Via le Moto dal Sella is a great route on Piz Ciavazes in the Dolomites, first ascended in 2001 by Edy Boldrin and A. Egger. The name means "motorbikes steer clear of the Sella."
The message is clear, for who has climbed this magnificent rock face and not cursed the roar of engines as bikers accelerate up the long straight- away below? In was recently proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site, few enjoy the rumble of motorbikes and cars while climbing and hiking.
What is certainly true is this: the traffic problem on Dolomite mountain passes is nothing new and extremely complex because it affects both humans and Mother Nature in various regions with differing economic interests. There is an increasing movement to limit the flow of traffic that in 2009 set a new record: in a single summer day, more than 5,000 vehicles drove up the narrow winding road to reach Sella Pass!
The possible solution to gridlock in the Dolomites is analyzed in an interesting article in the Italian mainstream newspaper, La Repubblica. Author Andrea Selva cites the governor of the region of Trentino, Lorenzo Dellai, the SAT, CAI (Italian Mountaineering Club), Bolzano Mountaineering Club and Reinhold Messner as promoters of this initiative.
Proposals range from toll roads to the closure of some passes during peak times (in particular Pordoi, Sella, Gardena and Campolongo). Messner himself suggests, "Let’s leave space to the cyclists and hikers, at least during central daylight hours, from 9am to 3pm, so they can fully enjoy these natural beauties."
In our opinion, something must be done. We're against tolls, as we wouldn't like to replicate the situation on many Italian beaches, where those who can't afford to pay don't have access to popular areas. We feel a time limit like that suggested by Messner to be a sensible first step.
Above all, we believe in an intelligent increase in public transport. This isn't a mission impossible; more than 15 years ago, we pre-booked a minibus to access certain valleys in Austria. Each summer in England, the town council of Stanage, one of the country's most popular crags, sponsors a bus specifically to accommodate climbers.
We'll be hearing more about this for a long time. And perhaps one day, from the belays high on the Sella, we'll see more climbers than bikers.