Colle di Sampeyre is a high (2284m), beautiful climb in the Cottian Alps, in Piemonte, Italy. It has appeared twice in the Giro d’Italia (’95, ’03).
There are three paved ways up. I climbed the north side, starting in Sampeyre, but there are two ways up from the south – I only descended the first 5 kms of the south side – just for a peek. See this blog for a map and details of the south sides.
This is a high – and probably – beautiful climb. I say “probably” jokingly as I spent much of the ride in fog or below thick clouds.
From Sampeyre, the climb winds out of the Vareita Valley beside the slopes of a small ski station. It’s a narrow road, and quite a lousy surface. But plenty of fun hairpins. It’s a tough climb, in a beautiful environment. I cursed the fog, but was grateful there was no rain.
Reaching the summit, I finally saw some sun, and lots of big mountains in the distance. Lovely place. I was tired and nervous about the weather so I decided not to descend too far down the other side. But the two south sides (they share the same final kms) are apparently on rough, paved, steep, fun roads.
At the Colle, I took an old military gravel road a little higher. This can be followed for a long, long way – but I was on a road bike.
That night at the hotel, the nice Italian owner pulled out maps, and we talked route ideas – me struggling to speak Italian, and him pretending that he understood me. The next time I come back here, I hope to try and arrive at the Colle via this great old military road. 🙂
Above the Colle:
The narrow winding road is in terrible shape, so I descended even slower than my usual snail pace. Be careful!
A high, quiet, "probably", beautiful climb on a very rough road. Shame about the fog.
Quiet / No Traffic