At 2.599 meters the Passo di Gavia is one of the most iconic climbs of the Alps. Overlooked by the Como ei Tre Signori the summit waits up with the Lago Bianco, one of two lakes atop the Gavia. The other one is the Lago Nero, which is situated around 3 kilometers south of the pass. The Gavia is home to one of the most breathtaking sceneries of the Central Alps.
There are two ways to reach the top of the climb. The northern option starts in Bormio and drags up for nearly 25 kilometers at around 5.7 percent. The southern option is much shorter, but by far more iconic.
Starting from Ponte di Legno there are 16 grueling kilometers to cover. At first the road stays quite wide. Until Pezzo the climb is not really spectacular. However, this changes dramatically once one reaches the Stelvio Naturepark. It is here that the climb unveils its true beauty.
The road narrows down to one lane and sees a gradient of up to 16 percent over the course of 10 switchbacks. After passing through the forest one can soak in some stunning views. And even on bad weather days, when the mist hangs thick on the mountainside, the Gavia is one of a kind.
The surface gets bad towards the end of the climb. With around 3 kilometers to go a tunnel crosses through the mountain. It is poorly lit, which makes a small LED front light recommendable. Hard-boiled riders might opt for the old, highly weathered road that follows along the left side of the tunnel.
The switchbacks near the Lago Nero mark the final difficulty of the climb. From there on the road describes a long bend towards the summit. At all the southern option of the Gavia offers an elevation gain of 1.300 meters.