Changed: 11/01/2006 - 15:58:50
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The Giant 10 Pass Tour
Switzerland tour provided by: Adrian Burkert

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The Giant 10 Pass Tour

A great tour ATiC 001 and 002 did last october. You will need about two days for the 10 alpine passes, which are between 1000 and 2500m high and go as low as 200m in the Locarno area.


Time: 2 days
Distance: 850km

Tour outline

Aathal, ZH -> Sattel -> Susten -> Grimsel -> Furka -> St.Gotthard -> Nufenen -> Simplon -> Domodossola -> Locarno Monti

Locarno Monti -> Lugano -> Maloja -> Bernina -> Livigno -> Zernez -> Fluela -> Aathal, ZH

Tour report

The first day we got up early to get early to central Switzerland, the Sattel was still foggy and on the other side down to Schwyz the mist covered mountains looked just great !

Up the Susten we could test the Africas agility for the first time (see the nice curve pictures of ATiC 001). Following the road down on the other side there is a crossing half way down next to the huge tourist restaurant - turn left to get to the Steinegletscher (although it is a 5.-sFr toll road it is worth the ride.

As you reach the Berne Highlands you will meet many bikers and you follow them up to the Grimselpass, where we stopped for a short while to see the groundhogs and the nice vista. On nice summerdays this is one of the big biker spots in Switzerland as people from the north, the south and the west meet here.

Between Grimsel and Furka you get to the canton Valais. We had lunch down there at the restaurant in Gletsch just next to the junction Grimsel / Valais / Furka - where you have a nice view over the Rhoneglacier and the dozens of hairpin curves !!!

Furka isn't that special (except you take your time to see the glacier) and sometimes dangerous because there might be many cars on the narrow road down to Andermatt.

To avoid traffic and for some special fun try the old pass road up the St. Gotthard pass ! It's unique and very pictoresque ...
And you arrive in the southern part of Switzerland - if you speak Italian it's now time for a brush up ! Although we could have had a short and easy ride to Locarno from here it wasn't enough: From Airolo racing up to the west over the Nufenen pass (or as Micha said the 'Martin Franz Racing Track' - well Martin you'd like it !!!) where we rested some more time to get a nice view over snow covered mountains.

Down to the Valais again ! We were then about 15km from Gletsch where we had lunch in the early afternoon (but did some 100km in between) and headed to Brig. There is an old road up the Simplon - take it because the new one and the road down is another racetrack. The sun sets very early in these high mountains so it was getting dark as we reached the Italian border.

After a short while we reached the Domodossola area where we turned to the east to Locarno on the old road through the centovalli (the 'hundredvalleys'). This was another highlight ! As the little villages seem to be responsible for the road, the surface changes depending on the communities financial budget from gravel to asphalt - one lane, two lanes sometimes even three just enough to accellerate and then be surprised by the unpaved miles to follow immediately. As the valley gets narrower you enter a town and keep left (we kept right and had another 5km more) soon the road gets veeeeerrrrry twisted !

As the surface is quite good it is really fun to lay the Africa down to the footrests - but still: For the last 30km it took us about 45min because one turn follows the next one and there are almost no straights longer than 20m !!! Driving all this in the darkness needs a lot of concentration as on the right side the road sometimes is about 100m above ground ....

The next morning we started with a rich breakfast at the lake of Lugano, before we continued along the italian coastline of the Como lake then over the Maloja pass. Nice road up there if you come from the Italian side - from the peak it continues almost flat on a highplateau to St. Moritz where you turn right to the Bernina pass. Be sure to stop at the railway crossing to take a peek at the surrounding mountains !

After the pass height we turned left to get to Livigno (Italy) - a tax free shopping paradise. But you need the money you save to pay for the toll road through the tunnel on your way to Zernez .... but still it is worth the ride.

From Zernez to Davos you climb the mountains once more: Fluela pass road winds first in hairpins, then through the forest and finally in a moonbase like landscap.

I admit it was quite a ride for only two days - but what we were looking for was pure pass road fun and thats what we got. We even had some time to explore some places - if you have time I would plan three days and stay in the berne highlands another night on a campground near Meiringen. If you like it make it a week and stay some time in the Ticino and the Grischun as well ...

© by in Okt. 1999