Tre Cime di Lavaredo

One of our primary goals for the trip was to ride the terrifying Tre Cime di Lavaredo.  When Sterling informed his old friend, European cycling guur, and Stanford Professor Jobst Brandt that we intended to ride this climb, he responded, 'Oh, Sterling, that's steeeep; the hairpins are one-hundred percent%.'  The plan was to make a short out and back over the Tre Croci to the Tre Cime.  As we set out in the Renault Master, firmly fixed in our minds were the images that we had seen in the movie The Greatest Show : the winningest professional cyclist ever, The Cannibal, Eddy Merckx, visibly suffering to lift his body around the cruely steep hairpins of the Tre Cime climb.  We knew that each of us would be on our lowest gears (39x29, 39x32 and 32x26).  We knew that this would be a good day.

The Tre Croci is a simple but attractive climb that winds its way up generally good pavement to a modest pass.  The Tre Cime is reached by continuing past Lago di Misurina, whereupon a relatively short introductory section of 15 to 20% grades fills your legs with lactic acid before a short descent takes you past an entrance station.  Following the entrance station the real suffering begins as the road rears up on its hind legs and stares you down.  It climbs at an incredible pitch for several kilometers.  The climb finishes with a series of switchbacks that dump you into a parking lot.  There is a refuge at the top, although one can continue to climb to the highest levels of the parking lot.  From the elevation of the refuge, a dirt track - managable at a low speed on a road bike - takes you to a proper viewing spot of the Tre Cime.  


Fred did a very nice 5-6 mantle to obtain this vantage point.  The Passo Pordoi is visible in the background.

Perhaps this is what Fred photographed.  This is the view to the north from the road on the east side of the Passo Pordoi.  Look at the dolomite!


This is Arraba, a small town at the base of the east side of the Pordoi.


Some of the beautiful roadwork on the Passo di Falzarego, which lies between Arraba and
Cortina d'Ampezzo.


Cortina d'Ampezzo, viewed from low on the road to the Passo di Falzarego.

misurina & tre cime

And these are the terrifying Tre Cime di Lavaredo (viewed across Lago di Misurina).  Our goal was to reach the foot of the scree slopes below the grand peaks.


The Tre Cime viewed from the dirt track, which provides a proper view of the massif.  Lake Misurina is to the left, and the view from there is end-on so that part of the massif is blocked.  The peaks are composed of - you guessed it - dolomite.  Its nearly flat - lying.  


Edwin digs deep at th top of the climb.


Sterl battles the last meters of the Tre Cime.


Fred reaches the upper parking lot against an awesome backdrop.  Check out the rhythmically bedded dolomite on the left.  


The scenery around the Tre Cime is beautifully rugged.
This glacial valley with the classic 'U' shape, ran to the east from the Tre Cime.


Some of the tornante on the upper section of the Tre Cime climb.  They make for a very nice descent.

misurina lunch

We had a nice snack at an outdoor cafe along Lago di Misurina, with the Tre Cime as a backdrop.

The QuadHawk lives!

tre croci

On the road back to the Tre Croci and Cortina.


A classic slump scarp in the road along the climb to the Tre Croci pass.  

no fear ape  

Some people take thier 5 horsepower, three-wheeled farm vehicles seriously.


Central Cortina d'Ampezzo, where we had lunch after the ride.

souped tres

We stopped for dinner in Arraba on the drive home.  We were treated to a display of highly modified 5 horsepower three-wheeled farm vehicles.  Apparently the chicks dig them.

a tre

My homepage               Europe 2002 homepage                 on to the Stelvio