Passo dello Stelvio (Bormio) Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

Passo dello Stelvio (Bormio)


Cycling Passo dello Stelvio Bike Climb: Super tough

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Climb Summary

Cycling Passo Dello Stelvio from Bormio

Ride 21.7 kilometers gaining 1,534 meters at 7.1% average grade.

This is not “the famous side”, but let there be no doubt, Stelvio from Bormio is an absolute Must Do!  If your legs can manage it, there is possibly no greater out-and-back In the World!  We really mean that.  On its own, Passo dello Stelvio from Bormio is the 15th ranked road bike climb in Italy (97 world) at a quite healthy 13.7 miles/22 kilometers, 4,950’/1,509m ascent at 6.8% average grade.  Throw in a Prato Backside and you end the day with 58.5 miles/94 kilometers, climbing 11,200’/3,415m.  Here is a MAP for this magnificent out-and-back.  It is clear, however, that this is the “unpopular” side, borne out by a comparison of the Strava Attempts comparatively: 9,371 for Prato versus 1,259 for Bormio as of 10/10/16.

We encounter a few old and scenic tunnels during the first part of the climb (bring flashing rear lights).

O.k., there are not as many switchbacks (only 38 versus the world renowned and famous 48 of Stelvio from Prato), but, hey, how often do you encounter 38 switchbacks on one climb?  Correct - almost never!

Hairpin 38 is leaving Bormio and Hairpin 1 is near the pass.

2 kilometers of tight hairpins from 11.6 to 13.6 km.

While there are only 38 on the Bormio side compared to the famous 48 from Prato, this route is a “must do” - Do not travel to Stelvio and miss this side of the ascent.

Near the top of the middle hairpins - km 13

Bormio is an incredible town and we believe we made a good choice staying there to stage for our 3 days in the Stelvio Area.  From Bormio, we are in striking distance of Passo Gavia and Passo Mortirolo, incredible must-do adventures on by their own right.  While Bormio is a town of only 4,000, it has every amenity you will need, even a high-end bike shop.  Of all things, I broke my seat (don’t ask!) during our 3 days there and to my surprise, there was a Trek store that had all manner of high end gear, equipment, tools, etc. that a serious cyclist would ever need.

Approaching the Sacrario militare dello Stelvio - WWI memorial

Resting up for the final push to the summit . . .

. . . then down to Prato and back up from the other side  👍🚲👍

We had planned this trip for over a year with Bormio/Stelvio as the figurative apex of the trip.  Stelvio had it all, the road history, Giro history, challenge and beauty like no other.  I remember clipping in and thinking, “Oh-my-gosh! I am really here - I am about to ride up Stelvio!” This was one of the greatest climbing days of my life and I hope that anyone reading this post has the opportunity to experience this once in a lifetime opportunity - as the Nike quote says “Just Do It!”

The hairpins on Stelvio from Prato are the best in the world . . .


. . . but those from Bormio are a close second!

As we ascended and ultimately looked back on the Bormio side Stelvio switchbacks, I commented “Those are the greatest set of switchbacks I have ever experienced.  On the way back down, after Stelvio from Prato, I did modify that lofty acclaim to “Those are the second greatest set of switchbacks I have ever experienced.”  Seriously - #1 and #2 in the same ride - are you kidding me?!!!!

Cycling Passo dello Stelvio - aerial drone photo of pass

The pass from the Bormio side.

Cycling Passo dello Stelvio - PJAMM Cycling John Johnson and Bill Cappobianco at the Passo sign


Bike climb Passo dello Stelvio - John Johnson PJAMM Cycling at Bratwurst and food cart with bike at top of climb

There are NO shortages of photo opps on Stelvio!

There are 7 fantastic climbs within 20 miles of Bormio (Stelvio-Umbrail-Gavia-Mortirolo) - Link to Map of all 7 climbs