Cycling Col du Galibier Valloire

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Col du Galibier - Valloire

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Basic data & ranking

Average grade: 6.9 %

Length: 18.1 km

Height start: 1401 m

Height top: 2646 m

Elevation gain: 1245 m

Maximum: %

Col du Galibier rankings

Difficulty ranking world: 511 (all)
Ranking France: 160 (all)
Ranking Alps: 188 (all)
Difficulty score: 133.99 what?

Col du Galibier ratings

(4.4) Overall

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Description

The Galibier is only accessible from this side if the Col du Telegraphe has been contained and that makes the pass to one of the toughest Alpine cols in cycling history (watch the double profile). The 2645 connects the Brianconnais with Maurienne. From here you have a beautiful view on the Meije and the Massif du Pelvoux. The road is normally open from June 15 to October 15 (till Bonnenuit and Lautaret the whole year) and has some dark tunnels. The north side from Valloire has a maximum 12% increase.

The Galibier is one of the supercols in France and the Tour, in which the Galibier is climbed almost annually. And rightly so. The Galibier is both in terms of height, slope and setting a topper. The Galibier starts basically in Valloire, but first you have to climb the Col de Telegraphe from the east side via St Michel-de-Maurienne.

If you do not take the short descent from the Télégraphe to Valloire into account, you climb over a distance of 30 kilometers an altitude of 2089 meters. According to the climbbybike index, this would amount to a score of about 205, which makes the Galibier one of the toughest climbs in France.

Where the Col de Télégraphe mostly climbed in the forest, the landscape opens up once you drive up to the south from Valloire on the D902. Initially, the slopes are quite doable and you can enjoy the beautiful surroundings. At Plan Lachat however, it really gets serious. You are now at 2000 meters altitude and breathing becomes more difficult.

The col is now showing its true face and never goes below 8%. It is fighting against the wind and against the savage but beautiful surroundings. One kilometer from the top, you can take the tunnel to the other side, but the righteous climber takes left to reach the true ridge and enjoy the magnificent views you really deserve. If the top is open that is. Beautiful col and like the Mont Ventoux is a must-do for anyone who loves to climb.

The Col du Galibier is situated in Rhone-Alpes and belongs to the Alps . Starting from Valloire, the Col du Galibier ascent is 18.1 km long. Over this distance, you climb 1245 heightmeters. The average percentage thus is 6.9 %.

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 2007 :  Val-d'Isère > Briançon on 17/07/2007

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Profile & route

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Location info

Find all information on climbs and cycling in Rhone-Alpes and find all climbs in Rhone-Alpes on a map.

Other climbs close to the Col du Galibier: within 10 km - within 20 km - within 50 km

 
Stories, information and comments from Col du Galibier climbers
Story by Charles from , United Kingdom, submitted on 09/08/2012
Climed the Galibier on the 13 July 2012. After 1st climbing the col du Telegraphe it was onto the "monster". Veiws are breathtaking, as is the climb!! Descent is worth going up for. Stop at the base on way down & have a beer at the little shack on the right. Take my word for it , it will be the best beer in your life! This is by far the best of all the T D F Climbes . Does anyone know where i can buy a Galibier cycletop as i did`nt get one while i was there ? .Enjoy !!!
My personal climb rating:
Story by cessarro from Wroclaw, Poland, submitted on 16/09/2011
I did Telegraphe and Galibier this summer on rather cold, cloudy day as a last ascent of 9-days cycling vacation in French Alps. I must admit that after L''Izoard, Agnel, L''Alpe d''Huez on previous days, this ride gave me a lot of plesure, since I was able to concentrate on the overwhelming nature rather then the pedalling itself. That day the road was quite empty with scarce cars and only few fellow-bike-climbers. I would say perfect conditions, couse given the popularity of the place, you''re likely to be deprived of a real feel by good weather there. After week spent on cycling in Alps that "col" still managed to make a big impresion on me. The top was freezing cold, and I was barely seeing my bike, but I was happy to be there and to join the real world of cycling. It took me 2:45'' of hard, but steady, meticulous work to get there from the bottom in St.Michele, and some 1:10'' to get back home, but the descent was mostly cursing all imaginable gods for the icy air that was entering every single bone of mine. After 5 min. I could not say wether I was breaking or not - quite scary - hehe. Great trip, but back on Telegraphe I appreciated one thing - warm was to come quickly, and without any effort.
My personal climb rating:
Story by Dan Neill from Edinburgh, United Kingdom, submitted on 15/09/2011
I think this is the favourite climb I have ever done. I started just west of St Michel de Maurienne, before climbing the Telegraphe, which is a great shaded climb at a steady 7% or so. A quick photo and gobfull of food at the top and then straight through Valloire onto the lower slopes of the beast itself. I felt good up until the last 4 or 5km, when the gradients just keep getting steeper. The last 2km are brutal, but the sense of magnitude once you reach the summit is beyond any other climb I have done. It really is a monster of a climb. After some lunch at the summit it was down the Lautaret and through the valley to the base of Alpe d''Huez. This is where the real pain began. This is not as hard as many of the other alpine and pyrenean climbs, but after the Telegraph and Galibier - it is brutal. I didnt enjoy any of it, having run out of water and cooking in the baking heat. A banner in the village of alpe d''huez marks your arrivee. Alas, this is not the finish of the climb they do in the tour. This is another km through the back end of the village and is marked by what can only be described as a telgraph pole in a housing estate - not some iconic landmark like I was expecting to mark such an epic ride!
My personal climb rating:
Story by richard guymer from KINGSTON UPON HULL, United Kingdom, submitted on 03/09/2011
I did the Galibier this August 2011 as the third stage of the Alpes open tour,We started North of Modane and did the Telegraph,Galibier and Alpe D''Huez about 90 miles. No short 19th stage of the Tour for us!The day was epic from start to finish. The views are spectacular and make the pain worth it.The finish on the Alpe was great, Any one that wants to see and ride the Alpes should do the Alpes Open Tour.Other mythical climbs on the tour included the Izeran,Glandon,Croix De Fer but for me the best was the Galibier including the Telegraph!
My personal climb rating:
Story by Paul Burns from Bristol, United Kingdom, submitted on 20/08/2011
I cycled Croix de Fer then Telegraph, lunch in Valloie then Gallibier. You have to ride this personally to appreciate how big a climb it is. There is only one word to describe this climb and it is"Monster". I vowed never to go up the Gallibier again after I first climbed it from Bourg D Osains in 2006.

I feel the same after doing it again three days ago 16 August 2011. If you enjoy pain this is an ideal afternoon out.

It''s highly likely you won''t give a dam about the fab scenery due to the sheer pain of climbing this monster.

But I guess as bike riders this is what we do, it''s tough guys and gals, enjoy.

My personal climb rating:
Story by Mark from , France, submitted on 18/06/2011
Rode the Telegraphe and then the Galibier last Tuesday with the good men of Les Veloistes Gentils. We''d come up from near Megeve so had covered about 110km when we reached the top of the Telegraphe, so the legendary climb up the Galibier was pretty daunting! It certainly lived up to its reputation. It felt a tough climb most of the way up, even though we did it in great weather. It''s a must do though - the view from the top is magical, and the run all the way down to Briancon is a worthy reward for your efforts. One word of warning though - beware the marmottes! One of our guys hit one on the descent and ended up in the ditch with a broken clavicle. Apparently the marmottes take an average of one rider a week off their bikes.
My personal climb rating:
Story by deplacie Bernard from ypres, Belgium, submitted on 30/07/2010
Spectacular vue. Only the last km was hard (dont force the climb) because of the cold wind. The descend was cold too. I stopped in the first little resto (four tables) to have some coffee and a warm vue on the waitress. I have to go back. Note : your arent the only on the top. Three riders pasted me : younger and living in Suisse & Jura. I am from the plat pays.
My personal climb rating:
Story by Alex Bunea from Lerum, Sweden, submitted on 29/06/2010
Most beautiful climb I have done yet. Gives you that epic alp feeling. I am not a light rider and I liked the fact that it wasnt that steep so that I could climg along side the lighter ones :)
My personal climb rating:
Story by John Josephs from Jacksonville, United States, submitted on 09/07/2009
After a week of climbing in the Alps, I saved the Galibier for last. I did the Telegraph the same day and by the time I reached the summit of the Telegraph, I was toast. The start of the Col du Galibier seemed long. Thank God the scenery was taking my mind off the pain. It takes a long time to finally see the top. The approach was very challenging as the pitch seemed to keep increasing. The summit was one of the most spectacular Ive witnessed. Totally worth every pedal stroke. The descent was incredable as well.
My personal climb rating:
Story by Mark L from St Helens, United Kingdom, submitted on 13/07/2009
Rode the last week in June as part of circuit of Croix de Fer Mollard Telegraph Galibier - the giant came at 70 miles! The road maps are deceptive - its not necessarily the hairpins that are the killer, but the 15km leding up to them. So it is with Galibier. By the time you reach Plan Lachat youve already done a lot of climbing, but then the road just soars up, clinging to the mountain side. A good idea would be to stop for a coffee at Plan Lachat - but then you wouldntt have ridden the col in one! Personally, I like hairpins - I find those brief respites help to just stave off complete exhaustion. After the sixth or seventh virage a passed a youth who had stopped to take in an energy gell -he was obviously very close to the fringale. I was glad to pass just one person on the climb. But then again it isnt a race - or is it? After he had taken his gell, the young man tracked me up to the tunnell entrance, and then surged past me up the final steepening. By now the cool wind had refreshed me and renewed my vigour, but I couldnt stoop so low as to sprint past the youth just metres below the summit - that would have been so undignified! And the top - magnificent bleakness.
My personal climb rating:
Story by Ram Mudambi from Philadelphia, PA, United States, submitted on 09/01/2008
We climbed the Galibier from Briancon on the day of the 2008 Tour de France went up it. It was a gorgeous day, sunny and not too hot, could not have asked for better. Wonderful views. We climbed the Col de Lauteret from Briancon. This is not much of a climb, more of a long false flat, rarely exceeding 5 percent. From the Lauteret to the top of the Galibier was only slightly more difficult. Except for the annoying French gendarmes who kept getting us to walk our bikes every few kms, it was smooth and rather easy. Never gets very steep, even the hairpins at the top can be ridden in the saddle. Just needed to stand a few times for a change of position. I used 39 X 23 gearing and it was very comfortable. The view from the top is out of this world. I should add that we climbed it at touring pace, chatting all the way. It would a hard climb if you hammered it.
My personal climb rating:
Story by schollaert etienne from Bruxelles, Belgique, submitted on 24/07/2008
I thought the Galibier, starting from Briançon, was - especially for an untrained cyclist with a 22 kilo burden (bicycle + food, ..) - not that easy. The last kilometer was torture. But I admit that it is even harder when starting with the Télégraphe and then climbing the steep side from Valloire.
My personal climb rating:
Story by Barry from , Belgium, submitted on 07/07/2008
To me, ""humbled"" is also the first word that comes up to me when I think about my climb towards the top of Galibier. It was on the day the Tour de France had to go up there, July 2007. Having riden the Télégraphe too fast, I felt my legs hurting when I was riding on the easy part just after the climb out of Valloire. But after Plan Lachat, the hurting quickly turned into torturing. I tried to go as slow as possible so as not to kill myself, but with a 42x26 as smallest gear, you cant go too slow either. I had to stop my effort at about 2 km from the summit. I thought Id faint. This col had beaten me. This motivated me to loose a lot of weight over the last twelve months and Im giving it another try in a few weeks.
My personal climb rating:
Story by Stuart Astbury from , United Kingdom, submitted on 25/06/2008
Climbed the Galibier for a 2nd time this June from the north and it was magnificently cruel giving me my most memorable experience on a bike. The Col du Telegraphe is a beautiful warm-up for the torture waiting up ahead; the slight descent down to Valloire seems terribly wasteful although this gives you one of the few occasions to enjoy the view at leisure. Its then a steady leg-sapping drag out of Valloire up the valley until you reach Plan Lachat where the road turns up & the pass starts showing its teeth. 7 km to the top still and the gradient is >8% all the way; youre also over 2000m and it feels physically impossible to push hard (heart-rate ~150bpm no more), all we could do was keep the bikes inching forward. At the tunnel with the last ½ dozen hairpins to do the gradient kicks again to >10% and by then we were just gibbering idiots. It was late in the day by the time we were approaching the top but the few motorists passing us all cheered us on which was great. The skies were clear and the views from the top were majestic, it was a wonderful feeling. The descent on relatively clear roads was also fantastic. We were utterly humbled and grovelled at the foot of this pass but I would do it again tomorrow. Vive le Galibier!
My personal climb rating:
Story by Ian McVety from , England, submitted on 16/06/2007
The Galibier form Valloire is incredible. Tackled in July in searing heat it plays on you mentally as you leave the comfort of civilisation and rise up in to the mountains looking for a gap on the horizon. The road turns to face many aspects of the surroung mountains. It was only when a car windscreen glistened way above in the distance that I realized just how much furter I still had to travel. The Croix de Fer and the Telegraph were now a long way back and I still had to tackle the last portion of steep rutted roads in to what felt like a rarified atmosphere. A great day out!
Story by Paul Blint from eugene, oregon, usa, submitted on 01/07/2007
What makes this climb hard is the col du telegraphe first which is about 12km. The first part of the Galibier is not that hard but it keeps getting steeper as you gain altitude. I saw 14% on my computer in the last kilometer at the top. the last 5km is 9-10% at above 2000 meters - ouch. you can see the top from a long way off too and that can get to you mentally. you think "there is no way I have to go up there!!!!" hopefully you have alot of gas in the tank for the last 1/2 hour of the climb. we did it in september which was good as we were in good shape and the weather was perfect - not cold, not hot. have fun!!!!!!

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