Col de la Madeleine and My New Professional Photographer(?!?)

Col de la Madeleine Col de la Madeleine Col de la Madeleine Descending Madeleine Barry Descending Madeleine
Col de la Madeleine

On a beautiful day, Barry, Eric and I headed into the Alps to climb the north side of the hors categorie Col de la Madeleine.

The Climb: 26.5 kms (16.5 miles); Ascent: 1,610 metres (5,280 feet)

The North side is probably the easier side of this giant climb as it is 6 kilometres longer with roughly the same ascent as the other side. Click here for details on the relentless South side of Madeleine.

Col de la  Madeleine - North side

The route took 20 years to build and is one of only two roads (Col d’Iseran far to the east) that crosses the Vanoise Alps.

It is named after a little 18th century chapel at the top dedicated to St Madeleine. Every July the people from each side of the mountain meet at the top for a celebration – historically, to re-acquaint after 8 months of snow blocking the pass.

Since its first appearance in 1969, this col has featured 22 times in the Tour de France, last appearing in 2005.

Now thats a pudding

After a hot climb, we stopped for a great snack at the chalet at the top. Barry ordered an entire blueberry tart! Great.

Eric – who descends about twice as fast as me – kindly agreed to take some photos on the way down.

He is a very nice guy and a very strong cyclist. As a photographer? See the next three photos taken by Eric. You be the judge. 🙂


Madeleine_0009 Madeleine_0017


About Author

Happiest while cycling uphill.


  1. Pingback: Col de la Madeleine - South Side : Cycling Challenge

  2. OK Will, I have to admit there is 1 (one) thing you do better than me…you hear me…1 (one)
    Good joke though…and now please put the good picture that I took on the website too.

  3. Your fault! You are way too skinny! If only you were a little fat, it would be easier to catch (at least a bigger part of ) you in the picture. On top of that you have improved your descending skills x5, so I expect you in spot X, but you are already in spot Y (Y being >100m lower than X). What do you want me to do??? 🙂

  4. Hold on a second…. OK… I had to stop laughing. Great shots… Eric is awesome and where is the town of Pussy? Your faces are priceless! I think that could rank as picture of the month. Maybe you should send it to Jay Leno and The Tonight Show on NBC!

  5. Will, great story and great photo of the town of Pussy. (Is it really pronounced like it looks??) As for Eric’s photos…thank god he was not the official TdE photographer. 🙂

  6. First of all, there is no acceptable reason why the TdE didn’t collectively climb Pussy Mt. It was your secret, and you should have shared the wealth. But I don’t think I’d show my parents that picture, so maybe that’s a good reason that you didn’t show us. Next, your descending is getting so fast now that you can’t be caught on film. Period. Did you enroll in the Sir Evans descending program?

  7. Have you nailed the other feline on this route? Lachat heads up and right just before Villard Benoit. Its a steep old climb but worth it for the views across the valley that beat those on the Madeline route. Just a refuge at the top but very quiet and a great place to chill out.

  8. Hi Martin,

    No, I knew exactly where the Lachat turn-off was, and I had considered doing it on the descent. …. but I was just a little too tired (and full after the pie). It sounds great – and I know it is very steep.


  9. Pingback: Five Big Cycling Climbs - A To-Do List : Cycling Challenge

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