High in the mountains of the Canton of Valais are several huge alpine dams, including some of the tallest in the world (eg. Grande Dixence, Mauvoisin).
Some of the biggest and most beautiful cycling climbs I know are up to these dams. See more here. The Barrage de Tseuzier (or Zeuzier) is yet another high altitude dam in the region.
Most big climbs get better and better as one gets higher. But this climb, starting from Saint-Leonard (near Sion – see map below) is great from the very start. The Valais is the biggest wine producing region in Switzerland, and lots of climbs start up through vineyards. But this route is an especially nice start. A contoured, hairpins 5 kilometre stretch with grapes:
Leaving the vineyards, the route passes through a couple of villages, and one very, very steep stretch:
Next, the road leaves civilisation. It is a long drag with few hairpins, but gets more and more interesting as one gets higher. Nearing the dam are several tunnels, a couple are very, very long, but this is Switzerland: the longest were lit! So even I wasn’t too scared.
The last couple of kilometres are virtually flat but mainly in tunnels:
After the last tunnel, one arrives at the dam/lake. Not surprisingly for June, the Lake wasn’t too full. It is likely even more beautiful later in the year.
The road is completely paved until the lake – perfect for a road bike. There is a good surfaced, unpaved road beside the lake, but one can’t go too far.
I really enjoyed this big climb to yet another beautiful Valais dam/lake. Fun.
Quiet / No Traffic