Col du Galibier – (drone pics and some snow)


Yes, I have a new toy. It’s probably a terrible idea, but I have a little drone that takes photos. It’s a DJI Spark. For a full review of the drone see the excellent DCRainmaker site.

I have the good fortune to ride Col du Galibier once a year or so. These days, I try and wait for special conditions , eg. early season snow walls. Or late season with sun like today is also great: quiet, some snow on higher peaks (plus I had a new toy!).

A 3D video of the ride:

Here are a few older Galibier posts that might be of interest: Galibier: A Complete Look, Galibier: A Brief History, Galibier to See the Sunrise, Galibier via Col d’Albanne/unpaved cliff road.

North side with Télégraphe

The route was simple (see map below), just up and down the north side of Galibier, including Col du Télégraphe. Télégraphe was chilly as it was shaded the entire way up, but the rest of the ride would be in sun (although very cold much higher).-

I didn’t take many photos until I was above Plan Lachat (the last 8 kms), but the Polka Dot Hay Man at Col du Télégraphe is terrific.

Col du Télégraphe summit

Above Plan Lachat (roughly 2000 metres altitude) is where Galibier gets fun. Hairpins, views, big mountains – fantastic.

Just above Plan Lachat

I always like the view at the 6-kilometre-to-go marker. In the distance is the unpaved military road up to Col des Rochilles (see here for ride details).

Old unpaved military road to Col des Rochilles at left

The weather has been rough recently up high, and there was a fresh frosting of snow on all the neighbouring peaks. And snow along the road above 2450 metres or so.

Cow du Galibier (summit above cow’s hump)

So here are two photos from roughly the same spot. One with my handy tripod, and one with the drone:

Above the tunnel, the road was clear, but likely slippery in spots earlier in the day.

View of last km from above Col

The final hairpin (I like this photo):

Finally, the summit.

There is a little hiking trail from the Col that heads a little higher. So this photo was not with the drone:

The summit is a department border: Savoie on left. Hautes-Alpes right.

I considered descending the 8 kms on the far side to Col du Lautaret (beautiful), but I was cold, tired, and busy fooling around with photos. But I highly recommend the descent. The north side is better than the south side option. BUT, the south side shines above Col du Lautaret.

Galibier is always a fun challenge. And a late season (quiet) ascent is always worth the effort.

PS – here’s a photo from Col de la Colombière from few days ago. A ride I didn’t blog.


About Author

Happiest while cycling uphill.


  1. Wow! Now that is literally taking your photos to a new level! This new perspective is a great addition to your already great pics. The big benefit will be all the energy you’ll save by not having to run up and down hillsides setting up and taking down your camera gear! Perhaps you could also send the drone ahead to make sure that a cold brew was waiting for you at the summit!
    Well done.

  2. Jeremy Smallhorn on

    Thanks Will, another great post (going up another notch or two with the pics from the drone).

    Keep it up, it’s very much appreciated!

  3. Boys with Toys 😉 Love it.
    Like Martin says, when they invent a drone that flies ahead and orders a macchiato and perhaps the world’s largest blueberry pie, then I’ll get one.

Leave A Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!