Passo San Marco


Passo San Marco was a revelation for me. 26.5 kms and 1740 metres vertical ascent. Gigantic. It starts far lower than most big climbs so its summit altitude can mislead one into thinking it’s not huge. See this table for example:

Passo San Marco26.5 kms1740 metres1992 metres
Passo di Gavia (Bormio)25.6 kms1404 metres2621 metres
Passo dello Stelvio (Bormio)21.5 kms1533 metres2758 metres

I had to get to Bormio to meet my old friend Barry. It’s a long drive, so I decided to stop along the way to explore something new. Passo San Marco starts from Morbegno, in Sondrio Province, roughly half way between Milan and Bormio.

It’s more long than steep, although there are some tough kilometres half way up. (see bottom of post for the profile of the steeper south side).

The 3D video of the route is a good one:

The climb begins climbing through a nice forest. The first 3/4 of the ride has views of mountain forests in every direction. This view is from perhaps halfway up:

I bumped into a herd of goats that were completely uninterested in me:

The climb really gets fun when it gets above the tree line.

Above the tree line

The summit itself has a couple of monuments but is scarred by a bunch of power lines – there is a hydro-electric lake/dam just over the top of the pass.

I only descended a kilometre or two down the other side to have a look. It looks undeveloped and pretty. But I was tired and wanted to save my legs for Bormio. So I just descended back to the start (wimp).

Far side, hairpin #13

But I absolutely loved this climb. Big, scenic, quiet. And the perfect break during a long drive.


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Happiest while cycling uphill.


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