|Bocchetta di Galbiga/Calbiga/Rifugio Venini|
|Height||Climbing height - length|
|1573m||1465m - 22.6 km (Argegno via Blessagno)
1361m - 19.8 km (Osteno via Ponna)
904m - 16.5 km (Laino)
|4 (5)||4-5 (5)|
|How to get there||
This is a long, hard and rewarding climb from either Argegno (210m) by Lago di Como or from Osteno (280m) by Lago di Lugano. If you come from Maroggio or Melano in Swtzerland you will climb over an unnamed pass after the border near Lanzo d’Intelvi and then it makes most sense to start the climb in Laino (676m) a little on the way down to Osteno – this climb is easier as you miss the hard part through Ponna.
The climb from Argegno is very normal on a big road up toward San Fedele Intelvi (739m) until we take a short-cut, bypassing the regular road via Lura from San Fedele. This short-cut is steep on a very narrow road (it could be dangerous to descend on this road). From Blessagno the road is rather flat and nice until Pigra. In Pigra the fun really starts. Here is a very narrow road climbing nicely and steeply up the mountain to Bocchetta di Colonno (1324m) (16.7 km from Argegno), while you have great views over Lago Como.
Then there is a 102m descent to Sella del Boffalora/Bocchetta di Boffalora (1222m), where you meet the road coming up from Ponna. From here it is again very steep, but slowly becomes easier, to Bocchetta di Lenno/Alpe di Lenno (1492m). From there it is an easy and great road with terrific views until 300m before the Rifugio Venini where the road turns to gravel (easy on the flat last stretch). The pass is behind the rifugio where there is only a path down to a gravel road (the one that comes from Alpe di Lenno) that is likely of use for mountain bikers.
The Osteno-Ponna climb starts on the same big road as from Argegno toward the unnamed pass at San Fedele Intelvi. Here we turn off to Ponna on a road that starts with an abrupt and very steep descent to cross the river and then it climbs moderately at first, but soon itt becomes quite steep up through Ponna Inferiore, Ponna Medio and finally Ponna itself (the very last part is the steepest with up to 20%). Then you turn right and it is rather flat on the way to the turn-off up to Alpe di Ponna and Rifugio Boffalora. This road becomes a bit steep again later, but eventually it becomes flat and then it is still gravel (as far as I know) to Sella del Boffalora, but it is a good gravel road (supposing the weather is fine), the the same road to the top. The climb from Laino meets up before/after Ponna for this last part.
|Other comments||If you are in the area this is one of the climbs not to be missed! There is a restaurants at the Alpe di Colonno, Rifugio Boffalora and also at Rifugio Venini. I miss not having done the Ponna climb yet, but the climb from Argegno should be the first choice even if it might be slightly easier as the views are better here. I think you can find water in Blessagno or Pigra.