Below is a map of major cycling climbs in the French Pyrénées.
I have cycled the purple markers (details below). The yellow markers are major climbs that I have yet to do – maybe next time. The red flags are just a few minor Cols (there are hundreds more). Feel free to suggest any other favourites climbs.
View Pyrénéen in a larger map
I have made two visits to the Pyrenées: May/June 2009 and September 2012. If the weather is good, avoiding the summer crowds is worth the effort. Below are all the loops and Cols I have done. All of them are good enough to recommend — and a couple are all time favourites.
Finally, a couple of times I wrote reviews for TdF stages, I have put these at the bootom as at least they give some details on climbs that might be of interest,
1. Col du Tourmalet – east and 2x Col d’Aspin
The 2009 Tour de France will climb this side of Tourmalet via Col d’Aspin. Details here.
2. Port de Boucharo
The highest paved pass in the French Pyrenées – details here.
3. Cirque de Troumouse and Lac des Gloriettes
Beautiful and high climb filled with hairpins and then a small extension to a lovely dam/lake – details here.
4. Pic du Midi de Bigorre via Col du Tourmalet
Perhaps the funnest ride I have ever done. To be clear, it requires a mountain bike above Tourmalet – details here.
5. Lac de Cap de Long and La Route des Lacs
If you cycle just one climb in the French Pyrenées, make it Lac de Cap de Long – details here.
6. Col d’Aubisque via Col de Spandelles and Col du Soulor (north)
A quieter and more challenging route to Col d’Aubisque – details here.
7. Piau Engaly
Deep in the quiet valley above St-Lary-Soulan, a quiet climb to a small ski station – detail here.
8. Col de Port and Col d’Agnès Loop
Both climbs will appear in 2009 Tour de France . Details here.
9. Plateau de Beille
The Alpe d’Huez of the Pyrénées? Details here.
10. Col de Menté / Col Portet d’Aspet
11. Col de Peyresourde and Superbagnères
The start town, Bagneres-de-Luchon, is surrounded by 15 peaks above 3000 metres. Views all day. Details here.
12. Col d’Aubisque and Col du Soulor via Col des Bordères
Falling cows and legendary climbs. Details here.
13. Col du Tourmalet – west side
The better side. Details here.
14. Luz Ardiden
Remember when Armstrong caught his bike in a fans Musette? That was at Luz Ardiden. Great hairpin-filled last 3 kilometres – details here.
15. Hautacam and Col de Tramassel
Another ski station with a Tour de France history – details here.
16. Hourquette d’Ancizan, Col d’Aspin, and Col d’Azet
A very scenic loop of mid-altitude cols starting from St-Lary-Soulan in the French Pyrenées – details.
17. Le Pla d’Adet and above to Col de Portet
At a minimum Le Pla d’Adet is fun to say. The ski station – details.
18. Port de Balès – Both Sides
An eerie fog and many cows accompanied me on this “new” Tour de France climb – details.
19. Col de Portillon
I figured I had time to sneak up Col de Portillon and the Spanish border before the long drive home – details.
More Climbs Reviewed:
La Hourquette d’Ancizan, Tourmalet and Luz Ardiden – Tour de France stage
Stage 12 of the 2011 Tour de France. La Hourquette makes its first appearance – a quiet, harder alternative to Col d’Aspin. Luz Ardiden is a small ski station atop some great hairpins. The climb starts near the beginning of both Tourmalet and Hautacam.
I review the route here.
Cols Marie-Blanque, Soulor, and Tourmalet – 2010 Tour de France stage
Stage 17 of the 2010 Tour de France climbed the short but steep Col de Marie Blanque, the quiet and lessor know north side of Col du Soulor, before finishing atop Col du Tourmalet.
I review the route here.