CyclingUp: Col du Galibier-north

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Region: French Alps
Climbing effort: 971 points
Elevation meters: 1241
Steepest kilometer: 10.4%

Steepest 250 m: 12%
Foot: 1401 m    Top: 2642 m
Mean slope: 6.9%
Length: 17.9 km

From: Valloire
Road conditions (2016): average
Other race bikers: >25 per hour
Motor vehicles: 60-180 per hour
Scenerie and road: (4/5)
Restaurant or bar near top: no



The Col du Galibier is one of the most famous passes in the French Alps. Due to its strategic position it was, until 2016, taken up 56 times in the course of the Tour de France. This makes this pass the clear leader in the Alps. Another reason for the fame of the Galibier is its elevation. With 2652 meters it ranks as the number six of the passes in the Alps. If the ascent from the north, from Valloire, is extended with the ascent of the Télégraphe towards Valloire (information is yet missing on this website), then this combination could be the hardest climb in the French Alps. The difficulty of the climb from Valloire is caused rather by the large number of elevation meters than by the slope. With a slope of 10.4%, the steepest kilometer is not too hard. On the first ten kilometers from Valloire to Plan Lachat the road heads fairly straight southward through a valley. The gradient fluctuates strongly but barely exceeds 8%. The last eight kilometers are harder, mostly 8-9%, without opportunity to recover on an easier section. Here the road runs through a fantastic background of high, rugged mountain faces. One kilometer before coming to the pass, one turns left before the tunnel. This is followed by a steep part (10-11%). From the pass there is a breathtaking view to the south on the summits of the Écrins massif, which is covered with snow and ice.

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