Col de la Croix de Fer via Col du Mollard

1 km from summit

1 km from summit

The high Alps cols are starting to open – woohoo. It can be fun to climb a col just as it opens, as usually a little snow is still around. This was my first time above 2000 metres this year (2067m), hopefully not the last.

I won’t talk too much about the route as last year I wrote a post mapping and detailing all five ways up to Col de la Croix de Fer – including 2 via Col du Mollard and one via Col du Glandon.

The top photo (and one below) is of a French gentleman who passed me near the summit of Col de la Croix de Fer. At the Col I gave him my email address and said I might have a couple of good photos of him. I hope he contacts me.

I took the lesser known of the two ways up to Mollard. A very quiet, fun road, with plenty of hairpins. I prefer either of the two Mollard options versus the classic direct way up Croix de Fer as they are quieter, have many more hairpins, have an extra col, and avoid climbing through three (well lit) tunnels.

After descending from Col du Mollard and rejoining the main road, it’s easy for a while and then this side of Col de la Croix de Fer really shines for the last 5 truly beautiful kilometres above Saint-Sorlin d’Arves.

Nice Hair Pin

Nice Hair Pin

Long Climb

Long Climb

After reaching Croix de Fer, I headed down the other side for a couple of kilometers and turned right for a few hundred metres to visit Col du Glandon. I then achieved my main goal of the day: A beer photo atop the Glandon Col sign:



Glandon was still closed on the other side. There was a snow plough parked up top, but there was still a lot of snow on many of the hairpins and while I could probably have got by, I was too tired for any “adventure.”

So I just doubled back, but instead of returning to Mollard, I took the classic way down Croix de Fer back to the start. My goodness, below Saint-Sorlin d’Arves the road surface is appalling for a few kms. I went very slow with my eyes firmly on the road. But after Belleville the surface improves and it’s a fun fast descent.

It’s always a fun ride visiting Col de la Croix de Fer from any of the 5 sides. My legs are tired, and my fitness not great. But this should help. 🙂

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Happiest while cycling uphill.


  1. Just want to say thanks Will for your excellent, inspirational site, incredibly useful for planning our week of Col climbing in the Alps. Yesterday we climbed the Croix de Fer via the unending hairpins route to Mollard. There are fresh gravel repairs on the descent of Mollard that made it rather stressful. The other highlight was the Cormet de Roselend from Bourg-St-M, a truly beautiful experience.

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