CyclingUp: Le Grand Ballon-northeast







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Region: Vosges
Climbing effort: 763 points
Elevation meters: 985
Steepest kilometer: 8.5%

Foot: 400 m    Top: 1343 m
Mean slope: 4.2%
Length: 23.3 km

From: Lautenbach
Road conditions (2014): good
Other race bikers: 5-10 per hour
Motor vehicles: 10-30 per hour
Scenerie and road: (3/5)
Restaurant or bar near top: yes

PHOTOS      SW SIDE


       


This climb consists of two parts, namely the climb from the eastern side of the Vosges to Le Markstein and the continuation along the Route des Crêtes to Le Grand Ballon. The latter part is easy with the first 6 kilometers being almost horizontal and a jump of some 100 elevation meters during the final kilometer (slope up to 9%). So, almost all of the challenge (644 out of the 763 climb effort points) lies in the climb to Le Markstein. It begins at the church of Lautenbach and is, for the first 7 kilometers, relatively easy (slope less than 5%) while the roads runs through villages stretched along the valley and then through dense forests. Climbing becomes serious just before the road bends sharply to the right. The next 9 kilometers leading to Le Markstein are moderately steep (7-8%) with the surroundings consisting of dense forests. There is an interrruption to this climbing when the roads loses 36 elevation meters just before it reaches the Lac de la Lauch. Le Markstein is a collection of parking lots, restaurants and hotels but the wide views on the final stretch towards Le Grand Ballon more than compensate for this ugliness.



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