The Silvretta Hochalpenstrasse is at the top of a long valley that extends almost 50 kilometres bottom-to-top. Something that has impressed me on this Austrian trip is how often lower parts of valleys have high-quality bike paths segregated from the main/only through road. So while here the real climbing starts 16 kilometres before the summit, cyclo-tourists can safely and enjoyably pedal lower down.
I started in Sankt Gallennkirch and indeed rode one of these great bike paths for a long stretch. Fabulous.
There is a nasty tunnel roughly 15 kms from summit …. but the bike path bypasses it.
Like many big Austrian climbs, there is a toll-booth for cars soon after the road starts climbing. No more towns. But here begins the first of 29 hairpins.
At 1743 metres is the first dam/lake, the Vermunt Stausee.
Above the lake was a sign to a high altitude refuge and some trails that got me thinking of summer mountain biking. Next time. And soon after, the 29th hairpin:
The summit of the climb is a mountain pass: Bielerhöhe. I’ve seen it listed in reliable places as 2037 metres, but the sign said 2032 metres. Also, exactly at the summit is another dam/lake, the Silvretta Stausee. Very nice.
The far side of the climb is also almost 50 kilometres uphill but only has 3 kilometres steeper than 5%. One giant false flat. It’s supposed to be nice, but my Austria trip was over as my legs demanded I simply descend back to the start. But this is a perfect through-pass for anyone touring. Lovely.
A 3D video of ride: