Comments of Malcolm L

17 climbs

Number of climbs : 17 Posts on the forum : 9
Number of summits : 13 Pictures : 16

Map of climbed passes

List of climbed passes

Name Altitude Mountain range Details
Cime de la Bonette 2802 m Mercantour
Col de la Lombarde 2350 m Mercantour
Col d'Allos 2247 m Pelat
Col de Pontis 1301 m Ubaye
Col du Labouret 1240 m Trois-Evêchés
Col du Buis 1196 m Alpes maritimes
Col Bas 1194 m Alpes maritimes
Col de Lèque 1146 m Verdon
Col du Ferrier 1041 m Alpes maritimes
Col de Braus 1002 m Alpes maritimes
Col de Castillon 706 m Alpes maritimes
Col de Nice 414 m Alpes maritimes
Châteauneuf de Grasse 413 m Alpes maritimes

00:00:00Cime de la Bonette from Saint Etienne de Tinee (2802m)

Stunning scenery and a great ride.
The ride is not overly onerous except for the height and distance climbed. The gradient is relatively constant; kms 10 to 15 is the steepest part except final ramp to the Cime which is very hard going. The toughest part apart from the final push to the Cime is from the fort to the Col where the gradient steepens and the altitude effect 'kicks in'. On arrival at the Cime there is often a queue for taking photographs in front of the 'stele'
Recommend to start from Isola village and warm up on the way to St Etienne before the climbing starts. Fill your water bottles in St Etienne as there is no other fountain before the summit (next fountain is in Jaussiers or back in St Etienne )
Without a doubt a 5 star ride.

00:00:00Cime de la Bonette from Jausiers (2802m)

Great ride on a good road surface. Each time I've climbed this col there has always been company - some going faster, some going slower and all enjoying it.
It's not particularly difficult, though the distance and final altitude take a toll. Toughest parts are going from km 10 to the fort, which is followed by a relatively flat section to recover and accelerate towards the Col followed by a very steep climb to the Cime.
The scenery is great even if not quite as stunning (imo) as the south side from St Etienne. Often you will see many marmottes playing and foraging alongside the road.
The road from the col to the Cime is claimed to be the highest road in Europe that doesn't end in a car park or similar dead end. (specially built for this reason?) Even when the col is open the Cime can still remain closed by snow.

00:00:00Col de la Lombarde from Isola (2350m)

This was my first real Alpine col in 2010 to be followed during the same day by the cols de Larche and Bonette - a well known circuit 'the 3 cols'. Unfortunately had to start the climb 'cold' from Isola village. The first 5 steep kms were made in survival mode after which the climb eased up as my legs warmed up and the gradient reduced.
Until Isola 2000 the road is in good condition and wide but without any interesting scenery or other virtues except the gradient. Isola 2000 is an eyesore - as are most ski stations when there isn't any snow. After the ski station the road narrows and steepens on open mountain sides to the col - for me this is the best part of the climb where I've seen chamoix and other wildlife.

00:00:00Col d'Allos from Barcelonnette (2247m)

Great ride with a flatish section to relax a little around half way up. Great views from the road over towards the Col de Cayolle valley. The lower part of the climb is surrounded with trees and provides some shade - the final part is 'open plan'.
Recommend to do the well known circuit including this col with the cols de Champs and Cayolle. IMO counterclockwise is the more challenging route.

00:00:00Col d'Allos from Colmars (2247m)

Certainly not as interesting or scenic as the Barcelonette side although it looks much better with the autumn colours of the pastures and trees and the ski lifts are not so obvious. The climb is 23 kms long though only the final 7 kms are really climbing - and then not too challenging. The ski station is a real eyesore when you arrive or looking down on it.

00:00:00Col de Pontis from Ubaye (1301m)

It's easy to miss the start, look for the cemetery on the lake side of the road and the start is opposite. Very steep and demanding from the first meters. A poor road surface with lots of gravel on the outside of the hairpins which is the only way up - the hairpin interiors are nothing better than 'walls' - so pick your route carefully.
Even though it is only 5 kms long if you're in the area it's well worth riding for pride and the bragging rights that go with it. No gear changing necessary - just start all to the left.
The descent is as demanding as the climb and nerve-racking/dangerous with Madame Gravity working against you again on poor twisting road surfaces - check your brakes!

00:00:00Col du Labouret from La Javie (1240m)

The road is a principal route from Digne towards Barcelonette. The traffic level is OK to ride safely. There's nothing outstanding to see during the climb which starts easily along the valley and gradually increases the gradient as the river is left below and the climb passes into the forest near the summit. Towards the top there is a road sign warning of a 15% descent for traffic going the other way. The final kilometers are testing.
This col is part of a 200 km circuit of Digne, Barcelonette, col d'Allos, St Andre les Alpes, Digne crossing 6 or 7 cols of varying difficulty levels and is feasible during a single day for those in a hurry.

00:00:00Col du Buis from Pont de St Pierre (1196m)

A pleasant rolling ride from, St Pierre until Brianconet where the serious climbing starts. The real climb is harder than the profile suggests, maybe because a flatish section is not identified.
Its worthwhile riding through the Clue de St Auban if you haven't passed through on the way to the Pont St Pierre. A stunning road carved into the cliff rock face with the river far below in the clue.
There is a water fountain by the road in Brianconet.

00:00:00Col du Buis from La Serre (ponte) (1196m)

Brutal until almost the summit. You will only ride it for the shear hell of being able to brag later - if you haven't put a foot on the ground between the start and finish!
This is the hardest climb I know in this area and overall (in my experience) comes second to the col de Pontis.

00:00:00Col Bas from La Ferrière (1194m)

This col is more of a liaison than a specific target ride. Short with steep sections as it passes through the hill-side forest. After arriving at Caille continue towards the route Napoleon (direction Grasse) and turn left towards Audibergue going up the Col de Cornille.

00:00:00Col de Lèque from Castellane (1146m)

This is not a 'solitary target' climb - if you are in the area include it in a circuit. The alternative to climbing the col is going round the Lac Castillon and over the lower col de Roubins which is significantly longer though more scenic.
The climb is not too demanding with several hairpins and short steep sections.
In summer the road (route Napoleon) is heavily frequented by tourist traffic, during the spring time and autumn less so.

00:00:00Col du Ferrier from Saint Vallier de Thiey (1041m)

Short and relatively constant climb - demanding nevertheless. Great views looking down and behind as you go up. Add to the effort by starting from Speracedes and climbing to Cabris and climbing again toward St Vallier.
Fill your water bottles at the fountain in St Vallier as there's not many other opportunities if you are continuing onwards after the summit.

00:00:00Col de Braus from L'Escarene (1002m)

A well reputed climb in the area.
Steep start on leaving L'Escarene all the way to the summit with a short break after around 4 kms and the final 500m. The steepest section comes after the hairpins which are impressive when you look down on them.
There is no shade from the sun in summer so better to ride early morning or late afternoon.
To get to L'Escarene from Nice you will first have to climb the Col de Nice which is best done by following the D321 from rather than riding on the main road.
There is a water fountain/tap to fill up from in L'Escarene.

00:00:00Col de Castillon from Sospel (706m)

Going from Sospel towards Menton this road is virtually reserved for cyclists who cannot take the lower road and tunnel used by most cars.
Beware of the sun during the summer months which can be more tiring than the gradient.

00:00:00Col de Nice from Nice (414m)

Once you leave the main roads and something heavy traffic onto the D321 the climbing starts. The narrow road twists and turns its way up the pleasant hillside to the Col de Nice where you will rejoin the main road from Nice above L'Escarene.
Often this col is climbed as part of a circuit from Nice to Col de Braus, Sospel, Col de Castillon., Menton, Nice - around 100kms

00:00:00Châteauneuf de Grasse from Opio (413m)

Hard in sections though short. Continue on from Chateauneuf towards Gourdon and the Col de l'Ecre.
Going downhill is a blast (60 - 70 kph easily) if your brakes are good and no cars are on your side of the road going the opposite direction.
There is a water fountain at the second large roundabout in Chateauneuf opposite the Cafe des Cyclistes.

00:00:00Châteauneuf de Grasse from Pont du Loup (413m)

The route is the principal liaison between the Grasse and Vence areas and is of little other interest. On Sunday mornings you will see many groups of cyclists and individuals going one way or the other. Not too demanding climbing it over the 6 or 7 kms. Motorised traffic is not a problem - it's mostly a commuter route.