Tour of the Alps 2013 – Day 1 – I – Timmelsjoch / Passo Rombo
We did this trip in September 2013. We are Einar on a BMW R 1200 RT and me on the Yamaha FZS 600 Fazer. The goal was the Alps and some of the highest passes Austria, Italy, Switzerland and France have to offer. The first pass is Timmelsjoch on the boarder between Austria and Italy.
The first stage was from Oslo via Larvik, the ferry to Hirtshals in Denmark and highways through Denmark and Germany to Knüllhotel Tann-Eck in Schellback in Knüllwald where we arrived 10:30 p.m. after 1007 km.
The second day of our trip started with bright sunshine and we stayed on the highway A7 south. We had noticed some traffic the night before, but this was a Saturday and the traffic was dense throughout Germany and in Austria the traffic was very slow at times. We headed for the Posthotel in Sautens in Ötztal and with only 542 km on the trip meter we arrived before nightfall.
On Sunday morning Ötztal was covered by scattered fog, but as we rode up the valley the sun peeked through the fog we were heading for our first pass: the Timmesjoch, or Passo Rombo as it is called in Italian. Wet asphalt is never optimal, certainly not on an unknown road. We were very cautious took in the hairpins. The road standard is first class and we are soon up at the tollbooth and the fog. The fog follows us until road start climbing up the mountain side. The fog comes and goes and the sun shining through here and there, makes for a wonderful play of light on the way to the top.
The road over the Timmelsjoch is 2509 m.a.s.l at the top and the fog is dense. We take just a quick stop at the top, as it was last time I was there is no visibility this time either. The border between Austria and Italy are at the top. The quality of the road is good on the Italian side as well, but the road is much narrower and also more challenging. Here, the mountains are awfully steep and the hairpins are significantly narrower than the north side of the pass. Before the descent the road follow the mountainside south through three tunnels until it starts to go downhill. When you think you are nearly at bottom of the valley, the hairpins become tighter and sharper . In the valley towards San Leonard the road becomes even narrower. At some places two cars can have problems meeting and passing. Take care.
We continue to San Leonardo and take SS44 to Merano where we ride westwards with Stelvio/Stilfers Joch as the next pass.
Countries: Austria and Italy. Hight: 2509 m.a.s.l.
The Austrians started planning a tourist road to Timmelsjoch in 1897. The construction started in 1955 and the road was opened in July 1959.
There was no road on the Italian side of the border yet. Mussolini had already in the 30s started construction on a road for military purposes to Timmelsjoch, but the work was stopped after an agreement with Hitler and the construction was stopped 2 km from the top. All the tunnels were finished. In the mid-60s, the construction of the road resumed. In 1967 road to the top was opened, and a new connection between North and South Tyrol was a fact.
Tolls: In 2015 a one way ticket was 12 Euro, a two way ticket was 14.
To get there:
From Highway A12 turn off at junction 123 Ötztal (47 km west of Innsbruck) and ride road 186 south.
From the south you reach Timmelsjoch by taking road SS40 from Merano or Vippiteno / Sterzing and ride to San Leonardo and then take SS44bis north.