Top of Sacrario del Monte Grappa -
This climb is a BEAST! At least for the first 5 miles/9 kilometers which average a very healthy 13.5%! This climb is among the “beautiful stepsisters” of the popular Romano and Semonzo climbs (only 303 Strava segment attempts as of August 30, 2016). Beware of the descent back to Poaasgno as the road is extremely steep and in poor condition over the lower stretch (of course, not a problem on the way up at 4-5 mph!).
Narrow rough road surrounded by trees first 4m/6.4km
Yep - that’s no lie!
There are a couple of switchbacks along the bottom part of the climb and 4 significant ones that are out of treeline and quite visible as we approach them at mile/km 4.5/7.2.
Tornanti at mile/km 4.5/7.2
After climbing the initial very difficult 6.4 miles/10.3 kilometers, we enter ranch and open meadow area at mile 6.5/km 10.5 where we encounter a 2-part descent totaling -500’ over a 1.6 mile/2.6 km stretch.
Sheep and cattle along this agricultural segment
Strada Provinciale 141 - no, it’s not just a narrow bike path!
As with all routes up Monte Grappa, there are monuments and/or remnants of WW I along this route:
WW I tunnel.
3 caves along on this approach to Cima Grappa
Memorial to the Partisans and Resistance near the top
WW I military museum and troop tunnels just below the finish.
Aerial drone photo of Sacrario del Monte Grappa.
View of Sacrario del Monte Grappa from Rifugio
Steps down from the Sacrario del Monte Grappa
Rifugio Bassano a cima Grappa below.
At mile 6.6/km 10.6 we leave the trees and enter the open meadows and ranchland of Monte Grappa. Around mile 9.3/km 15 we encounter 4 short and old (WWI vintage) tunnels (Google Street View) which often have a group of donkeys in or near them. The road is very narrow and with a sheer drop off to the left as we ride about a mile/1.6 km along this segment - there are exceptional views along this stretch back to the Pian Dela Bala (a gnarly narrow military inspired walking trail along a sheer cliff).
All 11 routes up Monte Grappa ultimately connect. At mile/km 4.2/6.8 the Possagno route merges with the eastern and northeastern routes of Cavaso del Tomba, Pederobba and Alano. At mile/km 6/9.6 the Fietta route enters from our left, the dirt and gravel Crespano route crosses our path at mile 10.3 at Rufugio Ardosetta (later joining from the right at mile/km 12/19.3), at mile/km 11/17.7 Semonzo enters from the left, at mile/km 10.2/16.4 t and just 4/10 mile/.6 km from the top we merge with the northern 3 climbs (Cismon, Caupo and Seren) and and Romano d’Ezzelino.
One of 4 tunnels at mile 9.2 and their frequent occupants
View back from whence we came as we near the top
Venice and the Adriatic Sea can be seen on a clear day.
All 11 Monte Grappa routes end at the Rifugio Bassano a Cima Grappa which is a cafe with many outside chairs and tables which is frequented by many cyclists each day - this is a very popular Italian cycling destination. The Rifugio is just below the Sacrario del Monte Grappa which is a monumental burial site for approximately 20,000 of the Italian and Austrian soldiers who died in battle on the hillsides of Monte Grappa during World War I.
Rifugio Bassano a Cima Grappa
PJAMM climbed Possango and Semonzo August 29, 2016
11 Monte Grappa climbs in 6 days
One of our all-time favorite cycling trips.
10 (Romano d’Ezzilino)
16 (Cavaso del Tomba)
Steepest grade begins at km 11.9 (13.4%)