Col du Joly Unpaved

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It’s getting colder and the high Alps has fresh snow. With lots of lousy weather in the immediate forecast, my goal was to profit from a sunny day and enjoy some close-up views of Mont Blanc.

Col du Joly (1989 metres) is paved on its west side from Beaufort. But I love the unpaved north-east side starting from Les Contamines.

Les Contamines was also the start point for my amazing 3-day mountain bike “Tour of Mont Blanc Unpaved” with my friend Alfie. Details here

Leaving Les Contamines, the route quickly joins a steep, unpaved farm road. As the map profile below shows, this is a very challenging climb, but beautiful, and quiet.

A bench with a view.

I reached snow about half way up. But it was a warm day and the road was always clear.

Here’s the same photo as above but tightly cropped. More fun? 🙂

Nearing Col du Joly is a little lake with fantastic mountain reflections.

I reached the Col and began descending the far side with the goal of climbing to the dam at Lac de la Girotte (old post here). But I wasn’t feeling my best. So I decided just to enjoy the great views and simply descend back to the start via a fun ski-lift service road back to the start.

Col du Joly

From Col du Joly, it’s possible to go significantly higher to Aiguille Croche (2487m). I’ve done it a couple of times. Details here include a fairly good video. Challenging but recommended

The top part of the descent from Col du Joly is truly fantastic as it heads directly towards the nearby Mont Blanc massif. Woohooo! Spot the cyclist:

Here’s a 360 degree photo from near the summit. You can move the photo with your mouse:

I can’t recommend this climb enough. So beautiful and rideable. And don’t forget the extension to Aiguille Croche mentioned above if you want a little extra challenge.

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Happiest while cycling uphill.

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