Traditionally, so-called 'Transalps', mountain bike routes that cross the Alps, have a clear formula – following pretty trails, ideally from the cool north of the Alps to the warm realms of the south. Optimally, the Transalp ends at a dreamlike lake like the picturesque Lake Garda. But this alpine traverse is different. When enduro is part of the equation, then the route should be challenging and far from boring, avoiding long transfer stretches between the trails. Joking aside, in this Collection, I’d like to introduce you to a route that I’ve recommended to friends and acquaintances who have ridden several Transalps. They were looking for a new challenge with a maximum number of demanding trails packed into a multi-day Tour.
In six days you cover about 270 kilometers (167 miles) and over 8,000 vertical metres (26,240 feet). Look forward to more than 16,000 metres (52,490 feet) of downhill. You stand above 3,000 metres (9,842 feet) above sea level three times. High alpine trails, breathtaking scenery and action-packed descents await you on your adventure between Ischgl, a town in the Paznaun Valley in Austria, and Latsch, a commune in South Tyrol.
Of course, this Collection is considered a Transalp as you cross the main ridge of the Alps at Nauders, a municipality on Lake Reschen. The route takes you from the trails on the border ridge of Ischgl to the Engadine high alpine valley and on to the three-country enduro trails on the Reschen Pass. On the third day, you reach Bormio town from the Stelvio Pass on old military trails. From there, you ride to Santa Catarina resort on the Gavia Pass following a legendary freeride route that starts at an altitude of 3,000 metres (9,842 feet). The next day, the Passo Zebrù high-altitude trail awaits, surrounded by glaciers and taking you once again to an altitude where the air starts to thin. After an overnight stay above the Stelvio Pass with an imposing view of the Ortler massif, you start the day on the king of trails, the Goldsee Trail. The day ends on the other side of the Ortler at the Schaubachhütte mountain hut. The finale takes you over one of the highest snow-free passes in the Alps. From the Madritschjoch, one of the highest passes of the alps at 3,123 meters (10,250 feet), you join trails to Latsch in Vinschgau, which is located at 640 meters (2,099 feet) above sea level.
This multi-day Tour is an adventure. It is a physical and mental challenge for bikers who have already experienced alpine multi-day Tours. You can expect spectacular trails that require you to have solid control of your mountain bike. You use lifts and shuttle buses several times to optimise the ratio of uphill and downhill. I’ve left you tips in the comments of each of the respective stage descriptions.
Be aware that a multi-day Tour in high mountains brings with it certain risks. The weather can often change in an instant and route conditions are affected by numerous factors. Plan enough time reserves in case your original route plan has to be bypassed due to a landslide, snow, or even just because of forestry work. Please check the weather forecast daily and take into consideration tips from the locals when making your decisions. Enduro riding and mountain biking in general means: ride ‘by sight’. You should be able to adjust your riding style to defensive to ensure that you end each evening happy and overwhelmed with great memories, without injuries and any problems.
This Tour is designed for self-supported riders travelling with a rucksack. You can of course adapt the Tour to take advantage of one of the numerous luggage shuttle services in the region. Accommodation can be found in the stage towns or the recommended huts. I advise booking in advance. The best time to travel is in summer as the passes are largely free of snow between mid-July and mid-September. I have made suggestions in the respective stage descriptions on how to travel to and from this adventure and return from Latsch to the starting point in Ischgl.
I wish you an eventful Tour filled with awesome experiences.
Without further ado, it goes straight into the adventure. The Silvrettabahn first takes you to the Idalp. There you climb into the chairlift of the Flimjochbahn and get to the border ridge on the Outer Viderjoch at 2,752 meters. The route now runs along the border between Switzerland and Austria to the Engadin, the Swiss part of the Upper Inn Valley.
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After using the lift yesterday to cross the 3,000 mark, I recommend that you skip the shuttle for the first ascent today. The path through the valleys Valle dei Forni and the subsequent Valle di Cedec are not a walk in the park, but on the way you can enjoy an incomparable mountain panorama with a view of the glacier. It's not like a bumpy ride locked in an off-road vehicle.
You have already got to know getting up early on your Alpencross in the past few days. After a wonderful sunrise at 2,842 meters and breakfast, you should be on your bike by eight o'clock at the latest. The Goldseeweg is closed to mountain bikers between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. The entrance is right in front of the door.