Col de Voza and Col de la Forclaz

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Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc

Col de Voza is high above St. Gervais and Les Houches ski stations in the shadow of Mont Blanc. This short loop is steep, steep, and steep (including the descent).

Forclaz means “narrow gap.” It’s a common name in the Alps. I believe this is the 6th Col de la Forclaz that I have cycled.

The road up to St. Gervais is super busy, so I skipped it. Starting in St. Gervais, after a couple of kms on the main road, I turned off onto a little road with a great sign:

An accurate sign

An accurate sign

Indeed. It is an extremely steep little road – with a % grade often in the mid even high teens. I was able to pedal the entire way until the paved road ended at roughly 1450 metres and then occasionally had to push. I briefly walked with a friendly Slovenian mountain biker who was a little shocked by the steepness :).

I was hoping for better views, but as I got higher nearby Mont Blanc came into sight:

Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc

Col de la Voza (1650 metres) is a station for a little train from St. Gervais so there were more tourists than I would have liked. I probably should have headed higher on the steep path towards Mont Blanc but I was hot and tired so I headed higher, but in the opposite direction getting a little above 1800 metres.

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Nice road heading down:

The view north

The view north

I found a great unpaved farm road for the descent. This was also extremely steep. It would be a difficult climb. Part way down I took a nice wooded detour to visit Col de la Forclaz (1533 metres). I then headed gingerly all the way down on some fairly crazy hairpins.

below Col de Voza

a tricky descent

While short, this super steep loop is tough. Not my favourite, but still a good ride.

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Happiest while cycling uphill.

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