Climb summary by Craig Arcuri, Johnstown, Pennsylvania.
A nice way to access this climb is to go to the Bormio Ice Arena. Just behind the Arena passes the Bormio Bike Path (nicely paved). Ride down the hill on the bike path, it’s a gentle grade, and the Adda River will be on the right (The river runs all the way down to Lake Como). But if you’re further down the hill in Bormio, just ride along via Milano to Santa Lucia. At Santa Lucia, exit the bike path and cross a little bridge and the climb quickly gets serious, starting at 8 to 10% through Santa Lucia. The climb gains over 1700 feet in roughly 4.5 miles.
The climb has some variation, alternating between going through little villages, dense pine forest, 4 sections of really nice, compact hairpins, and some majestic views of Bormio. It averages 7.6%, and although it kicks up to 13 or 14 % in a few places, they are short stretches and not too punishing. The road surface is very good for most of the climb. It gets relatively rougher near the top, but not bad at all (not littered with potholes).
Halfway up the climb is an isolated, tan colored church, which you will recognize if you’ve spent any time in Bormio. It’s just a lone church up on the mountainside.
Near the top is really dense pine forest and at the summit is a Ski Lodge-esque building which has what seems to be a thriving restaurant. Forte Di Oga is a World War I era fort. To get to the fort, continue past the lodge and the road turns gravel for a few hundred yards then continues into pine forest. Another ¼ mile or so, and 3 switchbacks on the gravel will get you to the fort, a monument, several plaques describing the fort, and a panoramic view of the neighboring mountains and Bormio. On the descent, past the village of Oga, follow the switchback to descend back to Santa Lucia, or go left at the switchback, on via alla Corva. Going down via alla Corva can provide an easy linkup with the Torri Di Fraele/Lago Cancano climb.
Note: coming down toward St. Lucia is a tunnel, but the road you ascended on is just left of the tunnel. Take the road. Bicycles are not allowed in the tunnel.