Penser Joch
aka pso Pennes

When other high passes in the alps are still closed in the spring, the Penser Joch is often open. During end of May/09 Groedner Joch, Timmelsjoch and Stilfser Joch, all not very far away and reaching above 2000 meters, were still closed. But this superb climb into the Sarntaler Alps was open. The south side has a very large elevation drop and an impressive tunnel route.

1.(00.0km,940m) START-END NORTH: Sterzing/Vipeteno jct: Brennerstrasse - SS44
2.(16.2km,2215m) TOP: Penser Joch
3.(45.2km,983m) turnoff to Sarnthein/Sarentino
4.(64.1km,281m) START-END SOUTH: Bozen: bike path turnoff to downtown


From North. On the south end of Sterzing (Vipeteno) a veritable forest of pass signs is located around a rondell. One of them is Penser Joch. The small road begins to climb steeply right away, high above the caravans of trucks in the valle d'Isarco. A prominent triangular peak soon dominates the view above, the Tagewaldhorn (2708m). With the help of a few switchbacks and a straight long cut above treeline the road climbs to the restaurant at the top. My  map labels one stretch as a 20% climb. But I did not encounter anything that steep, and I think I would have known if I did. The climb is relentess and steep, but not that steep.

From South. (described downwards). This side is higher, longer, gentler, and straighter, generally speaking. Two ramps switch back down the the base of the Weisshorn (1705m). One more steep step down to Asten and the road is in the Pensertal. Now a loaded touring bike rolls along comfortably, not much breaking required, not much pedaling either. The attractive town of Sarntheim (Sarentino) is worth a detour, even if it's just for the improved view of the castles, high up on the west side of the Pensertal. A few km later and the valley becomes a deep gorge with 19 tunnels carving their way down into Bozen. The space between the tunnels is at times only a fraction the length of the tunnels, which make some places between tunnels quite exciting perches over the landscape. I was going to gloat that only cyclists have the luxury to stop fast enough to take a closer look. But after stopping my bicycle fast enough, I noticed that one small balcony was also a bus stop, apparently serving the tramway to a nearby house on a cliff. The last tunnel emerges close to the heart of the old mountain city of Bozen, at the castle of Roncolo. A impeccably paved and white lined bike path soon picks up to the left of the road and leads along the river Eisack. The city center and tourist information are to the left over a metal bridge.


a day on a tour:

(<Brenner Pass|Karerpass>)
Penser Joch: Sterzing > Penser Joch > Bozen > Adriano: 59 miles with 4800ft of climbing in 5:40h.  (VDO MC1.0 m4:9/5/26).
Notes:  Roughly 9 miles and 45 minutes of this were due to a room search around Bozen and Adriano

Dayrides from the endpoint of this day, Andrian/Adriano are on pages:


Penser Joch
aka pso Pennes

Highest Point:
Northern Approach:

from Sterzing/ Vipetono jct: Brennerstrasse - SS44 (940m) 1275m 16.2km
Southern Approach:

from Bozen, bike path turnoff to downtown (281m)

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