I just couldn’t resist.
While skiing at Le Grand Bornand a few days ago, I kept looking towards Col de la Colombière and wondering if I could reach the top with a bike – without waiting until June for the road to open.
The South-West side from Le Grand Bornand is the easier side of Col de la Colombière – at least when there is no snow.
It was cloudy, cold and dark down low. But approaching Chinaillon I begun to get through the fog – sweet, another day above the clouds.
I was pleased to find that road was ploughed until about 3 kms from the top. Then it was steep, deep, and soft snow – VERY hard work uphill with a bike:
I had descended this side at speed (OK lots of people passed me) in two cyclosportives this summer – great hairpins even with snow! I had also been hailed on here (in July!) with the Tour d’Enfer. I’ll take sun and winter anyday.
Do not try accessing Colombiere from the classic north-east side during winter. The last 3 kms have steep mountains on one side and a cliff on the other. As the photo below – from the top looking down – shows: avalanches all over the road. Eric, are you listening? 😉
The cement thing in the bottom middle below is the safety barrier. The road is to the LEFT.
The only living creature I encountered was a very relaxed Bouquetin – see very last photo.
The next time I am here will likely be to watch the epic stage 17 of the 2009 Tour de France, which will descend this side to the finish.
Eric had ambitious plans to do a monster loop from Geneva and climb the harder north-east side. Too much for me. I hoped to surprise him coming from the other side – but never saws him. I was alarmed to see the state of the other side and hoped he had turned around. Quick glances down the cliff revealed no fallen Flemish cyclists. When I got home, I found that he had abandoned his plans. Hmmm, he’s not coping with turning 40 very well. 😉