Alpine Traverse project

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  • Hi all, I have seen a few threads about riding in the Alps, but I want to start another one, based on a specific project I am working on.

    First thing first, the Alps is a mountain range that spans from Slovenia (and a bit further if you wish) to France, as opposed to what is generally regarded as "Alps" referring to "French Alps" in a TdF misguided way.

    With this in mind, I am trying to put together a route that traverses them, using high roads, ideally unpaved, trying to link great old military roads and famous passes alike. I am basing my inspiration on @jameso great route that is the TNR. I have been through few parts of this route already, but I'd say 90% is uncharted terrytory.

    As usual, I make use of RWGPS and its fantastic heatmap for planning this, but some stretches might be just suitable for full blown DH bikes at specific times of the year or I might be simply missing out on great places I have no idea about. So I decided to take it back to LFGSS for anyone that wants to chip in with tips and ideas.

    The current route is here below, from Ljubljana to Geneva.

    Current route based on:

    • Alpine bike: Specific route to cross Switzerland on MTB
    • RWGPS heatmap
    • Strava heatmap
    • Several hike a bike trails

    Future considerations:

    • Rough Stuff Cycling in the Alps

    Any input is very welcome.

  • well, if it's an MTB route, count me in

    you may want to PM user "Alpinum" on BearBonesBikepacking, he is a very active Swiss Alp MTBer with lots of experience in interesting multi-day offroad routes

  • I'd say what I have in mind is not MTB specific, it could be defined as a gavel+ / MTB- type of thing, with hike a bike sections regardless, a sort of "all terrain" bike, "ride what you brung" and so on..

  • I am basing my inspiration on Jameo great route that is the TNR.

    Think you mean @jameso

    (following with interest)

  • I did, thanks for correcting that! Apologies for mistagging people

  • Also, failed to mention above, but there is a high chance I will attemp all or part of this at the beginning of this summer, like end of June

  • Sounds good. Andy Cox / doubletrackfanatic on IG has been riding a lot of this kind of terrain in the last couple of years, I think his routes are on Komoot.

    Have a look on, that's a great resource for gravel passes and interesting roads.

  • I would be keen to try part of it, work allowing. (doubt I'd get enough time off for all of it).

  • Browsed the WIP route, section around 160-170km area looks interesting.

  • Yeah, but pretty tame compared to the sctions around km530-550 and what currently is the most uncertain section of the whole route from km620 to 650, over Passo Gelato. Some pretty intense hike a bike followed by a gnarly descent from almost 3000m. Also likely to be all still covered in snow by the end of June.

  • Dangerousroads is a good shout, loads on information there. The Rough Stuff book has also got a lot of info which I will digest.

  • Yes that highest pass does look like a tough one. Certainly MTB terrain there. Anything that comes up a dotted red line on the OSM Cycle layer is MTB/hike, that and the gradient are the useful signs I think.

  • Tweaks to the first 400km using some common sense and a friend's local knowledge. Main changes:

    • Removed Vrsic Pass, it's amazing, but I've already done it and I am trying to slim down the route a bit to make it doable in 2 weeks.

    • Removed the Monte Spina ridge above Padola, looks more fun with a MTB coming from North anyway.

    • Changed the approach to Cortina d'Ampezzo.


    Pass Maighels, just above Andermatt

  • Stunning scenery but dat helmet dangle...

  • Aspirational stuff

  • Here's the Passo Gelato entry in RS Cycling in the Alps.

    If Fred says it's M (Medium), then it is likely to be pretty tough. E (Easy) is from my experience what we'd consider mainly rideable on a gravel bike, but which might involve some pushing (but not carrying).

    I've hiked Niederjoch, which also goes into the Schnalstal, which he calls D (Difficult). I wouldn't have wanted to take a bike of any sort anywhere near it.

    On the other hand the ++++ means that it's very scenic.

    If you need any more thoughts from the RS Alps book, let me know!

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  • Hey, thanks for this! I have the book as well and read that section already. It's good intel, with the same disclamer you included above.

    It looks doable, more for a hardtail than a gravel/adventure bike probably. The worst section seems to be the East side of the pass.

  • Also, I have slowed down on the reseach behind this trip as it looks more and more unlikely I will be able to ride it this in June due to the new restrictions implemented in Italy to bound the Covid numbers.

    With a baby on its way, June was going to be my best (and only) shot at attempting it this year, let's see in the coming years.

    But it will still be a long term dream ride and a project I have most definitely not abandoned. This page is obviously here for anyone to contribute and for others to test and tune the route.

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Alpine Traverse project

Posted by Avatar for giofox @giofox