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Hautacam - Argelès-Gazost     open your myclimbbybike to add this climb

17.3 km  1635 m  (1170 m)  6.8 %


The ascent to Hautacam, known for three arrivals of the Tour de France, starts in Argelès Gazost. The finish place is situated on the parking of the ski lifts at 1520 m. altitude but the end of the road and highest point is still 1,5 km. further on the Col de Tramassel at 1635 m.

The Hautacam is situated in Midi-Pyrenees. This climb belongs to the Pyrenees. The Hautacam via Argelès-Gazost is ranked number 66 of the Pyrenees. Starting from Argelès-Gazost, the Hautacam ascent is 17.3 km long. Over this distance, you climb 1170 heightmeters. The average percentage thus is 6.8 %. The maximum slope is 10%. If you want to climb the Hautacam, you can find more information on how to train to climb the Hautacam here.

Since 2005, the Hautacam will be/was climbed in the following big tour stages:
Tour de France 2014 :  Pau - Hautacam on 24/07/2014
Tour de France 2008 :  Pau - Hautacam on 14/07/2008

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Climbbybike difficulty score (116)
Ranking Pyrenees
Ranking France

Hautacam via Argelès-Gazost popularity rank : 14

The Hautacam has been climbed by 99 climbbybikers. It is ranked No. 14 as the most climbed climb in the world.
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Hautacam via Argelès-Gazost: 22 reviews

Stephen Wood

Hautacam is the most difficult climb in the three Vallees des Gave. I climbed it again today, 24th June 2019. At 64 years old and weighing 79 kilos I am just happy to be cycling. Do not be fooled by the first 7 kilometres. Conserve your energy because you will need it when you hit kilometre 8. The average gradient may not seem to bad on paper but it is an average! There are some horrible gradients. The next few kilometres are relentless and your legs will feel it. The last couple may be less steep but by now you will be tired and your legs will have had enough. If you can conquer Hautacam I believe that you can conquer any of the other BIG climbs in the Valleys.

Charles Marshall

Climbed this on a hot day in May 2016. It''s a tough one, because as others have said the gradient is inconsistent. Don''t be fooled by the climbbybike profile, the climb doesn''t really start until the 4km mark so is around 13.5km long with an average gradient of 8%. Plus, although the highest average gradient in any one km may be 10%, in fact it swings around from 6% to 13% and back again - difficult to get into a rhythm.

One good thing is that the last two kms are a nice steady 7%, so once you hit the 2km to go marker the worst is over. Great views and good cafe if you continue the 1.2 kms and 100m of ascent to the Col de Tramassel.

Just a few days ago we got back from a recce on this climb, as well as the a selection of other giants of the pyrenees, Firstly don''t underestimate the Hautacam, its a serious climb from the outset, we climbed in low cloud at at around 100 kilos bodyweight i managed to haul myself up there in around 80 minutes using a compact chainset, at the top we turned left to the col de tramassol, another 200m but well worth that extra effort, the top was very cold and cloudy, but there is a very nice warm welcoming cafe with hot drinks and a good hot food selection.

the descent was very cold, wet and slippery, no heroics, there are tight bends with some low garden walls, overall it was a good climb and we enjoyed it.


I completely agree with other comments that this is the most difficult climb in the Pyrenees due to the varying gradients (especially at nearly 90 kilos!). The climb is also very exposed to the afternoon sun which can make it very warm on a sunny summer day. Be sure to keep climbing for another 2 or 3 k after the ski station parking area. There is water available at the very top. There are great views from the top back over the valley below.

Sean Mullins

Did this on 15th July 2011. I was staying in Lourdes watching the tour and decided that I''d give Hautcam a go. Definitely a tougher climb than the others I did (like Tourmalet), but I enjoyed the challenge that the different pitches gave (even though I struggled a bit, I''m 75kg so not a proper climber). Nice views which can be enjoyed during the easier bits, knowing that a much tougher stretch must lie just around the corner.

Julian Foot

Did the Hautacam today, Thursday 16 June 2011. Conditions were misty and so there were no views. The biggest feature of this climb is the variable gradient. There are some really steep sections and you know when you pass a km marker showing the average gradient of the next km being 8% or so and the road is flattish or even falling that it will be rearing up any second. In the misty weather you didn''t get any warning. Today the top could have been anywhere. There was about 25m visibility in a very damp mist. This meant that the descent was very tricky as you had no idea where the next hairpin bend was coming and so could not get up any momentum. It was a joy when I reached the cloud base and could start to go for it. From there on it is an awesome drop although you go through quite a few little villages and communities so have to be quite responsible about speed. I would echo what others have said. Visit the Hubert Arbes bike shop on the Tarbes road into Lourdes. It''s really good and the folk there are very helpful. They didn''t have my size of jersey (with all the climbs on) but were able to order it and ship to the UK. Hubert himself is a really nice guy and knows everything there is to know about riding a bike.

Thomas Blondiau

This climb is quite tough. Dont get too confident after seeing the average 8% slope, because this hill is very irregular. Toughest parts are 8 to 5K to the top (after passing village of Artalens) and also a steep bit at 3K before the top. Make sure to not start off too fast on the early slopes. Climbing with 34x27 works perfectly fine for the steepest parts. I think the use of lighter gears is preferable on this climb.

Lee Churchill

I rode this beast as the final climb in the 2008 Etape. We reached the bottom after a miserable days weather and into sunshine. This didnt last long and whithin a couple of Kilometers all conversation ceased and for the second time that day i found my self cocooned in a grey bubble of silence. The climb became a battle over self doubt and a constant struggle to not climb off. Foolish pride kept me in the saddle. Mercifully i could not see the summit. For many it was too much and casualties of this war lined the road struggling still to push bikes upward. The climb even claimed a chain as a rider sensing the end put in an all too brief acceleration out of the saddle before his chain gave up the goast in front of me. Oh please not me. The next 2 km I didnt dare change gear, not even when from somewhere out of the gloom i heard what I knew were the timing mats at the top. And all of a sudden it was over. A blessed relief from 12 months of training replaced by emotion and Hypothermia on the way down. I would score this a five if it wasnt for the changeable gradient that prevented any kind of rythem. As for the view, how should i know.

Dom Barnes

Coming at the end of the 2008 Etape du Tour and after having climbed Tourmalet, this was never going to be a fun day in the saddle. The day had been dull and drizzly with low cloud obscuring the view. The base of the climb however was bathed in sunshine and crowded with spectators. I climbed on a triple (30x25) and started spinning from the bottom. The road was narrow and divided into two lanes to allow earlier finishers to descend, so for most of the way it felt like a little country lane. However the volume of riders kept concentration to a maximum and as the climb progressed all banter ceased as we each tapped out the miles in our own private worlds of pain. The varying gradient, even some short downhill stretches, break up the rhythm but also allow brief respites from the uphill grind. After about 3kms the cloud was low enough that we were shrouded in mist and damp with dew. The temperature stayed in low single figures as we climbed ever higher, and after one hour 20 minutes we heard the beeping of the timer mats. A medal and a bottle of water was our reward as we waited, shivering at the top, to be allowed to descend two by two back down the mountain.

Christian Myhre

On a wet and soggy day in May 08, wed pretty much settled for a non-cycling day in the Pyrenees. However, late afternoon, the sun finally came out and we decided to make a brief run to the Hautacam. Based in Argeles-Gazost, we used the road out of town towards Tourmalet and back on the other side of the river towards Hautacam as a warm-up. It was soon appearant that my friend did not have a good day, so I decided to test myself. A beautiful evening through the fog some 5k from the top, the climb has some steep elements where I was happy to have changed to a 50-34 Ultegra compact crank. It makes pedalling easier as it is ""effortless"" to keep a constant cadence. Anyway, there is a steep pitch som 2,5k from the top where I think the winner of this years TdF stage 10 will make his move. I did the climb just under an hour (from the base sign) at an average puls of 87%.

jane stubbs

I cycled the Hautacam last year with my son. It was a sweltering day and having climbed the Tourmalet a few days previously I thought this would be a breeze in comparison. I was in for a real shock. I cant really remember the gradient of every single km as I wasnt planning on writing about it but I would dispute the average 6.8% gradient! We started on the outskirts of Argeles Gazost and after only the first km which I think was 7% we were climbing at 8, 8, 9, 8 and then 10%, 10%, 9%. I thought and hoped there was going to be an easy km for my screaming legs to have a little recovery but there was no let up and it was really hard going! It was such a hot day too and then I remember a really tough km. Im sure it said 12% on the sign. Ouch! It was seriously steep and I think there were a couple of 10% kms after that. Near the top it leveled off slightly, maybe a relatively gentle 7% and was really enjoyable for the last 2 kms. You can go further up after you reach the top of the Hautacam but my son had run out of steam (and me too if the truth is told). In summary I would say that this climb is a great challenge and almost enjoyable in a painful kind of way. If you relish a right good old sufferfest then this is the one for you!

michael andersen

The climb for Hautacam starts beautifully in the green valley at Argeles Gazost. The first ks are really nice, 6-7%. At every k. there is a sign that states your altitude, how far you have climbed and the avg. gradient for the next k. After 5-6 ks you find yourself descending - just after you read a sign about 8% avg. grade! And this repeats itself a couple of times. The varying grades makes it a hard climb for "non-climbers" (>60 kg). The last 3 ks are beautiful and you can go hard for the last 2 ks. Dont miss the fantastis view from the busplatform. And remind yourself of Riis and Armstrong - and you.

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