Col du Galibier - 2646 metres


One of the most impressive climbs in all of the French Alps. High peaks, glaciers and over two kilometres of vertical climbing from the northern side. This climb is the third of the four in the Marmotte sportif event in July.

This is one of my favourite climbs, hence the number of images on this page, and it is certainly worth visiting the Alps early in the summer to ride the Col when it has just been opened.

Open the diary pages See July 2003---July 2002---June 2002---July 2001---May 2001---July 2000

Northern Ascent

Start town : St-Michel-de-Maurienne
Starting Altitude : 712 metres
Distance : 35 kilometres, 11.5 kilometre ascent of Col du Telegraphe with four kilometre descent to Valloire then 18.5 kilometre climb of Col du Galibier
Vertical Climb : 2100 metres
Gradient :

Col du Telegraphe : 7.3% average - 9% maximum click to view
Col du Galibier : 6.9% average - 10% maximum

Comments : This information includes the climb of the Col du Telegraphe as the Telegraphe has to be climbed before the Galibier with climbing from St-Michel-de-Maurienne.
Click to view image The view as the gradient eases for a kilometre soon after Valloire.
Click to view image The mountain view when climbing above Valloire.
Click to view image The view when climbing a few kilometres above Valloire on the northern ascent.
Click to view image A couple of kilometres above the Plan Lachat, you can look back at the view of the hairpins and the road dropping down towards Valloire.
Click to view image The higher you climb, the better the view becomes with this image taken three kilometres after the Plan Lachat.
Click to view image Descending towards Valloire, just before the hairpins above Plan Lachat.
Click to view image The view down the Col after descending for three kilometres on the northern side.
Click to view image With three kilometres left to climb, the Col is at the top of the skyline.
Click to view image Looking north at the road below from the Col.
Click to view image
The view of the northern ascent winding its way up the mountainside.
Click to view image The view from the refuge looking back down the northern ascent.
Click to view image The view of the Col before it is open, taken in May 2001.
Click to view image The view of the Grand Galibier when descending the northern side of the Col du Galibier, with the snow banks line the road early in the summer.
Click to view image The view from the Col of the last few hundred metres of the northern side.

Southern Ascent

Start town : Col du Lautaret
Starting Altitude : 2058 metres
Distance : 8.5 kilometres
Vertical Climb : 585 metres
Gradient :

6.9% average - 12% maximum

click to view - Western ascent from Bourg d'Oisans

click to view - Southern Ascent from Briançon

Comments : The last kilometre is the steepest but the Col is in view and close.
Click to view image
Descending the last kilometre before arriving at the Col du Lautaret
Click to view image The Col du Galibier at dawn at the end of October 2002.
Click to view image The view of whats to come after climbing past the Col du Lautaret on the southern ascent.
Click to view image Mountain views when descending the southern side of the Galibier.
Click to view image When climbing the southern side of the Col, the view of the refuge to the left and the Col above.
Click to view image The breathtaking views of the Ecrins massif when descending towards the Col du Lautaret on the southern side of the climb. One of the many reasons why this climb is one of the most stunning roads in the Alps.
Click to view image Near the summit of the southern side, the memorial to Henry Desgranges, founder of the Tour de France.
Click to view image The view towards the refuge on the southern side of the Col du Galibier.
Click to view image The view from the Col of the southern side of the climb.

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