It’s tough to find a road with 2250 metres continuous climb (Stelvio has 1800m) – I can’t think of a paved climb in the Alps.
This was one of the best rides of the year. 29 kms uphill with the second half unpaved and deserted. The reward at the end of the “road” – the beautiful Lago Misérin at 2580 metres.
Back in June, I road-biked the paved part here – ending at roughly 1750 metres (this climb starts very low: 360m). It’s a great 18km climb with the best part the 14 or so hairpins to the finish above Champorcher. But an unpaved road goes much higher.
Aosta, Italy is a mecca for uphill cyclists. For more climbs in the Aosta region see here.
A short 3D video of route:
In my previous visit, I detailed the paved stretch. It’s an interesting road, wide and fairly quiet, leading deeper and deeper into the high mountains.
But we’re here to talk about the unpaved higher stretch. Initially, it’s a decent surface with fabulous views.
This leads to a sort of narrow, hilly plateau. There are a few old farm buildings, some in ruins, some still in service.
The road gets rougher. At times it’s littered with rocks of all sizes (see small pic above), especially during short, steep spells. I occasionally pushed, but always soon got back on the pedals. It’s a fabulous environment.
It gets very steep approaching the lake but it’s worth the effort. Lago Misérin is the largest natural lake in Aosta, the Italian/French bilingual region of Italy. Hence the French sounding lake name. There is a very small dam at one edge now to manage water levels, etc. Beside the damn is the Rifugio Misérin as well as a chapelle: Notre-Dame-des-Neiges.
I made a loop on a hiking trail around the lake. It’s mostly right beside the water, but there is one challenging part that requires scrambling up a hill to bypass a mound/ledge against the lake.
I had my hybrid bike, which was fine, but I must admit during long stretches of the descent I would have appreciated a mountain bike.
I loved this ride. It’s huge, and varied. The deserted upper stretches are fantastic, and remember: no-one likes rides to high alpine lakes and dams more than me – see here for some more.
Disclosure: I am getting less and less interested in riding my road bike. Not one car passed me after the 14 km point (Champorcher).