Passo Sella from the Passo Gardena crossroads
Vertical climb: 373 m.
Average grade: 6.8 %
Highest grade: 11%
Starting elevation: 1,871 m.
Final elevation: 2,244 m.
Distance: 5.5 km
Total hairpins: 0 <– yes, there are no hairpins
Strava segment: -link-
Times Giro d’Italia passed the Sella: 16
Water fountains: none
Other roads to reach the top: Passo Sella from Pordoi crossroad
Dolomite pass following Sella: Passo Pordoi
If you plan to ride Passo Sella from Val Gardena, then the first part up to Plan de Gralba is mentioned in the Passo Gardena description.
As you climb Passo Sella, ‘His Majesty’ the Sassolungo / Langkofel will be watching your efforts all the way to the top. You’ll see it transforming. At the beginning, it simply looks like one single block. The higher you get, you’ll also start to see Sasso Piatto / Plattkofel that was hidden at the beginning.
This gorgeous view will make you think less about the road towards the top. The Sella isn’t that hard. Like most of the climbs in the Dolomites, everything seems hard at the beginning, after you’ve left behind you a long – and maybe cold – descent. That’s why it’s really important to pedal as you’re going downhill. You should always move your legs so that they don’t feel like a block of concrete when you start the next climb.
For the first 800 meters, you’ll take a long, wide right turn with an average grade of approximately 7%. Once this is behind you, an easy 3%-4%, 500-meter climb follows until you get to a quarry located on the left side of the road. Now the climb starts to get serious again: for the next 700 meters you will reach the maximum 11% grade of the whole climb. After this, a long left turn will lead you out of the forest and, in front of you, you may already see the top of the climb. The Sassolungo will be on your right, always checking to see if everything is okay and maybe having a good laugh saying, “Karbon statt Kondition?” (“Carbon instead of condition?” in German).
You are now on a long straight with fewer trees around you. In high season – such as August – you will start seeing cars parked everywhere on the side of the road because Passo Sella is a good starting point for climbing the Sella Massif and, of course, the Sassolungo. Don’t be fooled when you see some huts with a huge parking lot. This isn’t the top of the climb – it’s 1.2 km ahead. This is probably the nicest final km of any Dolomites climb because the views around you are terrific – so beautiful, in fact, that sometimes you forget about all the cars parked along the road!
Have you ever ridden this climb? What were your toughts and feelings as you were climbing?
Share them in the comments section at the end of this post.
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