My best cycling climbs UPDATED for 2017

In my mind there is nothing more rewarding than climbing a steep hill on my bike, than challenging myself to climb something that a car would struggle to get up or completing a ride that people have said cannot be done.

This will be a constantly updated list so here are my current favourites, not in any particular orde…

1. Madonna del Ghisallo, 754m (iconic)


Average grade: 5.2 %

Length: 10.6 km

Altitude start: 202 m

Altitude top: 754 m

Ascent: 552 m

2. Col de La Croix, 1778m (my favourite toboggan track!)


Starting elevation: 435 m

Final elevation: 1,778 m

Length of ascent: 22.6 km

Elevation gain: 1,345 m

Average gradient: 6 %

3. Col de Joux Plane, 1691m (a struggle)

4. Klausenpass, 1948m (my favourite!)


Average grade: 6.1 %

Length: 24.6 km

Altitude start: 451 m

Altitude top: 1948 m

Ascent: 1497 m

Maximum: 10 %

5. Col de la Forclaz, 1527m (a TDF favourite)


Average grade: 6.6 %

Length: 16 km

Altitude start: 476 m

Altitude top: 1526 m

Ascent: 1050 m

6. Col de la Gueulaz, 1966m (hardcore)


Difficulty: medium

Length 11 km

Duration 1:30 h

Ascent 918 m

Descent 18 m

7. Col des Mosses, 1445m (the subtle one)


Average grade: 5.5 %

Length: 18.8 km

Altitude start: 417 m

Altitude top: 1445 m

Ascent: 1028 m

Maximum: 10 %

8. Glaubenbielenpass, 1611m (for cheese, meat and beer!)


Altitude top 1543m
Ascent 30,0km

Maximum 11%

9. Col de la Colombiere, 1618m (the best for stickers)


Average grade: 5.9 %

Length: 11.7 km

Altitude start: 923 m

Altitude top: 1613 m

Ascent: 690 m

Maximum: 12 %

10. Col du Mittelberg (the silent assassin)


The average gradient for this climb is very misleading with respect to what awaits you towards the end. The first 2.5km boasts an easy average at about 1.1%, this is because of the short downhill section. The following 3.8km increases to 5.8%. However the last 3km are a leg busting 10.6% with sections exceeding 12%.

11. Col du Sanetsch (the bit of everything)


This Col regularly features on elite cyclists ‘must-do’ lists and for a very good reason. The climb out of Sion is gradual and when you reach the mountain road there are hardly any cars as the road ends at the garage after the Col with the only way down being a cable car to Gsteig for cyclists or foot passengers. The climb is long, and steep in parts, although it is relatively easy to maintain a cadence for the most part. Once out of the mountains the landscape opens up and the temperature can change quite brutally. On the day we rode the clouds were low and the threat of rain and snow was in the air yet a week later our fellow punks rode in sunlight with a bright blue sky and never had need of jackets or tights unlike us.

12. Col du Grand St Bernard, 2473m (the never-ender)

13. Col du Petit St Bernard, 2188m (the teasy little brother)

14. Col du Galibier, 2642m (brutal)

Location Alps

Category: HC

Length: 18km

Average Gradient: 7%

Height at start: 1400m

Height at finish: 2645m

Total Elevation Gained: 1245m

15. Alpe d’Huez (WOW!)

Bends: 21

Departure: 2,351 feet.

Arrival: 6,100 feet.

Difference in height: 3,749 feet.

Length: 8,89 miles, from Bourg d’Oisans

Average steep: 7,9 %

Highest steep: 14 %

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