Top 10: Dolomite climbs
Fancy to challenge the iconic climbs of the most beautiful natural architecture worldwide, the Dolomites? Here’s the top 10.
I Dolomiti, land of gigantic epic cycling battles, myth of inaccessible peaks and many volumes written in gazettas and other sports media around the world.
Giau, Sella, Gardena, Pordoi or Falzarego, legendary spots of epic climbs, a unique story in itself. Don’t miss to pay tribute to the challenging top climbs of the extraordinary cycling destination as popular as the Dolomites!
Index top climbs in the Dolomiti
- Passo Giau
- Passo Sella
- Passo Gardena
- Passo Pordoi
- Passo Fedaia – Marmolada
- Passo Falzarego
- Tre Cime di Lavaredo
- Passo delle Erbe
- Passo Manghen
- Passo Rolle
Passo Giau is one of the usual climbs of the Giro d’Italia. With a peak located at an altitude of 2,200 m, its ascent from the town of Caprile envelops us in a lush forest through which we will have to ascend for a little over 15 km with an average slope always maintained at 7.7%. A very harsh average that makes it worthy being named a full-fledged Special Category.
One of the classic Dolomite climbs. It can be challenged from the Val di Gardena or Canazei slope. The most accessible is the Val di Gardena, with just over 5 km at an average slope of 7% and drop of 367m. The Canazei slope is somewhat more demanding, with 11 km and the same average slope, requiring extra efforts to reach the summit at 2,200 m.
View Altimetry Passo Sella (Selva di Val Gardena) | View Altimetry Passo Sella (Canazei)
Another of the mythical climbs that is usually linked to Ronda di Sella, a circular route that connects South Tyrol to Trentino, also passing through other great Dolomites such as Pordoi or Sella. If you climb it from the Selva di Val de Gardena side, it will be 10 km with an average of about 5.4%, while from the Corvara side the distance is slightly less but with 6.4%. Although not one of the most difficult climbs in the Dolomites, there are no affordable stages.
View Altimetry Passo Gardena (Selva di Val Gardena) | View Altimetry Passo Gardena (Corvara)
Since the Italian Gino Bartali first conquered this mythical climb of the Giro d’Italia, many cyclists have challenged this ascent, wrapped in the characteristic mystique of the Dolomites. By the Canazei side, more than 12 km at 6.5% average, harsh enough to be considered a first category climb. The Arabba side is nonetheless accessible although it is shorter, with an average of 7%.
View Altimetry Passo Pordoi (Canazei) | View Altimetry Passo Pordoi (Arabba)
The recent history of the Giro d’Italia led us to witness Hindley’s undisputed victory against a Carapaz who was leading the general classification with a 3 second gap over the Australian. With less than 2 km to go, Hindley managed to escape from the Ecuadorian’s shadow to seal the general classification on this very difficult 14 km climb with an average of 7.5% and a final 4 breathtaking kilometres.
A special category only for the best trained.
See Passo Fedaia Altimetry – Marmolada (Caprile)
A slightly less complicated climb than the Marmolada is Passo Falzarego, which can be challenged from the slopes of Cortina d’Ampezzo or Cernadoi. From Cortina d’Ampezzo it is about 17 km with an average of more than 5%, although there is a section between km 9 and 12 with very little slope that allows us to regain strength to face the final section. The Cernadoi track is shorter, at just under 10 km and an average of 6.2%.
View Altimetry Passo Falzarego (Cortina d’Ampezzo) | View Altimetry Passo Falzarego (Cernadoi)
Yes, the three peaks of Lavaredo are that postcard that you have seen so many times and in which no passerby will fail to take a photo, either in panoramic landscape format or in selfie mode to represent our landmark. So, of course, an ascent could not be missing for such a majestic landscape. Although from the Tre Croci it is 21 km to the top, the hardest part of this climb is the hellish final 4 km with an average of 12%. A beast that takes your breath away in every way: the magic of the landscape and the harshness of the finishing line.
View Altimetry Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Tre Croci)
Another legendary climb that can be approached from several angles. EXTREME HARSH ascent via Pezzé, with 11.5 km at 8% average with almost no respite, and when it does, it is not enough to regain strength. If you opt for the “easy” 15 km version, the average is around 6% with a descent that preludes an imposing climb of several kilometers at more than 9% average. However, the route is very complete, with constant curves, course changes and breathtaking scenery.
View Altimetry Passo delle Erbe (Pezzé) | See Altimetry Passo delle Erbe (San Martino in Badia)
Another special category climb in the Dolomites is Passo Manghen, an almost impossible climb with averages of over 7.5% on its various gradients of 15 and 19 km respectively. It is probably, together with the Marmolada, the most demanding climb in the Dolomites, a special category for the best trained.
View Altimetry Passo Manghen (Trentino) | View Altimetry Passo Manghen (Molina di Fiemme)
We close our top 10 climbs in the Dolomite with Passo Rolle, another icon and one of the most affordable. On its slope by Predazzo, about 20 km and an average of 4.5%, with a long section at a very low average to enjoy the surrounding panoramic views. Its short slope, from San Martino di Castrozza, an ascent of just over 8 km with an average of 5.3%.
View Altimetry Passo Rolle (Predazzo) | View Altimetry Passo Rolle (San Martino di Castrozza)
Which is yours?