Our loosely planned route to Tuscany took us through Southern Austria, to cross the Alps into Northern Italy via the Timmelsjoch Pass. This provided the opportunity that I’ve wanted to complete for some time, to ride the Ötztal Glacier Road. A single leg of tarmac leading high into the Tyrollean Alps, the highest paved road in the Alps, second highest in Europe. There is a small toll charge, but it’s worth it for the views, the ride and experience.
Reaching the head of the Sölden Valley, just before the start of the Timmelsjoch, there is a branch off to the right. The accent rate steepens immediately and we rapidly gain altitude  above the village of Sölden, arriving quickly at the toll booth, on then to the spectacular Ötztal Glacier Road. Despite the continuing rate of climb, the unguarded curves, our R1250RT, still fully loaded as we hadn't checked into a hotel for the evening, provided surefooted and swift progress, in no time at all we were above the tree line and into a harsh, barren but peaceful beautiful alpine world. The road becomes a little more technical near to the top with a few tight hairpins and little in the way of edge protection to focus ones mind not on the spectacular views, but on the task at hand, riding the road. The 13km road brought us to the ski station, which in the summer time is almost totally devoid of any other souls, just maintenance teams preparing the snow machines to make the slopes available soon, and the occasional MTBer enjoying the outrageous routes this area provides.
Two glaciers provide the headline, the Rettenbach immediately presenting itself behind the Sölden Ski Station, and a second, the Tiefenbach Glacier, but to see this we had to pass through the mountain via the Ross-Mittermaier tunnel, where at the exit we were at the highest point of the glacier road (2830 m), and at the highest point on any paved road in the Alps and allowing us unspoilt views. 
Back near to the Sölden Ski Station there is a little chapel reached by a simple gravel road, where not only does the little chapel remember everyone lost on the Ötztal Mountains but also enjoys a spectacular view back down the alpine valley back towards Sölden.
The R1250RT fully loaded, with its wide spread of torque, agility and handling provided a lot of fun on the climb and decent, feeling safe and secure at all times. The bike is really impressive, a very capable grand tourer.  
We arrived back in Sölden in good time to find a hotel for the evening, which was very comfortable and had a useful underground garage for the bike, not that security was going to be an issue here! 
Kit used, Canon EOS M6 + EF-M 22mm & EF85mm (with adapter) Lens; DJI Mini 3 Pro drone, and an old iPhone.
Trivia – A section of the Glacier Road was also used for a fast chase scene in the James Bond “Spectre” film, and there’s a cinematic exhibition called “007 Elements”in Sölden village covering this and other 007 film locations in the area.
Back to Top