Tourmalet is doubtless one of the most famous Tour de France cols.
Anyway, it is the most climbed pass in the Tour (82 times until to 2012),
thanks to the challenge it offers and its strategic position.
Is sometimes happens but I had a good day
when I made it, though it is not an easy ascent
with about 1400 meters to climb.
At present (2015) the Tourmalet-west is the hardest of this site's
collection of climbs in the Pyrenees.
In terms of steepness, the slope is quite constant with 7-9%
over most of the length of the tour.
The exception are the final two kilometers,
which are somewhat steeper with 9-10%.
It is difficult to rate the Tourmalet in terms of scenic beauty.
The first part up to Barège is disfigured
by the wide channel that has been built
to domesticate the river that streams through the valley.sind
The second part is more scenic
and the final few kilometers are even impressive
due to steep, dark and high mountain faces.
Unfortunately, one is at quite a few places reminded of the fact
that ski tourism is the most lucrative means
of earning money in this area.