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. This makes absolute sense considering #1 Mauna Kea and #3 Death Road aren’t in Europe, Scanuppia is #2 World, and Alpe Fuori is #4 World.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
Finish just below Lago d’Andromia.
Water at the top.
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!”