Passo di San Colombano


The massif to the west of Bormio has a little ski station, a century old fort, and a tiny perched 17th century church at 2484 metres. The plan was to visit them all with thicker tires. Barry’s first Alps mountain bike adventure!

It’s a big, modern road to the village of Oga with quite a few fun hairpins. The previous day, I had climbed to the top of that mountain behind me in the photo below – Bormio 3000.

Then things get quiet. The road is paved until roughly 1700 metres where there an old fort – Il Forte Venini di Oga. It was built just before World War 1. It strategically overlooks the valley below, so it has nice views.

After the fort, the road is gravel, and much steeper. Initially it hairpins up through a forest. It was completely rideable, but a long, fun, tough climb.

Above the tree line, there’s a big farm, and the top of a ski lift, but otherwise it’s completely undeveloped. Beautiful.

At the top of the ski lift is a plateau. The Pass is just past the agriturismo farm. It’s a restaurant in summer but was closed. The pass is just beyond at roughly 2250 metres. It’s labeled as a pass on Google Maps and seems like a col, but it doesn’t seem to be in the Club des Cent Col database.

View of pass and farm from above

A decrepit gravel road continues higher. It’s old, hyper steep, and completely unrideable. So we left our bikes and did the 700 metres hike up to the Chiesa San Colombano, a little church first built in the early 1600s, perched at 2484 metres. Fabulous views over the top and of a nearby glacier.

There’s no way over the top here, so we descended back down to our bikes. From the pass, we took a ski slope/road north and debated the best option. We eventually decided to loop around Mont Masucco (see 3D video at bottom), taking a right turn onto a brilliant trail that was basically a cliff, single track (labeled on map) for a couple of kilometres before joining a gravel road that led back to the way we had climbed. Fantastic.

The next days’s epic ride to Stelvio via unpaved roads/trails would begin on the hairpins in the distance:

The 17 Hairpins to I Torri di Fraele

We reached the fort and had a tasty pasta lunch at a friendly restaurant before finding some unpaved trails back to Oga, then we just retraced our route to Bormio.

This was Barry’s Alps mountain bike debut. Not bad, not bad at all. I’d planned it simply by finding a high pass on a map that seemed to have rideable trails/roads. It’s a very scenic, quiet, occasionally challenging route that not even the guys at Barry’s bike rental/touring store knew anything about.

Here’s a 3D video of the ride.


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Happiest while cycling uphill.

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