Strava segment: -link-
Times Giro d’Italia passed on Erbe: 3
Water fountains: 1 in San Martino in Badia
Other roads to reach the top: Passo Erbe from Chiusa/Klausen, from Bressanone, from Luson
Dolomites pass following Erbe: Passo Gardena
The Passo delle Erbe is without any doubt the kind of road that once you ride it you will either LOVE it or HATE it! In my opinion, the Erbe is definitely one of the Dolomites’ Top 3 Passes . It’s like a cycling carousel because you can ride it to the top from all its sides (4 in total). You could spend all day riding up one side, descending the other, and riding it up again on another side.
Here I’ll describe a ride that starts from the Val Badia Valley. Without counting the short downhill portion, you have 12.50 km of climbing ahead of you and this is the ‘shortest’ climbing part of all roads that get to the top. This doesn’t mean it is the easiest, but it is among the hardest.
When you climb the Erbe in the town of Piccolino you turn towards San Martino in Badia and …. wham! …. after you pass the town of San Martino you’ll hit the first wall – 11% to 12%, no problem. You hope things will ease up soon. Look above you and you’ll see the “Ciastel Tor”, a castle with a Museum that you shouldn’t miss visiting on a rainy day. To get to the castle you’ll need to use all your gears. The hardest gradient of the entire climb is here: 15%. You will still see double-digit gradients on your GPS device until you reach the second hairpin after the castle. Finally there’s a change of tune starting with the 3rd hairpin. From now on after every hairpin the road flattens for a bit so you can get out of your saddle and push on your pedals in order to gain some speed hairpin after hairpin. The road is wide and not heavily trafficked, and it passes through a pine tree forest. After the steep part to the castle, you’ll enjoy this section. Once you reach Col dal Ermo (the top of this part) you have a 2.7 km descent ahead that will take you under the town of Antermoia. From this hill you’ll have a great view of what’s coming up next (see last picture of this post).
Once the descent is finished, pedal stroke after pedal stroke, the road starts to climb again. You’ll reach the town of Antermoia. Once in town, a nice 14% ramp that passes near the church will welcome you in and, after you pass this, the road continues climbing above 10% and will stay like that for the next 1.5 km until you pass under a wooden bridge used for winter skiing. You’ll then come out of the forest and see the Pütia Mountain in front of you in all its splendor. At the feet of the mountain, on the right side, is the end of your ride for the day. But you’re going to have to suffer a bit more to get there!
Back when I was 10-12 years old and I would ride the Passo delle Erbe, I would never think about the distance separating me to the top once I would pass this part above Antermoia. I still never look at the distance on the cyclocomputer just because it feels like its counting really slow. But because I know the climbs, it makes it easier for me. I always ride with small goals in mind, and for the Passo delle Erbe I’ll share mine with you. My goal is the 2 series of 2 hairpins set at pretty much the same distance from each other, shortly after you pass under the wooden bridge. This is the formula:
1st hairpin series, a long stretch, 2nd hairpin series, last long stretch
If you take time to look above you after the 2nd hairpin series, you’ll see the Pütia Mountain getting closer and closer, and soon you will find yourself at the top.