THE VRŠIČ PASS
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  Posted July 2nd, 2017 by Zdenko  in Travel | 5 comments

Traveling Slovenian Alps

 

The Vršič pass (1,611 m)

 Every time when we spend our holidays in Europe, I bring my bike with me and together with my cycling buddies, we do lots of bike riding. Two years ago we climbed Passo dello Stelvio and Passo Gavia in Italy. This time I brought a group of my friends with me, to climb the highest pass in Slovenia – Vršič.

IMG_1266Naslov_Vrsic2

The 1611m high Vršič pass is the heighest pass of Slovenia. This climb is almost always used in the “Tour of Slovenia” bike race and it is considered as legendary climb for many slovenians. We attacked the climb from the Bovec (south) side. There were only five of us: Ljiljana, two Ivan’s, Kreso, and me.

DSC_5881Our group at the top of Vršič Pass   Triglav_nacionalni_Park

 From Bovec, on the almost flat road we could enjoy the view to the rocky, narrowing valley. The road leads north over the Vršič Pass to Kranjska Gora. The first part of the route follows the Soča River to Trenta, where there is an information centre for Triglav National Park. We started slowly as everybody was aware of what was to come…

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The scenery is fantastic…DSC_5899On the road to Vršič Pass Summer 09_0014The road on this south side approach to Vršič, is much more difficult, than the road from the Kranjska Gora (north) side. It has been completely renovated and has no more cobbles. The hairpins are sharper here. The traffic is not heavy; however there are numerous tourist buses that take hairpins really slow so be VERY careful descending. The altitude difference from the Trenta side is about 300 m greater and the climb is a few km longer.

DSC_5919 After the bridge over the Trenta river, the serious climbing starts.

Also note that the numbering of hairpins begins at the bottom of the Trenta side, goes over the summit and ends at the bottom at Kranjska Gora. Number 48 is at the beginning of the climb from this side, and the summit is at 26, if I remember it correctly. IMG_1324Ljiljana was having fun with the boyz…

Continuing north wards you will reach the monument to Julius Kugy, a climber who helped to draw attention to the beauty of this part of the alps. Near the statue a track heads northwest to the source of the Soča (Izvor Soče), where the stream emerges from a cave and immediately hurls itself over a waterfall. After the bridge over the stream of Trenta river, the serious climbing starts; 26 hairpin bends later we will arrive at the summit of the Vršič Pass (1611) where we can enjoy wonderful views. Or not, if you are too tired from climbing, like I was.  DSC_6062Ivan and Zdenko 

It was at this spot, that Ljiljana couldn’t follow the guys any more. From this 794m high point in the next 9km we have had to climb 817m height difference, which means 9% average steepness. In this ascent the steepness is almost just the same from the feet to the top. There aren’t any 12-14% or 5% sections.

 

 IMG_1321The monument to Julius Kugy

One of the Ivan’s was dictating a very tough pace which most of us could not follow. I was climbing at my own pace and was left alone on the rode by stronger riders. If it was not for the “kids” in the following cars who were taking pictures, I would not see anyone on the road as the traffic was scarce.

 DSC_5928Another Ivan is suffering… 

DSC_5983 After the heightens of 1300m looking ahead we could see the pass, the tourist house and the whole valley (photo). It gives plus power to push the pedals.

DSC_5947 Ivan was climbing with style…

DSC_5933Climbing is never easy…DSC_6013Ivan was the strongest and first at the top; congrats! 

 In the last kilometer we meet more and more parking cars and tourists along the road and we can see some path(e)s leaving to the peaks. 

DSC_6021It is a personal achievement to cross this line at the top! Kreso arrives second…   DSC_6046Zdenko is happy that it’s all over now.  DSC_6049Ivan did it too! 

At the top there is the Tičarjev Dom mountain hut at the pass. We took a few pictures and put on some warm clothing for the long and fast downhill riding. One of the Ivan’s couldn’t wait, as he is really known for his descending abilities.

DSC_6055 Our small group at the top and the winner! 

It’s interesting to experience the difference between the life and vegetation and atmosphere of the two sides. While the north side is colder, the road is followed by fir tree forests for long, and there are mosses on the trees, the south side is sunnier, warmer, there are more flowers and we can meet leafy forest in spite of fir tree forest. The hairpin-bends on the north side are build from cobblestones. I think it was done to avoid the accidents because of the slippery roads. It is a nice surprise to read the height of each bend. Although it is not a light pass road, the 14% steepness on the sign at the feet of the climb is the maximum steepness. After the 3-4 kms with 8% steepness, we can cycle on light section for a while, but after the height of 1160m we have to „hold on to” the handle-bar; we don’t have time to rest. I think the last 4 km can be 10% steep, somewhere with 14% sections. In this part the pass road goes totally under the high rock walls of the 2547m high Prisojnik (photo).

 DSC_6061It wasn’t easy to bring the Croatian flag to the top. 

The road over the Vršič Pass in Slovenia was built by Russian prisoners-of-war during WWI. In 1916, an avalanche buried and killed hundreds of them (the exact number is still unknown) so a small chapel was built in their honor. Even though I included it here, it’s a chapel rather than a church — that’s why I called it “a place of worship” — but mass is held there at least once a year.

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Zdenko’s group posing for picture…

Hope you have a good summer!

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5 comments to “THE VRŠIČ PASS”

  1. Comment by Ivan:

    Opet si sve krasno slozil, slike, tekst, bas sve.

  2. Comment by Helena:

    Beautiful Slovenia. Thanks for letting me see the wonderful sites I miss.

  3. Comment by dragan todorovic:

    bravo..pozdrav od bivseg bicikliste iz čačka….

  4. Comment by Tina:

    Veseli me, da ste se imeli lepo na našem koščku dežele. Dobrodošli še kdaj.

  5. Comment by Daniel Tan:

    We have actually been following you around the net all working week, either that or we certainly have similar personal preferences as I’m long been following a lot of the exact same articles. Thanks!

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