Col de l’ArpettazBy Will • May 2nd, 2006 • Category: Cycling, Snow
Col de l’Arpettaz – 16.5 kms with 1,200 metres vertical climb
A beautiful route on a tiny farm road with hairpin after hairpin. Today was significantly warmer than the last few weeks and I was seriously sweating. At 6 kms I saw a sign saying the road was closed and happily continued in car free bliss. The only living things I saw after this sign were two deer racing across the road – scaring me more than I scared them. It’s a fairly hard route averaging a little under 8%. It starts out a little easier and finishes a little harder.
So ….. I am enjoying a picture postcard ride. As I gain altitude, more and more snow covered Alps come into view. At 1,200 metres I saw my first snow on the ground, but didn’t give it another thought. At 1,300 metres I had to get off my bike briefly to walk over some snow on the road. Hmmmm. Then about 3.5 kms from the top, I bumped into much more snow on a stretch under tree cover. I could see the road above was not covered so I started trudging through this stuff. After a bit I found clear road again and started riding — feeling smug.
Pic Below. I hiked pass this bit.
Then I hit another bad stretch ….. more hiking in about a foot of snow ….. half kilometre of riding … then at 1,450 metres of altitude, I had to admit defeat (the col is it 1,580 and was about 2 kms away). If I had a mountain bike and better shoes maybe I would have continued hiking. Grrrrr. The road surface is a bit iffy – no big deal climbing but a bit treacherous descending on a road bike.
Still this quiet super-scenic route is a real gem worth climbing again ….. to the top next time.
Time to turn around — below is as far as I got – the road is under a foot of snow.