Alpe Fuori Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

22.2
FIETS
7.3 mi
DISTANCE
5,209 ft
GAINED
13.7 %
AVG. GRADE

FULL CLIMB STATS

INTRO

Any climb that is on the Top 10 Hardest Bike Climbs list is going to be an absolute beast, and Alpe Fuori will not disappoint.  Alpe Fuori is in a magnificent bike climbing area - there are four other Top 100 bike climbs within a 25 mile straight line from the start of the climb: Alpe di Aleccio (Italy; 10 km line of sight from Fuori #84), Alpe Rossombolmo (Italy; 21 km; #40), Breithorn (Switzerland; #9; 30 km), and Marjalensee (Switzerland; #83; 30 km). 
The gradient profile on this climb is about as foreboding as you will ever see.  The 11.7 kilometer ride averages 13.7% (unbelievable!), the steepest 500 meters is an extraordinary 26.3%, and there is a full kilometer that averages 23%.  75% of this climb averages over 10% (27% is above 15% and 17% over 20%).  

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Roadway:  Much of the route is gravel and while we did this climb on a road bike with 28mm slicks, we strongly recommend a gravel bike or even mountain bike as climbing on gravel over 20% grade gets a bit dicey on the road bike . . . 

Traffic:  None to almost none. 

Parking: There is parking in a lot or on the street very near the start of the climb:  MapStreet View.
Bike:  A gravel bike is recommended with gears suitable for your fitness and ability - we used a modified Specialized Crux with a 28t chainring and 42t cassette.  38mm knobby tires are recommended at a minimum - we used 28mm slicks and do not recommend that. 

Provisions:  None along the climb.  In 2018 there was a water trough with running water at the finish of the climb. 
Before heading out on any cycling adventure check out our Things to Bring on a Cycling Trip and use our interactive check list to ensure you don't forget anything.
As mentioned in the introduction, this is a magnificent climbing area.  If you have the time, we strongly recommend you travel the Canton of Valais, Switzerland as the Alpe Fuori bike climb  is within 50 kilometers of the eastern edge of the greatest climbing area in the world - for difficult bike climbs - Valais, Switzerland.

There are many options for hotels and vacation rentals in the Preglia area.

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CLIMB SUMMARY

Cycling Alpe Fuori warning and road signs, gate and bicyle 

Alpe Fuori: the world’s fourth most difficult bike climb

Ride 11.8 km gaining 1,709 m to elevation 1,874 at 13.7% average grade.

Steepest km averages 22%

 

PJAMM’s Brad Butterfield cycled in 23 countries in and around Europe, riding up more than 200 climbs in 4½ months in 2018. Brad says this was his toughest of all his 2018 climbs other than Scanuppia.

Before heading to Europe on your cycling adventure, be sure to rely on our list of Things to Bring on a Cycling Trip, and use our interactive checklist to ensure you don't forget anything.

Alpe Fuori is in the Pennine Alps (home to the Matterhorn), a subrange of the Alps located in northern Italy and Southern Switzerland. The climb begins a few kilometers north of Domodossola (pop. 18,247, 2014; elevation 272 m) in the Piedmont Region of northern Italy.  Civilization in this area dates back to 12 BCE.  During WWII this area broke away from fascist Italy for two months before the free partisan republic was defeated by the Germans.

Cycling Alpe Fuori - road sign for Alpe Fuori  

    Bike climb of Alpe Fuori - road sign 

Bicycle climb up Alpe Fuori  - gravel road 

Climbing Alpe Fuori by bike is REALLY REALLY hard.  The road is very bumpy with a lot of potholes.

Most of the climb is shaded, no traffic at all. In the very beginning there are some houses, but nothing after that. The first gravel section is about 1.5 miles from the end of the segment that PJAMM charted. It’s less than a quarter mile long, but very rocky and difficult on a road bike.

 

Climb Alpe Fuori  by bike - road sign

About halfway up the climb there is a gate (easy to walk around).

We thought the sign was saying something about ‘no big cars’/‘steep road’??

(Bottom text translates roughly to “along the whole route”.  So--consider yourself warned.)

  Bicycling Alpe Fuori  - gravel road and forest

After the gate it’s paved for 100 feet, then gravel again. Then paved, then gravel, all the way to the top. The gravel is manageable in some sections on a road bike, but we did have to walk portions.  We wouldn’t recommend anybody go to the summit with a road bike. ‘Cross necessary’ is what we think. At the summit there is an abandoned village, it doesn’t look like anybody has lived there in quite some time. There is a water fountain to get water up there.

Alpe Fuori  Bike Climb - Village below Lago d' Andromia - rock house

Finish just below Lago d’Andromia.

Cycling Alpe Fuori - bike near house 

Water at the top.

Bike climb Alpe Fuori - cross with cycling vest on it and bike

End of the climb.

Steepest kilometer starts at km 2.8 (22.7% - eeeeecccckkk!!!)

Italy’s third most difficult climb and one of the most difficult bike climbs in the world at #9.

Input on this climb from other Strava members, specifically related to the condition of the road surface:

Mauro Emanuelli: “The road is all asphalt in some concrete points. If you have an agile relationship you can do it with the road bike...but it's nice [and] tough.”

Emiliano De Angeli: “Alpe Fuori is paved and you can try to climb it on a road bike (I've done it on a road bike!)”

Andrea Rossi: “All asphalt some concrete stretch, I did it with the road bike.” 

Unknown member: “I did with the MTB the slopes are really challenging depends on the relationship you have on

the road bike but in my opinion it is better with the mt bike..but would want a 34-30 or 34-32.”

Eros Forenzi: “...Here you are two videos from Youtube: descent >>>
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4s4KNYBvMYI ; ascent >>>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpL7PC6PN1s . You see that the final part (less than 1 km) is not paved, but these videos are dated 2011, I think it has been paved up to the top since then :-) Sooner or later I'll ride Alpe Fuori with my road bike, I have 34x28 and 34x32 (I will mostly use the latter, I presume), Emiliano has done it with 34x29, he is very strong!”