Passo Mortirolo (Mazzo di Valtellina) Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling






Passo Mortirolo (Mazzo di Valtellina)

Italy

The Passo Mortirolo via Mazzo di Valtellina Cycling Climb: More Scenery than Advertised!

Explore this Climb

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LOCAL WEATHER

Start
Finish

Currently

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50
°F
°C

Mostly Cloudy


wind:
3 mph SE with gusts up to 9.6 mph

rain:
6% chance of light rainfall

8:00 AM (local)
PJAMM Sunrise Icon5:41 AMPJAMM Sunset Icon8:52 PM

Temperature
Precipitation
Wind Speed

Tue

pjamm cycling partly-cloudy-day weather icon

61° 45°

Wed

pjamm cycling partly-cloudy-day weather icon

63° 45°

Thu

pjamm cycling clear-day weather icon

61° 47°

Fri

pjamm cycling clear-day weather icon

64° 48°

Sat

pjamm cycling partly-cloudy-day weather icon

61° 47°

Sun

pjamm cycling partly-cloudy-day weather icon

66° 48°

Mon

pjamm cycling partly-cloudy-day weather icon

66° 51°

Climb Summary


Cycling Passo del Mortirolo - hairpin, Marco Pantani memorial.

Mortirolo.  Yes THE Mortirolo!  We love Mortirolo, and, contrary to many of its “sans scenery” critics, we beg to differ! At #9 on the Top Italian Climb List, it is a stout climb and serious challenge.  There is a reason this climb has been one of the most frequently visited (see chart, below) by the Giro d’Italia over the years.  Yes, the distant views are often blocked by the thickly wooded forests bordering the road as we ascend, but to the interested and trained eye, there is much to behold.    

Cycling Passo del Mortirolo  - aerial drone photo of the pass

Aerial photo of the Pass.

 Giro History

Year

Stage

Stage Winner

Country

1990

17

Leonardo Sierra

Venezuela

1991

15

Franco Chioccioli

Italy

1994

15

Marco Pantani

Italy

1996

21

Ivan Gotti

Italy

1997

21

Pavel Tonkov

Russia

1999

21

Roberto Hera

Spain

2004

19

Stefano Garzelli

Italy

2006

20

Ivan Basso

Italy

2008

20

Emanuele Selle

Italy

2010

19

Michele Scarponi

Italy

2015

16

Mikel Landa

Spain

2017

16

Vincenzo Nibali

Italy

   

Cycling Passo del Mortirolo from Mazzo di Valtellina - start of climb, narrow road between old buildings

                                                  Don’t be shy - the Mighty Mortirolo Awaits . . . if you dare!           

How to cycle Mortirolo from Mazzo di Valtellina

This is by far the most popular of the 4 routes to the pass and is the most difficult.  Begin the climb in Mazzo di Valtellina by riding west on Via Valle from its “T” intersection with Via Pedenali (46.25478, 10.25602latitude / longitude).

Be prepared with proper gearing (30t for the average cyclist) because the average grade for this climb is 10.4% for 11.6 km gaining 1,273 meters.

The roadway is in very good shape and there is very little traffic on the ascent and the traffic we have encountered on our two trips here travels respectfully and at a safe speed.

Climbing Passo del Mortirolo from Mazzo di Valtellina, castle

Castle at km 1.2 (had been for sale 2016 but off market 2018

Cycling Passo del Mortirolo from Mazzo di Valtellina - PJAMM cyclists with bike at Pantani memorial 

Pantani monument on tornante at km 7.5

The Marco Pantani memorial is located at tornante/switchback 11 and the cycling news report of its inauguration is:

“The inauguration of a new Marco Pantani memorial on the ascent of the Mortirolo mountain, which will this year be the final climb of the 20th stage of the Giro d'Italia, will take place on Tuesday, May 2. The association of Italian cyclists ACCPI, together with manufacturer Bianchi, brought about the memorial in honour of the 'Pirate', who died on February 14, 2004, in Rimini. The monument is located in Piaz de l’Acqua, some eight kilometres off the mountaintop.”

Climbing Passo del Mortirolo from Mazzo di Valtellina by bike - cyclists riding on roadway with mountains and clouds in background

Bicycle ride of Passo del Mortirolo from Mazzo di Valtellina - John Johnson PJAMM Cycling at the pass sign

Math Quiz:  And . . . .

Cycling Passo del Mortirolo from Mazzo di Valtellina - Tornanti (hairpin) #1 sign with bike leaning against sign

. . . . how many switchbacks on Mortirolo?

  cycling Passo del Mortirolo from Mazzo di Valtellina - Tornanti (hairpin) #33 sign with town in background

O.k. I am a lawyer, not a mathematician - there’s your fair warning!  According to the road signs, verified by our count as we looked up (briefly) from the pavement in front of us on this brute, there are 33 switchback/hairpins up the Mighty Mortirolo.  We LOVE switchbacks, and the Italian Alps are perhaps the greatest venue for switches in the world and Mortirolo is one of its greatest ambassadors.  We took the time to photograph every switchback and sign along the way. Our slideshow is located at the bottom of this climb page - enjoy!  

Cycling Mortirolo from Edolo

The “easiest of the ascents to the pass but still no slouch at 16.8 km / 1,126 m / 6.7%.

We are on a busy highway for the first 4.5 km until turning onto a much lesser travelled and well maintained road for the majority of the climb.  This is the “back way” to the passo - it is far to the south and isolated from the other 3 routes which all overlap themselves at some point.  The Edolo path to Passo Mortirolo is the only approach that does not share the road with one of the other 4 routes to the top.

bike climb of Passo del Mortirolo from Edolo - start of climb - bridge in Edolo

Climb begins in Edolo (pop. 4532, 2017)

Climbing Passo del Mortirolo from Edolo - roadway sign with bike leaning against it.

Climb is on busy SS 42 until we turn left onto SP81 at km 4.5

Cycling Mortirolo from Edolo - distant view of mountains and sky

Nice views as we climb.

Bicycle ride of Passo del Mortirolo from Edolo - roadway with Giro d'Italia pain on it.

The Giro visits fairly regularly

How to cycle Mortirolo from Grosio

This is really a fun climb and, after the traditional route from Mazzo di Valtellina, our favorite route to the top.  This route begins at the northeastern edge of Grosio and runs along a typically narrow route to Passo Mortirolo.  The views along this climb are the best of the 4 routes to the top.  The roadway is in excellent condition and there is next to no traffic along this route.

Passo del Mortirolo from Grossio bike climb - start of climb, roadway and sign

Climb begins in Grossio (pop. 4,431, 2017)

Cycling Passo del Mortirolo from Grossio - view of distant mountains through wild flowers

14.2 km / 1,216 m / 8.5

Climbing Passo del Mortirolo from Grossio - tornanti 1 sign (hairpin) with bike leaning against it.

Roughly 25 tornanti on this route to the Passo.

Bike climb of Passo del Mortirolo from Grossio - sign at the top of the climb

How to cycle Mortirolo from Tovo

This is another route up Mortirolo that is best done with at least a 30t cassette as it averages 10.5% for 12.2 km.  While this climb presents a great cycling challenge, it is the least scenic of the climbs - for much of the route we are bordered by thick forest which block our views of all but the roadway ahead - on a climb that registers a 10.5% as an average grade, perhaps just the road in front and directly in front is all we need . . .

Cycling  Passo del Mortirolo from Tovo - narrow road with thick forest

12.2 km / 1,285 m / 10.5%

Climbing Passo del Mortirolo from Tovo - road paint with arrow and Mortirolo

Views are blocked by forest along much of this route.

Passo del Mortirolo from Tovo - bike leaning against tornanti 1 sign.

There are no routes to Passo Mortirolo that don’t go through many tornanti.