Road Cycling: Col de Pré via Arêches, Beaufortain, French Alps - 1,730 m. (5,676 ft)

Thu, 3 June 2021


Minimum altitude: 800 meters

Distance: 29.9 km

Slope Aspect: South-West

Vertical Climbed: 1,027 meters (3,370 feet)

Vertical Descended: 1,017 meters

Rating: 4


I was surprised to see that the main road is the one that goes to the lac St Guerin and the climb to the Col de Pré is just a backroad. When I'd climbed the Cormet d'Arêches in the autumn this "back road" was grid locked with camping cars and other vehicles and today I found out why. From Boudin (black pudding!) it is only just wide enough for a car, camping cars are explicitly banned from Arêches upwards, not that that stops them it seems. There are very few passing places, the hairpins tight and the edge of the road has no barrier with some sheer drops!

It is also very steep towards the end, I found and the col at 1703 meters is not the road summit as it climbs a further 50 or so meters up the mountain.After Arêches there are 15 hairpins over 7.3km with an average grade close to 10% with long sections closer to 12%. After a drop to the dam at 1550 meters the road climbs again to the Col de Méraillet where you can turn left to Beaufort or right to the Comet de Roselend. The 960 meter climb from Beaufort took 1h21 for a VAM of 708 meters which wasn't too bad in the circumstances. I didn't climb to the Cormet de Roselend due to lack of time with the faffing due to road closures and a "cow herd" traffic jam.


Climb was in good condition, not too warm, with just a bit of gravel on the very first hairpin on the descent. The descent was the usual - damp road, some logging activity near the bottom and a closed road near Beaufort with a 7km detour with 250m D+ but luckily another cyclist told me the closed road was easily cyclable saving a lot of pain.


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