Cycling Col du Galibier St Michel-de-Maurienne

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Col du Galibier - St Michel-de-Maurienne

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Basic data & ranking

Average grade: 5.5 %

Length: 34.9 km

Altitude start: 718 m

Altitude top: 2642 m

Ascent: 1924 m

Maximum: 12 %

Col du Galibier rankings

Difficulty ranking world: 253 (all)
Ranking France: 35 (all)
Ranking Alps: 72(all)
Difficulty score: 168.38 what?

Col du Galibier ratings

(4.9)  Overall

(4.5)  Road

(3.9)  Traffic

(3.1)  Amenities

(4.8)  Surroundings

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The Col du Galibier is only accessible after the Col du Télégraphe or the Col du Lautaret have been contained and that makes the pass to one of the toughest Alpine cols in cycling history. From St Michel-de-Maurienne your first ride the Télégraphe.

Make no mistake. While the Télégraphe is easier than what comes, it's not apiece of cake. After the heavy first kilometers, the climb becomes less tough. Time to put save some energy for the Galibier. After a dozen kilometers, you reach the top of the Télégraphe and get rewarded with a fairly gentle descent on a wide road into Valloire.

In the ski resort of Valloire, the Galibier starts. After a wall of + 10% just outside the village, the climb remains rather flat along the riverside Valloirette. At the restaurant Plan Lachat, the real climb begins. You pass the 2000 meter mark and the climb gets steeper and steeper. The average does not drop below 8% and often do you see white and black snow. The last kilometers remains tough, with 9%, but you get rewarded with one of the most splendid views into the Alps.

The Col du Galibier is situated in Rhone-Alpes. This climb belongs to the Alps. Starting from St Michel-de-Maurienne, the Col du Galibier ascent is 34.9 km long. Over this distance, you climb 1924 heightmeters. The average percentage thus is 5.5 %. The maximum slope is 12 %.

Look for other sides to climb the Col du Galibier.

Since 2005, the Col du Galibier will be/was climbed in the following big tour stages:
Tour de France 2017 :  La Mure - Serre Chevalier on 19/07/2017
Giro d'Italia 2013 :  Cesana Torinese - Col Du Galibier on 19/05/2013
Tour de France 2011 :  Modane > Alpe-d’Huez on 22/07/2011
La Marmotte 2010 :  Marmotte 2010 on 03/07/2010
La Marmotte 2009 :  Marmotte 2009 on 04/07/2009

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Location info

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Stories, information and comments from Col du Galibier climbers
Story by Mike brosius from , United States, submitted on 30/07/2016
Beautiful climb probably the highlight of all the climbs we did on a Thomson bike tour. The scenery is spectacular at the top and all along the way you can look back at just how far you have gone. As mention d before telegraph is pretty easy comapr d to what is to come. It is a long climb so you need to be preparred for a tough day, but it is well worth it!
My personal climb rating:
Story by David Hillman from Wokingham, United Kingdom, submitted on 02/02/2016
I have noticed that many people have sad they "did" Galibier, well Galibier "did" me! I set off in July 2013 with my son and his best friend and really flew up the Telegraphe with no idea of what was to come!

Down into the valley and I was loving it. Hard? What are they on about! Then I hit the real climb and it all went Pete Tong from there on.

I cried like a baby, wobbled all over the road, remember little other than the front wheel, until I reached that little bit at the end where everyone is waiting, and suddenly I found I could sprint! The view and the achievement were phenomenal (I was nearly 60. I only mention this climb now as I train for Ventoux and some more alpine stuff this year after a two year lay off. Memories. Still hurts now when I recall Galibier.
My personal climb rating:
Story by Paul T from , United States, submitted on 08/01/2014
This is an epic climb, though as people note, the fun begins after Valloire. Did this in 2010 as part of a Thomson tour, and will do again in August 2014 with a group of fellow cyclists on our own. This is really a tough climb, due primarily to the length, but the pain is more than compensated by the spectacular views, the ice, the glacial rivers, and other sights on the way up. It is sort of nice not to have a big touristy thing at the top, but you can go over a bit and find this on the other side. Compared with some of the other rides in the area, Galibier has to be at the top, along with the Madeleine, and Glandon, which we will also do in August...We will also climb Galibier from the other side, via the Lauteret, which should be interesting and looked quite spectacular on the Tour a few years ago when they did it both ways....
My personal climb rating:
Story by Geoff Pyle from London, United Kingdom, submitted on 30/06/2014
Rode from St Michel as part of our version of the Marmotte circuit, having started in the morning from the car-park of the Col de Lautaret and passed through Le Bourg-d''Oisans and over Col de la Croix de Fer (note to self: next time take the fork at the top over Col du Glandon as the northern decent is better).

We climbed the Galibier on the first day the pass was open in 2014, 29 May, starting late in the day from St Michele and summiting about 8pm in dusk. Plenty of snow at the top with high drifts either side of the road and the tarmac wet with snow-melt - the tunnel was closed - the temperature just above freezing.

The Col du Télégraphe was mainly a ''head'' job, with the road winding through trees with little view and little sense of making progress; the summit is underwhelming, though there is a water-tap. The descent to Valloire was nice but felt like losing hard-won altitude. Then soon after leaving the edge of the town to begin the Galibier, the drama of the climb began to unfold. Fantastic peaks, scree slopes, meadows and streams - another world - making the grind of the Télégraphe completely justified (echoes of Mt Ventoux from Bédoin). The summit with no-one there, and a bone-chilling decent - stunning!!

My personal climb rating:
Story by Steve Barker from Ottawa, Canada, submitted on 18/06/2014
Climbed the Telegraphe and Galibier on June 16 2014. Spectacular ..... Everything I expected and more. "Warmed up" on Ventoux last week and glad I did as this was quite a climb! Two very different climbs .... Telegraphe with lots of switchbacks in the forest, Galibier winds it''s way up and no trees to be seen and still lots of snow. My wife joined me in " the support car" and for her it was equally exciting given the awesome views. Sunny day and light winds until the top where it was around 10 degrees C and cold with a strong wind. I was surprised at the number of cyclists doing it ... But even more so the number of motorbikes going up. Another bucket list climb completed ... And I highly recommend it.
My personal climb rating:
Story by peter wolthers from Horsens, Denmark, submitted on 11/04/2014
I have done Telegraphe + Galibier from St Michel de Maurianne once in 2008. and in 2011 + 2013 as part of La Marmotte.

For me this is "THE CLIMB". Long, Hard and fantastic surroundings. Starting at Telegraphe in the forest to bushes when parsing Valloire, to grass, to pure rocks at the top. and also very nice views.
My personal climb rating:
Story by Nick from , Australia, submitted on 12/10/2013
Did Telegraphe and Galibier from St Michel de Maurianne in June this year (2013) as part of a trip that also included Alpe d''Huez and Ventoux. Am 66yo and 59kg and have ridden approx 10,000k per annum for the last ten years. Telegraphe and Galibier are certainly arduous in terms of length but Galibier gets a little more difficult after 2000m altitude when you wonder if the bends will ever stop. No apparent effect of altitude on breathing though. I was very lucky with blue skies, dry roads, summer kit with arm warmers and wife in the hire car with extra kit if needed (remember the Giro a month earlier?)although there was 3m of snow on each side of the road at the top of Galibier. The ferme (closed) signs were out at the base of the climb, so it was very quiet and peaceful with only one or two cars - divine!! I had been told that although closed you could ride to the closed tunnel doors at the top which is effectively the top anyway. Took my own bike (Look 595)and did the 35k in 2hr 45m with no stops on a 39x25/27 most of the time and occasionally 39x23. Epic ride, stunning scenery and strongly recommended as long as the weather isn''t like it was in the Giro!
My personal climb rating:
Story by terry thomas from long valley, NJ, United States, submitted on 14/07/2012
St Michel-de-Maurienne over Telegraphe to Galibier on Jully 1 with friends Brad Honnold and Mike Coyne, comfortable ride over Col du Telegraphe on fresh graveled road, down into Valloire and then straight up to Col du Galibier with brutal head winds and rain for last 5km. Have also climbed Galibier from Bourg d''Oisans via Col du Lautaret and enjoyed both climbs.
My personal climb rating:
Story by Dale from Portland, United States, submitted on 26/08/2011
I completed this climb as part of a tour. What a treat. Completing Telegraphe, while difficult, was actually a fun climb, legs felt great at the summit. Then, the work begins. 18 kilometers of unrelenting climbs. I never thought I''d love to see 7% on my Garmin. What makes this such a great climb are the amount of people doing it. While the summit is windy and barren, it''s an atmosphere like no other, very festive with people celebrating making it to the top. I loved it!!!!!! The descent wasn''t much fun, probably my fear of heights and too-fast descents are to blame. A five for difficulty and a five for fun. I''d do it again in a heartbeat.
My personal climb rating:
Story by Enda Marron from Belfast, Ireland, submitted on 17/12/2009
A classic must-do climb. I rode it 3 times from Valloire and once from Biacon during the past Summer as part of my cycling holiday of a lifetime. It starts as a tough drag which batters you then the ramps kick in; the first one is very frightening the second is subtle and plays with your head the last one (over the tunnel) is the real killer
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