The Mortirolo is considered the toughest mountain one can climb in Italy and many professional cyclists consider it to be the most difficult mountain of the three big tours. Lucho Herrera (1991) called the Mortirolo the "Queen's Climb of Europe" and Lance Armstrong called it the most difficult climb he had ever ridden.
You can climb the Mortirolo in three different ways. From the west side you can start via Sondrio as well as Mazzo. After about ten kilometers both routes come together and you take the same road (SP81) for the last kilometers to the top. From the east side you can climb from Monno or start from the lower Edolo.
Often the Mortirolo is visited from Bormio, one of the most famous cycling spots, because from here you can climb the big Italian three: the Passo dello Stelvio, the Passo Gavia and the Mortirolo (or Passo della Foppa). These last two can also be combined; either you start south and take the difficult side of the Mortirolo and then climb the already more difficult north side of the Passo Gavia. Or you can first climb the Passo Gavia via Santa Caterina di Valfurva and then take the easier eastern side of the Mortirolo via Monno. Good for a wonderful day of cycling just over 100 kilometers.
We're heading south for Tirano. After 22 kilometers you reach the start of the climb near Grosio. About 6 kilometers further you can start from Mazzo. The climb via Mazzo is definitely the most difficult. The "easy" first and last part of the climb are continuously at 10%. In between you have to overcome 6 kilometers at an average of 12.4%, with strips up to 18%.
Down in Mazzo you have two options to start the climb. Normally you take the Via Orti, near the church. This way you'll soon reach the Strada del Mortirolo. Immediately you get an impression of what awaits you for the next hour and a half (the average climbing time on Climbbybike is 1h35min). A narrow steep road between the trees with hairpin bends. There are no less than 30 "tornante" (hairpin bends) waiting for you.
The climb is getting harder and harder. Once in a while you get a glimpse of the valley. Near the Casa dell'Acqua (terms) the climb even opens completely and you can see the difference in height that you already conquered. After a left-right hairpin combination you'll suddenly reach wrath 11. Take a good look off the road, because in front of you hangs the statue of Marco Pantani on the fence wall. You are now 1450 meters high and hopefully this will inspire you to cover the last difficult kilometer of this climb. A bit further on, at 1557 meters in the meantime, you'll reach the SP81 from Grosio.
From here it's another three kilometers to the top and the toughest is now conquered. Since you already got that far, the rest of the climb is still a piece of cake. First you stay between the trees, but towards the top the climb becomes more open. No reward however on the not very meaningful summit. After such a climb you expect a bit more, although such places are preferably kept as natural as possible. The exact location of the summit is a bit unclear, because there are no less than three indications. So keep an eye on your Strava when you want to set a time! But maybe just reaching the summit was more than enough 😉.
The Mortirolo is situated in Lombardy.
This climb belongs to the Alps.
The Mortirolo via Mazzo is ranked number 53 of the Alps.
The climb is ranked number 32 in Italy and number 227 in the world.
Starting from Mazzo,
the Mortirolo ascent is 12.4 km long. Over this distance, you climb 1300 heightmeters.
The average percentage thus is 10.5 %.
The maximum slope is 18%.
If you want to climb the Mortirolo, you can find more information on how to train to climb the Mortirolo here.
Since 2005, the Mortirolo will be/was climbed in the following big tour stages:
Giro d'Italia 2019 : Lovere – Ponte di Legno on 28/05/2019
Giro d'Italia 2015 : Pinzolo - Aprica on 26/05/2015
Giro d'Italia 2012 : Caldes Val di Sole > Passo dello Stelvio on 26/05/2012
Giro d'Italia 2008 : Rovetta - Tirano on 31/05/2008
Mortirolo via Mazzo popularity rank : 19
Mortirolo via Mazzo: 25 reviews
Mortirolo is truly a brute. I rode it on a 34 / 30 on a day that included the Gavia. Sections were so steep that I did not have sufficient forward momentum to cycle and pull out a water bottle at the same time. I was slightly bemused to run into a coach that had got stuck halfway down the climb; not sure how that ended. But the sense of accomplishment at completing it without stopping was sweet indeed.
Hardest climb I have ever done on a custom Holland HC with compact and 30. Did it from Bormio with Stelvio Experience and a bunch of Australians as well as my wife Laura and best friends Bill and Sumi. I am 62 years old and ride with the Swami''s Club and Solana Beach Clubs. Great weather and little traffic with perfect road. Starts out nice but then jumps to over 20% with only release at 11% or so. I was in he red zone far too long and was thankful that my cycling buddy had to take a dump 1/2 way up as it allowed me to get back into the right zone during the 1 minute break. Unlike the Giro, I decided to wait and not press on. The wives did it 20 minutes behind us and we were only out
Aced by a few much younger Ausies and an amazing Equidorian, Estoban
I climbed this in June 2016 as part of a loop from Bormio including the Gavia. I''ve been up a few of the majors in the Alps and Pyrenees but this is truly brutal - the toughest climb I''ve ever done by some margin (it was 35 degrees which didn''t help).
The climb lulls you into a false sense of security at the bottom with short 12% pitches between switchbacks where you get some relief. I knew it was going to be hard work in the middle section but it was much tougher than I was expecting - the 18% ramp at 6km was bloody awful.
It would have probably been quicker to walk but the sense of achievement at the top was terrific.
I climbed the Mortirolo today. Climbed it on a Pinarello with full Campy Super Record. 39/28 was my easiest gear, and I was in it for at least a third of the climb. I''m 56 years old and a pretty good climber. At my age, it''s the hardest thing i''ve ever done. Because of the Giro, the road was basically closed to traffic, which made it a little easier. If you''re my age and get the chance to do this climb. I suggest you skip it, and go see a movie instead.
I climbed mortirolo twice from Mazzo, after three days of climbing stelvio from both sides (bormio and trafoi) on 39/25 and I just loved it. Next time I go there I will ride it on 39/28. Whole climb is very good and hard, such as a good hill should be. When I compare it, Stelvio and Umbrailpass were much easier.
OK this is a story about the Mortirolo road (not on Google maps) from Tovo di Sant''Agata, a village just south of Mazzo. I am 54 years old, endurance guy rather than climber.I rode this as part of the Gran Fondo Stelvio. It is just as steep as the Mazzo climb, but the last two kms are brutally steep, 23%, on a concrete track sometimes unsurfaced. I was riding 34/30 lowest gear. It was a tough grind for 8 kms before the hellish track. I cannot believe that the Zoncolan is tougher than this final stretch.
Still, I would do it again. The Fondo was tough but well organised
The know as Mortirolo is "Passo della Foppa". I''d climbed it 6 times. Being a very hard climb, is moreless the 50th in Europe. Nice to climb. I suggest the tour: Bormio-Mazzo-Mortirolo-Veglia-Ponte di Legno-Passo Gavia-Bormio, 110 km - ascent 3.200 meters.
A couple of days after the Zoncolan, I climbed the Mortirolo and it was - or at least seemed - much easier. Still, the middle part (around 5 - 6 k total) is tough and I felt lucky that it was warm, but not hot (like the hell on the Zoncolan). If you can''t get up this beast, don''t try the monster at Ovaro!
I did the Mortirolo and Gavia for a 10,000 foot loop out of Bormio in July 2010. It was a hot day and the Mortirolo was nice because most of it is shaded by trees and the pavement is excellent. Very little traffic but the few cars always seemed to go by on the steepest sections of the narrow road. I was thankful about having a 30x27 since in the three days before I did the GF Pinarello, Sella Ronda Loop, Passo Fedaia, and Stelvio. When I reached the top my water bottles were empty and I choked down a dry salami sandwich not knowing that a nice café was about 1k down the other side. When leaving Bormio stick to the smaller roads below the main highway which is dangerous and filled with trucks.
I climbed the Mortirolo in late May 2010, the day the Giro went through. The climb is very hard with some very steep pitches, but not anywhere near as hard as the Zoncolan, which I had done a few days earlier. The Mortirolo allows you to rest a bit on the switch backs where the Zoncolan has very few. All the same, you need to bring your best legs for this climb and make sure you pace yourself from the very beginning.
I climbed the Mortirolo and the Gavia on a hot day in august 2009. (32 degrees C in Mazzo at the start). What a relentless climb. So narrow, shaded and dark. So evil yet so grand and beautiful. 34x25 was tough, but doable. Made it over in just over 1 hour and 5 minutes with a couple of stops for photos. Amazing how the 8-9% gradients felt like false flats. I suffered on the Gavia later in the day, but the combo is a great ride, especially if you get picked up in Bormio.
Relentless!! Reaching Pantanis Memorial corner seemed to take forever, and how brilliant that was riding past the legend..... I think the ipod helped, and listened to Anthems 1991-2008 was just the right tempo, oh and x6 +watt gel packs too. Still a great achievement, dont forget the great rifugio on the descent towards Aprica, which serves cold beer! and the Chicken & Chips van by the picnic area on the Mazzo side, just before the summit. This climb is a must.
I rode the M.Pantani Gran Fondo (Great except the descents were NOT closed to traffic fully) but only had 39x26 due to lack of time to get lower. The only bits where I felt my knees were going to pop were the slightly easier bits- And there were not many! It was only pride that prevented me stopping- I saw one bloke try to stop and his leg wouldnt support him so he slid back down the hill... I reckon 34x28 is about the gear to race up it ideally for most good amateurs: If you need lower than that MUCH better to stop and admire the view! The climb after the top (Where there was a feed zone) nearly had a grown man crying!
I rode the Mortirolo the first week of September 2007 the day after tackling The Stelvio and the day before th Gavia. I can say this mountain is unforgiving and you better make sure you are geared right. I came with a 36x17 and it put me to the test. The middle section is killer with grades nearing 20% for a short time. At that time I was barely moving faster than 4 mph. The top is a wonderful sight although it is somewhat misleading when you get up to the camp area and you still have more to climb. On the way down, make sure you have plenty of brake, once you let go you take off pretty quickly and the road is very narrow with tight turns. Overall, it is nice to say that I have ridden it, would not be running back to do it again next year though.
I climbed the Mortirolo as part of a cycling holiday of Krol-actice. It was on a wet foggy day which made the road quite slippery. I was not really prepared for the steepness of the climb and had to do it with my 39x26. It really is a hard climb bot surely not undoable! The saying that you cant get any rest during the climb is simply not truth. Several curves are flat and even pieces of 7% can give you some rest after bearing 17.5%. My time was surely not the best on the Mortirolo (1:17) but it gives you a kick to hit the top.
I climbed the Mortirolo on June 24 as part of the Granfondo Pantani. It is really tough and the hardest climb I have done. It starts hard, gets harder, is hard in the middle and the last 3 km are the easiest, only 9%! Bring a low gear. I had a 30x27 and could have used more althogh the fact that I had 120km in the legs did not help. Its reputation is well earned and if they dont call it "il brutto", they should!!