Four Col Loop in the “Aravis” Alps


Snow has arrived in the French Alps.

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Happy Bike

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Col de la Croix Fry is one of my favourite winter climbs. Usually I head up, then visit Col des Aravis, and return. Today, I decided instead to make a bigger loop, including Gorges de l’Arly, and Col du Marais.

Croix Fry stays open all winter as there is a little ski station at the top, as well as some great Cross-Country Ski-ing from the Col.

As usual, I stopped at my favourite hairpin for some photos.

My standard shot

My standard shot

I have been taking photos here for years: 🙂
Favourite Hairpin

For a great longer version of Croix Fry, you can climb Col de Plan Bois first, rejoining Croix Fry for the best upper half. See here.

From Col de la Croix Fry, I descended gingerly on the shaded, not-quite-icy road, for a few kilometres joining the main road up to Col des Aravis. I always enjoy this scenic little climb.

Near Aravis

Near Aravis

Next, I descended the south side of Aravis. Slowly leaving the snow behind and finding autumn again as I arrived in Flumet. From Flumet, it is an interesting descent through the Gorges de l’Arly all the way to Ugine. However, this road always has a few trucks taking a short-cut from the Mont-Blanc tunnel.

So after a few kilometres I turned off the main D1212 onto the D109. This is a fantastic road! First, it winds up for a few kilometres then becomes a fun, quiet cliff road, eventually descending into Ugine. It is far, far quieter than the main road below. Sorry, no photos.

From Ugine, I joined the terrific cycling path that links Albertville and Annecy:

Annecy Bike Path

Annecy Bike Path


At Saint-Ferréol, I left the bike path to climb Col du Marias. Signs said it was closed 4 kms up the road, I gambled that I could get through.

And despite a few dirty looks from the construction workers, I weaved through the construction site. I was feeling quite relieved to make it through and avoid a massive detour as the sun began to .

Then, a minor disaster. 4 kilometres below Col du Marais, my derailleur snapped off into my spokes, while I was gliding along. Bizarre, what an awful sound!

Derailleur Fell Off

I considered hitch-hiking, in the end, just walked (and scootered) the last not-steep 4 kms to the col, then free-wheeled all the way back to the start at Thônes. It could have been far worse. 😉


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Happiest while cycling uphill.

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Col de la Croix Fry and Col de Plan Bois

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