Above: Team Jamaica (Philippe) summits Col du Joly.
Col du Joly is a perfect example of the many challenging, beautiful and quiet climbs that cyclotourists bypass while riding the Route des Grandes Alpes.
Starting in scenic Beaufort (see more Beaufort climbs here) – on the Route des Grandes Alpes – this 23 kilometre climb heads through a scenic valley then climbs out of the valley – while heading straight towards Mont Blanc.
We had perfect sunny but cool September weather and were in absolutely no rush and thoroughly enjoyed the quiet, pastoral surroundings.
As we got higher we could see the Lac de Girotte and its dam. It’s a steep, lonely gravel climb to the dam – details here.
While not the steepest road, it’s long, and the last 10 kms average roughly 8% with some steep stretches.
The summit just misses being a 2000′er – 1989 metres. It’s a fantastic feeling riding the last stretch to the summit as the Mont Blanc Massif suddenly fills the view – see top photo.
It’s a dead end road, although it is possible to mountain bike up from Contamines from the other side.
We would extend the ride with a visit to Col des Saisies and lunch at the top, but the highlight of the day was Col du Joly. I love this climb. Cyclotourists passing through Beaufort should consider making the detour part of their plans.