Grimselpass (both sides) and FurkapassBy Will • Sep 12th, 2010 • Category: Climbs, Cycling
I was supposed to cycle Grimselpass in the Alpenbrevet last month but an avalanche closed the route. But it’s now re-opened, and I was determined to squeeze some more high Alps cycling in before the weather turns. And these Central Switzerland climbs are as good as it gets.
Grimsel is a big, long climb – with uneven grading, sometimes very steep, sometimes false flat, but relentless.
The top stretches are beautiful, first approaching a huge lower dam as the road climbs to a large lake (3 dams in 2 pics above). After passing the lake, it climbs past two more dams, above another lake and up to the pass itself – beside yet another lake.
There are quite a few tunnels up Grimsel. But the two biggest can be avoided by following the old paved cliff road – fine for a road bike. Three others can also be avoided by the old cliff road …. but they are not paved – but fine if not on a road bike.
The other side of Grimselpass is one of the most amazing places to cycle:
The route first descends straight down via several huge hairpins. At Gletsch, I joined the route for the last 10 kms up to Furka pass (the profile includes the entire climb). In the photo above, Furkapass is in the far distance at the top right.
Nearing the top of Furkapass is the Rhone Glacier – the start of the Rhone river that runs through Switzerland and France to the Mediterranean:
Furkapass featured in the car chase scene in The James Bond film “Goldfinger.”
After reaching Furka and enjoy the views of Grimselpass hairpins, I doubled back to Meiringen. It is possible to make this a very challenging loop by descending to Andermatt and then climbing Susten pass – see here for details.
The entire route was 98 kilometres, so I rode arounde Meiringen briefly to hit a metric century.