A really fun, but challenging four Col loop through the French part of Les Portes de Soleil ski region.
Starting from Montriond, after an 8 kms slight descent, the first challenge of the day was Col du Corbier. Six steep kilometres.
This was my first time climbing the west side. Great views of La Vallée d’Aulps below. The east side is more open, a little less steep, but features some great hairpins – details of climbing the east side here.
Once down Corbier, I was now in Le Val d’Abondance.
Before tackling the main climb of the day, I took the road up to the Swiss frontier pass “Pas de Morgins. ”
The road climbs gently, but slowly gets a little steeper for the last 6 kilometres. Although a little tough to see, the 2nd photo above has a French Col sign in the foreground, and a Swiss Col sign in the background. 😉
This was the easy side of Pas de Morgins. The Swiss side is harder and much longer. Starting in Monthey, Switzerland the climb is 16.6 kms @ a 6% average.
From Pas de Morgins, I retraced my steps until Chatel, and headed for the main difficulty: Col de Bassachaux.
This climb features 5 pretty steep kilometres nearer the top. It’s a quiet, spectacular little road that climbs through the ski slopes, and chair lifts.
Eric and I had “climbed” the other side in deep snow last year – details here. There was a lot less snow this time. I didn’t realize it was such a tall sign. 😉
At the Col, the road ends. But there is a wide hiking path that leads to some ski slopes on the other side and eventually links up the road for Col de la Joux Verte (just above Lindarets).
Except for the above stretch, the entire route is paved. But this unpaved stretch is steep and pretty treacherous on a bike. I had my hybrid and pushed on the steepest stretches down
I was pretty drained at this point, but had just enough energy left to climb the last few easiesh, but beautiful kilometres to Col de la Joux Verte (for details of this entire climb click here).
I was now cooked, but just a fast hairpin-filled descent to Morzine and back to Montriond.
A truly superb loop. My first time doing these sides of Corbier and Bassachaux, and a first ever visit to Pas de Morgins.
Love the 2 pics of the with/without snow – have you shrunk? lol 😉
17/08/14 – Great ride but the walking descent from Bassachaux to Lindarets is real rough! There were some MTB guys who thought I was crazy as I came down.
Great article, I’m currently living out in Chatel and the Corbier and Bassachaux are my 2 main training climbs, the Bassachaux is much tougher than you think! What’s rides have you done/plan to do this year?
This summer we will be in Les Gets for a great week of cycling (on road bikes!). Is it by any way possible to go down from the Col de Bassachaux to Lindarets en take again the surfaced road of the Col de Joux Verte? Or do we have to walk for 4km with the bike? We would love to do your Col de Corbier, Col de Bassachaux loop!
Chris, the unpaved stretch is closer to 2 kilometres. I had some friends that braved it on road bikes last year, but they were headed uphill.
It depends how fussy you are. If I remember (it’s been a while), part of it wasn’t too bad at all, but other stretches were very, very steep and rough.
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