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Col du Galibier - Valloire     open your myclimbbybike to add this climb

18.1 km  2646 m  (1245 m)  6.9 %


The Galibier can only be reached from Valloire when you have already conquered the Col du Télégraphe, which makes the pass one of the toughest Alpine cols.

The 2645 high pass connects the Maurienne with the Briançonnais. From here you have a beautiful view of La Meije. and the Massif du Pelvoux. The road is normally open from 15 June to 15 October. (until Bonnenuit and Lautaret all year round) and has some unlit tunnels. This north side from Valloire has an increase up to 12%.

The Galibier is one of the supercols in France and from the Tour, in which the Galibier is climbed almost every year. And not unjustifiably so. The Galibier is a top climber in terms of height, percentage of ascent and environment. In principle, the Galibier starts in Valloire, although from the east side from St Michel-de-Maurienne you serve first climb the Col de Télégraphe.

If you don't include the short descent from the Télégraphe to Valloire, you'll cross a distance of a good 30 kilometres 2089 altimeters. According to the climbbybike index this would mean a score of about 205, which would make the Galibier one of the toughest cols in France.

Where the Col de Télégraphe is mainly climbed in the forest, the landscape opens up once you drive south from Valloire on the D902. Initially, the gradients are doable and you can enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Once Plan Lachat is reached, however, it becomes really serious. You are now at an altitude of 2000 meters and breathing is a bit more difficult. The col now shows its true face and doesn't go below 8% anymore. It is fighting against the wind and against the wild but beautiful surroundings. A kilometre before the summit you can reach the other side via the tunnel, but the straight climber drives to the left to reach the real ridge and enjoy the beautiful view you really deserve. If that summit is at least open. Beautiful col and just like the Mont Ventoux a must-do for anyone who loves climbing.

The Col du Galibier is situated in Rhone-Alpes. This climb belongs to the Alps. The Col du Galibier via Valloire is ranked number 231 of 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 %. The maximum slope is 12%. If you want to climb the Col du Galibier, you can find more information on how to train to climb the Col du Galibier here.

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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Climbbybike difficulty score (133.5)
Ranking Alps
Ranking France

Col du Galibier via Valloire popularity rank : 8

The Col du Galibier has been climbed by 146 climbbybikers. It is ranked No. 8 as the most climbed climb in the world.
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Col du Galibier via Valloire: 16 reviews

Tim Wilson

I rode half way up the Col du Galibier in 2013, one week before the London Surrey 100 (my rest period). It gave me lots of confidence when I went up Leith Hill a week later. This inspired my more athletic wife and son to start riding. Last week we returned to Valloire with 3 bikes on the top of our car and after a few days acclimatising and riding around the area we decided to take the plunge and attempt to ride to the top. We set off with energy drinks and gels, an armful of nuts and some Snicker bars - on three low cost bikes (we love) from Decathlon. I had cleats - they had trainers! The way up to the final 8km was relatively easy. There were loads of other Brits on the road who were there, like us, to see the Tour de France (which was changed weeks before and no longer climbing up the Galibier). After a quick rest at the cafe before the final 8km we moved slowly and steadily forwards, uphill at our own pace. The going got tough, but my 16 year old - who said we shouldn''t have started it in the first place - was well away and loving every minute. My wife, who had started training in Spring, was also coping well. I was struggling. But after some gels we all made it all the way to the top. Then, all we had to do was head down!


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 !!!


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.

Dan Neill

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!

richard guymer

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!

Paul Burns

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.


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.

deplacie Bernard

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.

Alex Bunea

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 :)

John Josephs

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.

Mark L

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.

Ram Mudambi

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.

schollaert etienne

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.


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.

Stuart Astbury

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!

Ian McVety

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!

Paul Blint

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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