
59 years old and my first mountain pass. Did the Stelveo two days latter. Chalk and cheese. Gavia a "religious" experience on a desolate single lane. Stelveo a dull grind on a highway infested with motorbikes.
My personal climb rating:
Story by Steve from , United Kingdom, submitted on 11/07/2014
I climbed the Gavia after climbing the Mortirolo from Mazzo 29th July 2010. I remember this date well, as I have never experienced such bad weather on a bike. Forecast was 14C raining Bormio, unusual this time of year. I risked it, when I started the climb the last bike I saw till the top, shouted too wet don''t ride in broken English! I climbed and I climbed all the way to the restaurant at the top. I almost got attacked by some farmer dog, I couldn''t see a thing the rain was so heavy, I then went through a tunnel towards the top that was pitch black I couldn''t see a thing, I just followed the white line in the centre of the road. Then it snowed and snowed. When I arrived at the top, the owner took off my gloves and jacket and put me around a fire he gave me cake and coffee. I stayed here for an hour, to my amazement (still snowing) 2 Spanish riders arrived shivering, one of them looked horrible, I waited for over an hour for my decent back into Bormio then Mazzo, the decent was very tricky, but towards the end the weather dried up and some heat hit my body. I''ve been caught by bad weather before in mountains on a bike before but that was an experience I''ll never forget. Don''t play with the Gavia! A tough climb!
My personal climb rating:
Story by Paul Reed from London, United Kingdom, submitted on 08/07/2014
I did this ride last month a couple of days before the Stelvio Santini. It was by far the easiest of the climbs (Gavia, Stelvio, Mortirolo). I would say I actually enjoyed climbing it, rather than simply taking satisfaction from completing the other two. Nice and gentle at the bottom, from Bormio, increasing in gradient to a steady 7 or 8%. Almost flat for the last half mile and a small cafe at the top which served the best hot chocolate I''ve ever had (may have been more due to fatigue and chill in the air!)
My personal climb rating:
Story by Steven Broers from Copenhagen, Denmark, submitted on 23/06/2014
What an amazing climb! Did the Passo Gavia from Ponte di Legno in May 2014, a couple of days before riding the Granfondo Stelvio Santini. At that time, and still today, the Gavia climb is the hardest one I have ever done. It''s harder then Stelvio or Mont Ventoux, for example. But what a feeling to reach the top! I beg to disagree with others that say the scenery is not as good as other climbs. I remember the Gavia as a very beautiful climb with amazing views. The road is not in the best condition the last two kilometres to the top, but if you ask me, I think it just adds to the charm. For me Gavia is, just like Mont Ventoux and Stelvio, one of those climbs you have to have done.
My personal climb rating:
Story by Cloetens Xavier from , Belgium, submitted on 30/08/2012
Very nice climb. That day in August 2012 I did Bormio-Gavia-Ponte Di Legno-Gavia-Bormio (and went up to Stelvio-Bormio). Quiet col, up to 16%. The traffic is slow as the road is narrow and bumpy, so ideal for bikers. The scenery is nice but on many other cols the scenery nicer. It was my second climb of the day but I had been warned it was so difficult, that I expected it to be even more difficult. There is 1 tunnel and the road is large there, so it''s good to have lights. Not easy and great to climb!
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Story by Deegs from Yeovil, United Kingdom, submitted on 17/07/2012
I rode this from Bormio last month. It was a very clear sunny day and after Santa Caterina it was just beautiful. Very necessary coffee and Mars bar at summit refugio. Failed to see photos of 1988 mentioned below (triple bah!)- will just have to go back again I suppose- clearly a bit easier from Bormio but very pretty. Also very quiet- surprised a handful of alpine ibex on way up and marmots on way down!
My personal climb rating:
Story by valerio from brescia, Italy, submitted on 29/05/2010
i did Gavia 3 times some yaers ago, the first time was a dirty road, then with tarmac... Theres no Stelvio, Mortirolo etc etc....this is my favorite climbe. Not the hardest one, but as the road goes up the landscape becomes more & more beautiful...what a scenario! Please goes in the rifugio to take a coffee and see the photos from giro of 88...amazing!
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Story by oyvind Aas from Oslo/Tremezzo, Norway, submitted on 10/07/2009
Rode Gavia for the 2nd time on the 29th of September. It was a wonderful clear and warm autumn day. Climbed Gavia from Ponte Di Legno after riding from Bormio and up the Mortirolo. I was on my own and made good use of a compact crank and 25 in the back. The tunnel is scary without lights, but it is all a matter of looking ahead. The surface now is smooth and nice. The views were awesome as I topped out just before sunset and descended to Bormio in a light jacket and kneewarmers. I will be back here again. Hopefully with better legs. One of my favorites.
My personal climb rating:
Story by Jeff Orum from , United States, submitted on 15/08/2009
An incredible climb. If you are climbing from Ponte di Legno there is a very nice cafe about half way up the climb. You can see it from the road, but you have to walk a bit down to the left. Very friendly, great espresso, and a view that cant be matched. Further up the climb, if you dont want to go through the tunnel, head off to the left and you can ""ride"" the old dirt road and come to the place the famous Jobst Brandt photo was taken in 1978 (they sell it as a postcard at the refugio at the top of the pass). The description on this site is incorrect - the road (except for the tunnel bypass) is not dirt nor it is one lane. They paved and widened the road around 1996.
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Story by Ante Smokrovic from Zagreb, Croatia, submitted on 08/04/2009
As many others in 2005. I did Gavia from Ponte di Legno after already climbing Mortirolo that day. For some reason Gavia remained one of my favorite passes and reward for climbing it are spectacular landscapes. Most notable parts are very steep 15-16 % sections in the woods at the starts, long and dark tunnel, and steep last few km after tunnel. Unlike some ppl here I didnt have any lights in the tunnel which wasnt pleasant experience. I remember spectacular views on the part before tunnel and cold wind when you get out of the tunnel. Anyway this is one of the most spectacular passes you can climb and also important part of cycling history. You must climb it!
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