Col du Galibier – both sides (video)

Galibier - north side

After a long, snowy winter, Galibier only opened a couple of weeks ago. On a perfect day, I decided to see how much snow was left.

Last year I cycled Galibier at night to see the sunrise – see here.

The route on the map below allows for the climbing of all the best parts of Galibier: The entire “better” north side, including Col du Télégraphe to start. I then descended to Col du Lautaret, and cycled back the last amazing 8.5 kilometres of the south side. Click image below for full profile:

Many of the cyclists at the summit had cycled up the south side all the way from Bourg d’Oisans (base of Alpe d’Huez). Personally, I think it is a route to be avoided as it passes through 10 tunnels, a few quite long, dark, and wet – with plenty of fast traffic including trucks. No fun when going uphill.

Galibier - snow wall

Whereas the route turns off the main road at Col du Lautaret for a great final 8.5 kms.

I have included the south side profile all the way from Briançon – a better full south side choice than Bourg d’Oisans.

For a “brief history” of Col du Galibier — see here.

A short video:

A few more photos:

Above Plan lachat, the north sides turns up:

above Plan Lachat

A couple of kilometres to go (north side):
Galibier - north side

Nice hairpins near top of south side:

Galibier - south side

A beer at the top:

A Beer at Galibier

Brave tourist:
Galibier - north side

9.5 Awesome

Both Sides of the most famous climb in France? Great. Advice: Must do stretches are the entire North side including Télégraphe, and the South side from Col du Lautaret.

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About Author

Happiest while cycling uphill.


  1. Loving your website. We are staying in Vallorcine, with road bikes and your site is a gift. Today first col ever: Col de Pierre Carre – loved it. Thanks so much for making the effort and taking the time to publish such a brilliant guide


  2. Hi Will,planning on cycling in alps 2014 either june or september,last year we were in pyrenees just missed the
    snow blocking cols,what do you think would be best time ,September would be early ,look forward to your reply.

  3. Hi Trevor,

    Both June and early September are “usually” great times to visit the high Alps.

    The one watch out: the very highest Alps climbs aren’t always open in early June.

    Iseran seems to always open last …. often mid-June. It of course depends, and there will be endless climbs open. But it would be a shame to visit the first week in June and miss Galibier.



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  5. thanks for info we are booked for early sept, 15 on bikes its going to be great! May see you on the top of climb ,Trevor

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