Since its 2009 Tour de France appearance, the hardest, third way to cycle up Col de la Colombière has become a little less of a secret climb. But it is a difficult, fun, quiet road.
For details of the other two routes up Col de la Colombière – see here.
Markus wanted to ride Colombière via Romme, and I agreed, but hinted that I had a surprise detour that I wanted to explore. We started near Cluses. From the autoroute below, it’s always fun to see the beginning of the road to Romme, looking so steep, cut into the cliff.
Romme is a pretty, perched village with a tiny ski area (one long rope tow). Beyond, the paved road descends five kilometres to Reposoir, where it rejoins the direct road up to Col de la Colombière. But before we headed this way, at Romme, we turned onto a very bumpy, gravel road that headed up and up.
The first profile below is for the route up to Romme and then directly to Col de la Colombière. The second profile is also the road to Romme but then the unpaved (very optional) detour we cycled that heads up to Tête de la Sallaz.
I had no idea what to expect. The forested road was wet, muddy, and rough and we slowly made our way higher hoping this wasn’t a bad idea. But once we succeeded getting above the tree line, we knew the struggle was worth the effort. The views were fantastic:
At just under 2,000 metres, we decided to turn around at the high point of the route. There are a couple of roads that continue reaching a couple of farms/chalets, although there is no way to bike down here.
We survived the bumpy descent to Romme and rejoined the paved road and headed to Col de la Colombière – visible far in the distance:
My wife curses Col de la Colombière because the last two steep kilometres are usually into a strong head-wind. But today it was a calm, nice October day. Markus kept saying he was really looking forward to a beer at the top. I was worried the chalet wouldn’t be open this late in the season. We were both thirsty.
This is my fourth ride with Markus and we’ve managed a beer stop on each ride. And fortunately the restaurant was open, so today was no different.
Col de la Colombière is the closest “famous” climb to me, and it’s always a pleasure to visit. For the more adventurous, the detour higher to Tête de la Sallaz is a superb discovery.
This route makes the hard way to Col de la Colombière via Romme even more challenging with a super-scenic unpaved detour to Tête de la Sallaz.
Quiet / no Traffic
If I plan to cycle from Cluses to Col de Romme + Col de la Colombiere, do I need to go on any unpaved roads or will the entire route be paved?
It is entirely paved. At Romme just stay on the main road. In map above just ignore the there/back above Romme to Tête de la Sallaz.
Thanks so much for your quick reply.