BARCELONNETTE CHALLENGETICKING OFF 7 DEUX MILLE COLS
COL DE LA CAYOLLE (2,315)
The Barcelonnette challenge starts with one big ride to tick off four Deux Mille cols in one day…if you are keen. Otherwise, you are of course welcome to do them as you like. However, the roundtrip from Barcelonnette, over Col de la Cayolle, onwards to Col des Champs, down to Allos, where you either ride Lac d’Allos and/or just Col d’Allos is a classic.
We have never quite experienced the solitude, like the one climbing Col de la Cayolle. It is a very long climb, where you make your way up surrounded by mountains on both sides, most of the way. Exceptional nature.
Climb details: https://www.deuxmille.cc/cols/col-de-la-cayolle/
COL DES CHAMPS (2,085)
There is no way to sugarcoat it. This climb, from the Allos side, is tough and spectacular. From the other side, the descend from the top can be scary in wet weather. The roads are narrow and hairpins come thick and fast.
It is another col in the area with very little or no traffic at all. After climbing Col de la Cayolle, the 16 kilometers from Saint-Martin-d’Etraunes to the top will be a real test.
Climb details: https://www.deuxmille.cc/cols/col-des-champs/
LAC D’ALLOS (2,113)
Most people skip this climb, as it is a detour from the Barcelonnette to Barcelonnette roundtrip, but since you are here to do all the Deux Mille climbs in the area, a (wo)man’s gotta, what a (wo)man’s gotta do.
From the small town of Allos, it is 700 vertical meters to climb, which should be around an hour of effort for most mortals.
Climb details: https://www.deuxmille.cc/cols/lac-dallos/
COL D’ALLOS (2,208)
From Allos, this climb is about 13 kilometers. It starts off in a rather dull main road, which eventually turns exciting at the small ski resort of of Val d’Allos. Hairpins come into the equation and above the ski resort, the landscape opens up in all its magnitude.
The road is not in the best of shape, so beware on the descend. Again, you will most likely find yourself riding in solitude. It is probably the most deserted of places we have been climbing Deux Mills cols in.
Climb details: https://www.deuxmille.cc/cols/col-dallos/
COL DU VARS (2,111)
A popular Tour de France climb, which connects the Guillestre canton with the Ubaye valley. From Saint-Paul-Sur-Ubaye, it is, on paper, a short, manageable climb of less than 10 kilometers and an average gradient around 7 %. It seems harder, although we are not questioning facts.
This climb is personally not the most interesting climb in the area, which is of course unfair, since Col du Vars is surrounded by epic climbs.
Climb details: https://www.deuxmille.cc/cols/col-du-vars/
COL DE LA BONETTE (2,715)
This is a massive climb. 1,400 vertical meters from Jausiers through a breathtaking landscape. This one is really one for the bucket list too.
With an average gradient of 6.4% all seems perfect for a casual ride, but it seems harder, and as the air is getting thinner, the climb will eventually take its toll.
The road is in great condition most of the way, which is quite a relief for a long descend.
Climb details: https://www.deuxmille.cc/cols/col-de-la-bonette/
CIME DE LA BONETTE (2,802)
Cime de la Bonette, the highest col in France, is actually just a man-made extension of Col de la Bonette. The top of Col de la Bonette is about 50 meters lower than cols like Iseran, Stelvio, Kaunertal and Rettenbach, so the French thought to themselves: “Let’s make this the highest paved road in Europe.” And so they did…not.
With its 2,802 meters, Cime de la Bonette ranks third in Europe behind Veleta and IRAM in Sierra Nevada, Spain. The top is often closed due to snow deep into June and again from September.
Climb details: https://www.deuxmille.cc/cols/cime-de-la-bonette/