Vrsic Pass

Slovenia contains the eastern end of the high alps, named the Julian alps. It is the only part of the alps that once were behind the "iron cutain". It once was an alpine resort area for eastern European countries. As such it is not yet affected by the overcommerialization that is typical of many areas in the west, in many ways making it the most unique area of the entire alpine region, in my opinion. There are still several saddles east of Vrsic. But this pass is often thought of as the easternmost road crossing the alps. It is also one of its best cycling routes in the alps. Besides the spectacular scenery (what do you expect from a national park ?) the route also has relatively little traffic due to the proximity of the lower pso di Predil. Even though the area along the road is less developed with tourist businesses, touring cyclists will find more rooms than many other places in the alps. As far as food is concerned, it's advisable to stock up in Bovec on the south side or Granjska Gora on the north side.



01.(km00,450m) START-END SOUTH: Bovec
02.(km20,630m) Trenta
03.(km31,1611m) TOP: Vrsic (pass)
04.(km45,800m) START-END NORTH: Kranska Gora


Approaches

From South.  I imagine one could follow the river Soca upstream from the medterranean sea. It follows the proximity of the Slovenian - Italian border, its mouth in Italy, then following the valley closest to the border on the Slovenian side. Proceeding upstream, at Kobarid the river has reached an altitude of about 340 meters. From here the road following the river rolls along in the canyon, gradually gaining altitude. At the sports friendly town of Bovec the majority of traffic heads for pso di Predil, while this route enters Triglavski Narodni National Park. The road now stays close to the increasingly narrow steepsided limestone canyon to the park headquarters town of Trenta. There is only a single tunnel (galery style) along the entire approach. The tranquility and this little town is remarkable, considering its location at the center of such a spectacular setting. This is where the real climb starts. The switchbacks are numbered backwards and labeled with altitude, so we start climbing at switchback 48. The first 8 come right in a row, then long straight stretches climbing at 14% make clear that this is quite a workout. There are basically two views, back down into the V shaped canyon where Trenta sits, and ahead to the upper source of the Soca with block shaped peaks far above. Each climbed switchback gives a new vantage point on these two views. At about 1000m the road diverts to the right into a high hanging canyon and the summit house becomes visible. But the climb remains steep till the last meter to the summit


From North. (described downwards). The views on this side onto the peaks Spik (2472m) and Skriatica (2740m) are even more precipitous than the last part of the ascent on the other side. During my crossing a southerly airflow blew open a hole in the clouds, creating great afternoon light conditions. On this side the switchbacks are cobble stoned while the intervening straight stretches are asphalt. This does a good job slowing down the motorcycles. A WW1 burial ground is also located near the top. When the switchback countdown reaches number 3, the road is still at over a 1000 meters altitude. This means a good long roll out down to the town of Kranjska Gorka and its large houses with even huger roofs. This is a realtively upscale ski resort so a majority of the many apartments and sobes have more than 2 stars.


 

Extended Tour:

(<Pso di San Osvaldo|Pso di Fusine, Pso Cason di Lanza>) Kobarid .> Bovec >Trenta >Vrsic Pass > Granjska Gora: 50miles with 5400ft of clibming in 5:3hours. (VDO MC1.0 m3:9.6.15)
Notes: includes a 15-30 minute room search . The tour continued over the barely noticable pso di Fusine into Italy, through the valley to Pontebba and then over Pso Cason di Lanza.

Dayrides from the starting point of this Extended Tour day, Kobarid, are on pages:
Dreznica -  Kal Karitnica s(u)
Vrsno s(u)

Vrsic Pass

Highest Point:
1611m
Southern Approach:

from Bovec (450m) 31km 1161m
from Trenta (630m) 11km 981m
Western Approach:

from Kranska Gora (800m) 14km 811m
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