The Rionda is situated in Valais
and belongs to the
Starting from Lavey les Bains,
the Rionda ascent is 15.3 km long. Over this distance, you climb 1715 heightmeters.
The average percentage thus is 11.2 %.
Stories, information and comments from Rionda climbers
Story by Philippe from Cardiff, UK, submitted on 24/10/2007
A really difficult climb if you do it all the way to the top! I did "La Riondaz", as its signposted on the climb, in August this year (2007) It took me about 2 hours 45 minutes to get to the ruin from the carpark next to the baths at Lavey. The trick to doing this climb is to keep a really "low" cadence and make sure that your heartrate stays well below your normal time trial level. I was using a compact chainset on a road bike and did the climb in 34x27. By keeping a cadence of between 30 and 45 a minute and "trying" to keep my heartrate below 150 I managed to stop myself from going into the red for most of the climb.
From Lavey to Morcles is just a question of keeping below your maximum. Its not too bad as long as you dont try and go fast. Morcles is about half way up the climb and theres a nice flat section about a couple of miles beyond Morcles. The road then heads up again and you should look out for those little signs that say "La Riondaz" as there are a few junctions that could take you in the wrong direction. The really tough climbing starts at Les Martinaux where the road suddenly turns into a hard packed gravel dirt road next to a farm. Unfortunately the gradient doesnt let up and keeping traction is really difficult in places. I fell off the bike 5 times because of loose stones or drainage gutters on the road. Dont do this climb if you arent prepared to fall off the bike at least a couple of times! Re-mounting is just and a circus act! Finally after the 50th (yes the 50TH!) hairpin I reached the final stretch to the ruin. At this point the gradient goes over 14% and with the low traction I kept falling over repeatedly. In the end I had to walk 800m of this final section feeling gutted but, with streaming down my left leg, feeling at least vindicated that I had pushed myself to the limit. Later I discovered that on that last section my heart rate had stayed over 170bpm for a few minutes which is well inside my red zone. I cycled the last flat section to the top and rested for a bit before the winding descent.
Strong advice! If like me you insist on doing this on a road bike then a) either use a triple of a compact with no higher than 34x27 at the back and b) get some Paris Roubaix like wheels, I used 36 spoke Mavic Open Pro with Continental Gatorskin 700x25c - almost bullet proof in other words :-) Oh and no I didnt get a puncture!
The map to buy is Swisstopo 272 "St Maurice" 1:50000 or the relevant 1:25000
Story by Fiona from , Switzerland, submitted on 08/11/2006
This ride is beautiful. Its like a minnie Alp DHuez as it has numbers on the switch backs, thanks to military presence further on up the hill. Dont be put off by the number 29 at the bottom, as the switch backs are very close together! It doesnt get too steep for a road bike untill you get into the village of Morcle. What should be noted, is that near the top, at the Martinet ski lift, it turns into dirt, so is really a ride more suited to VTT riders, but well worth doing even up to that point.
Spectacular views from this ride.