Bormio 2000 and above to Bormio 3000 (!)


Woohoo! It’s not easy cycling above 3000 metres in the Alps.

Bormio is a popular ski resort in Lombardy. It is also a cycling paradise as it sits at the base of Passo dello Stelvio and Passo di Gavia, two of the very best paved cycling climbs in the Alps.

I was in Bormio meeting my old friend Bazza. After a great ride up Gavia the previous day, the weather looked questionable. So the paved road to Bormio 2000 seemed a perfect 10 kilometre relaxing climb. It’s a big, well-surfaced road. But I brought my mountain bike and a back-pack full of waterproof clothing hoping to go much higher.

I’ve marked Bormio 2000 (1952 metres) on the profile below. The paved road ends here beside some ski lifts and restaurants.

Steep, slippery, fun

Bazza headed down, but I proceeded up a gravel ski-lift service road without much hope of success.

View from Bormio 2000

Initially, the unpaved stuff is quite rideable. It was very quiet, but I believe in summer some ski lifts are open as I saw some signed downhill single track trails.

There are a couple of ski lifts around 2500 metres and one at 2650 metres helpfully listing their altitudes to help me mark progress. Above this things get very difficult. Slippery surfaces and crazy steep ramps meant that I often found myself pushing.

Not easy 🙂

But the weather was holding and I was getting slightly euphoric as I realised I might succeed.

The goal in sight

The summit (3011 metres) is the top of a telecabin and a small restaurant.

View over the far side:

View down the climb:

The descent was fun, although I walked one brief steep slippery stretch. Needless to say, I didn’t take long to reach Bormio. This is a simple route: just head up (and up) a giant ski lift service road. But it is so satisfying to reach the summit (even with some pushing). Wooohooo!

See here for 30 of the highest unpaved roads in the Alps (I need to add a few recent climbs to the list).

Here’s a 3D video of the route:


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Happiest while cycling uphill.

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