Most beautiful climbs of the world

Source: rec.bicycles.rides - 1996

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From: Luddo Oh
Subject: Beautiful climbs of the world
Hello mountain goats!

My favorite hobby is cycling in nice places with tough climbs. 
In the last years I made several trips in Europe and searched for the most
beautiful regions. The most interesting places have also the hardest climbs.
I am looking forward to new challenges all over the world.
Does anyone know other nice climbs (accesible for touring bikes) ?

These are my favorite climbs so far in Europe in random order:

Name, Country (region)
1.  Passo di Fedaia , Italy (Dolomites)
    The last ten kilometers are extremely  steep. At the top is a pretty 
    view on the Marmolada glacier
2.  Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Italy  (Dolomites),
    Very short but steep (average rise of 15% over 3 miles)
3.  Col de la Tourmalet,  France (Pyrenees)
    Famous pass in the Tour de France. The pyrenees are a eldorado for
4.  Tour of three passes Furka-Nufenen-Gotthard. Switzerland (Alps).
    glaciers, in 80 miles more than 6000 feet height difference.
5.  Col de la Bonnete, France (Alps)
    The heighest paved pass in France
6.  Masca , Spain (Tenerife)
    Extremly steep and overwhelming nature. 
7.  Passo dello Stelvio, Italy (Alps)
    Not too hard but marvelous view on the glaciers
8.  Turtago Norway, (Jotunheimen)
    From summer to winter: beginning at sea level and ending on a plateau
    in a snowy world.
9.  Grossglockner, Austria
    Typically mountain world with farming land, woods and rocks with snow
    at the top 
10. Mont Ventoux, France
    Feels like biking on the moon....

Luddo Oh, the Netherlands

Do you have any other suggestions? Mail me: Luddo Oh

From: Tom Sheehan
Subject:Re: Beautiful climbs of the world
Have you tried Daman Pass in Nepal.... winding climb from about
sealevel to 8000 ft.  Spend the night at the observation tower for
sunrise views of the entire Himalayan Range.

                Tom da boss @ CYCLEVENTS
From: Martin F Shumway
Subject:Re: Beautiful climbs of the world
My votes :

1. Going to the Sun Road, Glacier Park MT

2. Red Mountain Pass, Silverton-Ouray, CO

3. Slumgullion Pass, Lake City CO

4. Wolf Creek Pass, Wolf Creek CO

Also, I'm surprised you didn't mention Col St Bernard.  I rode from Aosta
to Vevey over this pass, it was the most exciting draft enhanced downhill
ride of my life.

From: Garry Lee
Subject:Re: Beautiful climbs of the world
Healy Pass, Co.Cork, Ireland.
Col de Vergio, Corsica.
Col d'Aspins, Pyrenees, France.
Bielsa Tunnel Pass, France/Spain. Spanish side.
Col de Madelaine, Alps, France
Col de Portillon, Pyrenees, France/Spain.
Collada de Boixols, near Coll de Nargo, Catalonia, Spain. 
Between Tremp and Coll de Nargo.(South of Andorra).
Moll's Gap from Killarney, Co,Kerry, Ireland.
Puerto de Navalmorales, Sierra de Gredos, Spain.

Garry Lee, Cork Ireland, Cyclist and dreamer!
Note: If anyone is going through the Bielsa tunnel which I mentioned
above, you will have to walk and carry a torch. It is not lit and
takes 35min to walk through. YOU WILL FALL OFF AS IT IS IMPOSSIBLE 
The road from the top to Ainsa on the Spanish side is the most
beautiful road I've ever seen. 25 miles of magnificent gorge. All
downhill, super road. The climb from either side is difficult.
From: Joshua_Putnam
Subject:Re: Beautiful climbs of the world
In <4def0b$> Garry Lee <> writes:

>Healy Pass, Co.Cork, Ireland.
>Moll's Gap from Killarney, Co,Kerry, Ireland.

Perhaps not as hard, but also beautiful Irish routes, Sally
Gap south of Dublin and Glengesh pass on the way indland
from Glencolumbkille.

Here in Washington State, the North Cascades Highway has a
couple of beautiful passes, Rainy and Washington, in the
Cascade Mountains followed by a moderate pass in the middle
of the state and another big one, Sherman Pass (5575 feet),
just before the Columbia River.

In the Olympic National Park, Hurricane Ridge has a beautiful
view from the top, but avoid it in the summer when it's crowded
with campers.

Not really a mountain by comparison, Mt. Constitution climbs 2400
feet on Orcas Island, in the San Juan Islands of NW Washington,
on a narrow winding road with deep forest and occasional stunning
views.  In the off season there are bike-accessible trails on the
slopes of the mountain, but they're only open to hikers int he
summer when it gets crowded.

 Joshua Putnam - "My other bike is a car." 
From: J. David Holmes
Subject:Re: Beautiful climbs of the world
My favorites, so far:

1. Going To The Sun Highway - Glacier Natl. Park, MT
2. Beartooth Pass - MT
3. Oak Creek Canyon, AZ
4. Mt. Greylock, MA

From: ed bortz
Subject:Re: Beautiful climbs of the world
My most challenging and beautiful climb was in central
Israel --- a 4 meter wide asphalt road numbered 395.  From
route 38, just north of the 38/44 crossroads, road 395
climbs east (with some minor dips in the middle) for approximately
15 km.  The high point is near the village of Zova.  From there,
Jerusalem is about another 15 km east.  The views along 395
were breathtaking --- pine forests, valleys, and almost no traffic.
also know about a few beautiful spots in southern Thailand.
email me for more info.

			have an adventure, go gently, peace ---
From: Ken Lee
Subject:Re: Beautiful climbs of the world
I don't think anyone's yet mentioned Haleakala on Maui, Hawaii.
The road to the summit goes from sea level (the beach) to 10,000 feet
in about 40 miles.  It never gets really steep, but it is one long haul.
Ken Lee
From: Marc San Soucie
Subject:Re: Beautiful climbs of the world
For me the most beautiful so far is the south side of the Col de la
Croix de Fer in the French Alps.

Second is the ride up to Coldwater Ridge at Mt. St. Helens in southern

Marc San Soucie
From: Stanley Goldstein
Subject:Re: Beautiful climbs of the world
In addition to the climbs in Washington State already mentioned, which 
are beautiful and great fun to ride, I like the ride to Paradise on Mt. 
Rainier from the Nisqually entrance--gorgeous views along the way and 
then the awesomeness of Mt. Rainier at Paradise. The climb from
Camp Ohanapecosh to Cayuse Pass & Chinook Pass, early on crisp, sunny 
morning, is another gem. (And the downhill from Paradise to Camp Ohan.
is a hoot.)  

Stan Goldstein
From: OnThaBeach
Subject:Re: Beautiful climbs of the world
In Colorado, from Estes Park to the top of the pass in Rocky Mountain
National Park, about 25 miles and 4,000 feet of up ending at just short of
12,500 feet. You ride from a high green moutain valley to tundra. At the
top you relax at the park's information center. It's the highest paved
thru-road in North America. So you can retrace your climb of head to
Granby about 35 miles the other way.

For Eastern U.S. mountains, any where on the Blue Ridge Parkway between
Smoky Mountain National Park and Boone,  North Carolina is fine. At times
the road is above 6,000 feet and the scenery is always green spring thru
fall. The grades on the parkway aren't usually steep unless you're dipping
down to main roads and valleys. The Tour DuPont is staged up and down many
of these two-lane roads.

Bruce from Florida where our highest point is 345 feet above sea level but
we ride year-round.
From: Leonard Labar
Subject:Re: Beautiful climbs of the world
In Eastern California, Lassen Summit is nice!  Farther south, Carson Pass is ok
too.  They're especially beautiful in the fall with the all the colors.
From: Al Davis
Subject:Re: Beautiful climbs of the world
Here's a couple more:

Rt. 9 eastbound, Zion National Park, Utah, USA
Rt 12 near Boulder, Utah, USA
Subject:Re: Beautiful climbs of the world
- Port d'Envalira, Andorra (France/Andorra/Spain)
- From Ronda to San Roque, Southern Spain
- From Tetouan through Chefchaouen (the Rif), Morocco
- From Isaq to Takengon (North Sumatera Central Highway), Indonesia

                 Hasta luego (== ich luege hastig).... KERMIT (cyclefrog)!
From: Steve Loughran
Subject:Re: Beautiful climbs of the world
KERMIT wrote:
> - Port d'Envalira, Andorra (France/Andorra/Spain)

It may have been an off day when I rode it, but find it hard to believe
that Evalira could ever be called beautiful.
-It ends in Andorra, a city which resembles the worst of all those duty 
free shops in airports and ferry boats.
-It is used by many Andorrans, all of whom drive badly tuned diesel 
powered vehicles
-you ride past fairly grim ski resorts(*)
-Lots of French tourists drive into Andorra to do duty free shopping 
making traffic worse. Personally, I never want to ride the road again,
 even if at 2407m it's the highest road pass of the Pyrenees. Maybe you 
rode it from the French side and found it better than the climb from Andorra, 
which we did.

Now Col du Parpaillon, a 2645m gentle off-road pass in the Alps between 
Embrun and Barcelonette, that's a beautiful one to do. 


(*) Actually you do this on many climbs, such as Aubisque and Tourmalet 
& Allos, so it can't really count against a climb.
From: Marc Zoutendijk
Subject:Re: Beautiful climbs in the world
Most demanding climb:

Collado del Veleta (3199m) in the Sierra Nevada in Spain.
We did it over the unpaved road starting in Capileira with full packed
mountain bikes. It took me and my wife 10 hours! Fantastic views, nobody
there. The descend to Granada is 40km long.

Other beautiful climbs:

In the Pyrenees (French and Spanish part)
Col de Pailheres (2001m).
Col de Bonaigua (2072m)

Another nice (partly unpaved) climb is the Collado the Roque Blanche
(2200+) (in the Cannigou region).

In the French Alps:
Col de Izoard (2360m)
Col de Galibier (2640m)
Cime de la Bonette (2802m)

From: Bjørn Andersen
Subject:Re: Beautiful climbs of the world
In article (Luddo Oh) says:
>8.  Turtago Norway, (Jotunheimen)
>From summer to winter: beginning at sea level and ending on a plateau
>in a snowy world.

Yes!  Western Norway indeed has several marvellous climbs!  If you go 
here in the summer, you can start at sea level, climbing 1000 m or more 
in say, 15 km.  On the top there may be up to 2-3 meters of snow from 
last winter, except for the road itself, which is cleaned.  During the 
climb, you usually have a wonderful view over the fjord, the abrupt cliffs 
and the glaciers.  If the weather is good, it's just an incredible 

I strongly recommend the following Norwegian distances, which have no tunnels:

Aurlandsvangen-Laerdal (Sognefjorden):  
Starting at sea level, up to more than 1300 meters altitude in about 18 km.
  Max. 10% elevation.  Then about 10 km "flat" upon the mountain, and steep 
down to the sea on the opposite side.

From sea level to 850 m up the impressing "Trollstigen" (i.e.: "ladder of the
Troll" (the ogre, giant)), down to 0 m, up to 650 m, down to 0 m again. Max. 10%.

From sea level up to 1040 m with 10% incline most of the distance.Superb adventure.

Lom-Juvvasshytta (Jotunheimen):  
Northern Europe's highest road.  Starting at about 300 m in Lom, going 
(not steep) up the Boverdalen to about 500 m.  Then, take to the left at
the youth hostel, climbing up the steep, gravelled road "Galdhopiggveien".
It will bring you up to 1840 m in about 14 km.  Maximum incline 15%. 
Arriving the tourist's shelter "Juvvasshytta" at the end of the road, 
you may climb (by feet) Norway's highest peak "Galdhopiggen" (2468 m)
 (no real climbing, just "walking", but you should join a guided company). 

Flam-Myrdal-Finse-Haugastol (East/south in the Sognefjorden, to Hardangervidda).  
Gravelled road.  Beautiful waterfalls of several hundred meters.  Very steep 
to Myrdal at 800 m alt., then rough ground without motor traffic to Finse and
Haugastol, approx. 70 km. Highest point at 1300 m.  This is a very popular
bicycling touring area, mostly free from snow by mid-July to mid-September.

...and many others (these are the places I've ridden myself). 

From: Minko Oh
Subject:Re: Beautiful climbs of the world
Date:1996/01/25 (Bjørn Andersen) wrote:

>Yes!  Western Norway indeed has several marvellous climbs!  
>...and many others (these are the places I've ridden myself). 

If you are prepared for inconveniences like the weather and long unlit
tunnels, Norway is paradise for bikers who love climbs!

Spain is also a country where you can find lots of beautiful climbs.
Besides the Pyrenees (already mentioned) my favorites are:

 * Picos de Europa, Northern Spain
 The climb to Lagos de Covadonga (40 km, 1000 m elevation gain) is an
 illustrious climb in the Vuelta. Very streneous with some steep
 inclines (> 18%). Beautiful scenery, but not recommended on a crowded
 weekend in August though.  A very scenic route around the Picos is 
 the following tour:
 Panes-Cangas de Onis-Posada de Valdeon-Potes-Panes (200 km, 2250 m
 elevation gain)

 * Sierra de Gredos, southern incline of Puerto del Pico
 Take the N502 from Talavera de la Reina. After a nice ride through
 plain meadowland suddenly the vast "wall" of the Gredos Mountains
 appears. The 12 km climb to Puerto del Pico (1352 m) never gets
 really steep. It's just a nice winding climb with magnificent

 * Sierra de Aralar, Basque Country (Northern Spain)
 About 20 km east from Alsasua, a small and steep (paved)
 mountainroad leads from the village Uharte Arakil to the Monastery of

 San Migel de Aralar (1300 m). The vulture colony there will wait 
 patiently for the next biker who didn't make it.. :-)

 * Also in Basque Country: the Monte Jaikibel (448 m)
 Renowned climb from the Classico Sebastian-San Sebastian. Splendid
 views on the Bay of Biscay and inland.
 * Las Alpujarras, Andalucia, Southern Spain
 Probably one of the most scenic routes in Spain is the GR 421 from
 Lanjaron to Trevelez (1476 m), the highest village in Spain. Biking
 along lush subtropical vegetation and characteristic white Andalucian

Also highly recommended are the islands Sardinia (Italy) and Corsica

 * Sopramonte Mountains (East Sardenia)
 Very scenic is the road Tortoli - Dorgali over the Genna Silana pass
 (1017 m).

 * Corsica:
 Porto - Ota - Gorges de Spelunca - Evisa - col de Sevi (1101 m)
 - Sagone - Cargese - les Calanches - Porto (100 km).
 The most scenic tour of Corsica. The irregular eroded rocks
 from les Calanches reminds me of the canyons in Western USA...

Speaking about the US, last year I made a bike trip in
Southern California and from Flagstaff, Az. to Denver, Co. 
Nice scenery. Two climbs I would add to the long list:
* San Jacinto Mountains, Southern California:
 The Palm to Pines highway: Palm Desert (sealevel) - Santa Rosa Summit
 (4919 ft) - Iddylwild -Pine Cove (6165 ft).
 Starting below sea level in a desert oasis, climbing to an
 Alpine environment at 6165 feet with snowcapped mountains.

* Mount Evans, Colorado
 (14,260 feet - Highest Paved Road in the US). It took some time to
 get there from Flagstaff, so I could work on my shape and was
 acclimatized to the high elevation when I finally got there.

Happy climbing!

From: Harry 026
Subject:Re: Beautiful climbs of the world


So far no one has mentioned climbs in one of the best continents
for biking:  South America.  A climb I'll never forget was my first 
crossing of the Andes.  From the town of Los Andes (about 60 miles
north of Santiago, Chile), a gentle climb for 30 miles along the Aconcagua
River took us to "Los Caracoles", a series of 32 switch-backs, where 
the highway steepened.  About 8 miles later we reached the ski area of 
Las Portales (9500 ft), where we spent the night in the ski lodge.  The
next morning a climb of another 2000 feet took us to the entrance to
the tunnel that connects Argentina and Chile. After exiting the tunnel 
we descended 500 feet before turning on to the dirt road that climbs 
up to the Christ of the Andes, located at the top of the pass that was 
used in pre-tunnel days.  The statue, and the views from this pass 
(elevation 13,800 feet) are spectacular.

     This crossing was done on a 7-week self-contained trip I made 
on my mountain bike in 1989.  Besides biking from Santiago to Buenos 
Aires, I also covered a few hundred miles in the Lake Districts of
and Chile (which have an abundant supply of beautiful scenery), and again
crossed the Andes going back to Chile, but this time at much lower
On the entire trip the people were friendly, the accomodations were 
comfortable (and ranged between cheap and affordable), and the food 
(especially in Argentina) was excellent.  During the seven weeks I met 
only three other cycle tourists, one of whom joined me for that Andes 
crossing.  Both Chile and Argentina are excellent countries for bike

     The topographic maps of the Andes show many other passes, but I 
believe that the one I just described is the only one having a paved
I would like to return to South America and explore a few other passes
with my mountain bike.  A route that I have been seriously considering
goes from La Paz Bolivia to Antofagasta Chile, and would require biking 
above 15000 feet for two or three days, and camping in below-freezing
temperatures at night.  I believe the rewards, both scenic and
satisfaction, will be worth the discomfort.  

Harry Baldwin,   San Diego, California
From: David Dermott
Subject:Re: Beautiful climbs in the world
(background music: Climb Every Mountain with Julie Andrews etc.)

Some of my favorite climbs:

 1/ Mackenzie Mountain on the Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia. Climbs from
sea level at Pleasant Bay to about 400 m in about 5 km. Several switchback
turns with great views. Eagles sitting in the trees along the road.

2/ Kaslo to New Denver in British Columbia.  I came down this but it
should be nice going up too.  My first taste of "whitewater cycling". 
For most of the way the road is right beside a river with rapids and

3/ Radium BC to Castle Junction Alberta. This is not a very challenging
climb, just a long gradual climb but superb scenery. There are 2 passes
Sinclair and Vermillion. The surprise is that after crossing the Continental
Divide the road keeps climbing up for another 100 m, reaching 1700 m.

4/ My very best (background music: Griegs "Hall of the Mountain King")
is Sognefjell on Jotunheimen, Norway.  (I think someone already
mentioned this) Starts at sea level at Skjolden and climbs to 1400 m in
15 km.  This has is all.  Treeline is this part of Norway is about 900
m.  On July 1 at the top everything was covered in snow, lakes are
frozen and many glaciers can be seen on the surrounding peaks.  There's
a raging river with lots of waterfalls.  This is "The home of Giants"
Going down the east side is a long gradual descent.

 David Dermott , Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada
From: Richard Birke
Subject:Re: Beautiful climbs of the world
Napa and Sonoma counties in wine country California contain some
spectacular climbs and some very steep grades.  Check out a ride from St
Helena known as Angwin Anguish -- and then check out a good Cabernet.  The
Randall Braun book, Guide to Delta, Farm and Wine Country details a lot of
rides with single 2000 foot steep assaults, and multiple climb rides.  The
are Alpen climbs, but they are a lot more accessible for left coasters!
Professor Richard Birke   
Director, Willamette University Center for Dispute Resolution
From: RentWriter
Subject:Re: Beautiful climbs of the world
In addition to Going to The Sun in Glacier National Park, Zion National
Park, Ouray and Silverton in Colorado and Vevey in Switzerland that have
already been previously been mentioned as beautiful climbs, I would like
to add a few nominations of my own:
1. Volcanos National Park, Hawaii ( a 4000 foot gradual climb going from
sea-level through the Ka'u desert up to the steam vents and the tropical
rain forest)
2. Big Sur, California along the No. California Coast. It winds up, down
and around and the views are spectacular!
3. Icefields Parkway, B.C. Canada (from Banff to Jasper National Park)
4. Mt. Diablo, Calif. (3,900 feet) On a clear fall day you can see all the
way from the Pacific Coast to the peaks of the Sierra Nevada Mountains).
5. Markleeville, CA Death Ride Climbs
From: Vorberg
Subject:Re: Beautiful climbs of the world
The hardest climbs are not necessarily the finest.
Some of my favorites:
1. Col de Perty (France, north of Mont Ventoux)
2. Forclaz de Montmin (France, east side of the Lac d'Annecy, steep)
3. Massif du Vercors (France, sw of Grenoble, a lot of climbs; the finest:
col du Rousset)
4. Cormet de Roseland (France, se of Albertville, not as crowded as the
other big ones in the french Alps)
5. Col de la Lombarde (France/Italy, may be combined to a round trip with
Bonnette and Larche/Maddalena)
6. Another classic round trip in Switzerland: Susten - Grimsel - Furka
7. Various climbs in the back-country of Nice/Nizza (Col de Braus)
8. Collado de Boixols (Catalunya/Spain)
9. Red Mountain Pass (Colorado, north side)
10. Coll de Soller (Mallorca/Spain, only 500 m above sea level, but 30
switchbacks - on both sides!)

BTW: For collectors, there is a "Catalogue des cols de France", available
at the F.F.C.T. (8, rue Jean-Marie Jego, F-75013 Paris), with more than
1500 paved passes and some 6000 other ones.

Bonne route

Ludger Vorberg
From: Wendela Schlebaum
Subject:Re: Beautiful climbs of the world
Most of the climbs I enjoyed are already mentioned 
(climbs in the pyrenees and Corse), a bit more remote (for
europeans) is the Arthur's Pass in New Zealand, South Island
It's also the hardest climb that I have done so far (harder than the
Tourmalet in the Pyrenees)

From: Paul Kuty
Subject:Re: Beautiful climbs of the world
I've done many and most great but the one that impressed me the most
was the "Going to the Sun Highway" in Glacier Nat. Park

Paul Kuty
Francestown, N.H.
From: Tom Phillips
Subject:Re: Beautiful climbs of the world
How about the 16,000 foot of ascent on tarmac from Arica in Northern Chile
to the Worlds highest lake which sits under a beatiful snowcapped volcano
on the Bolivian border. About 150 miles of cycling with the bulk of the
ascent in a 40 mile stretch.

Even wilder is the track up Volcan Aucanquilcha to 20,250 feet. which I
rode last summer. I've posted the full report of my trip in this newsgroup.

From: Joe Bracchitta:
Here's one missing from the list; Mt. Washington Auto Road, New Hampshire, USA. 

The Mt.Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb has been called the toughest in the world. 
Only 7.6 miles long, it nonetheless climbs over 4700 feet at an average grade of 12%, 
sections at 18%, and the last 200 yards at 22.5%. There are 72 turns and switchbacks, 
and the longest straight section is only 3/10 of a mile long. 

And then there's the weather. As home to the planet's highest recorded wind speed, 
(231mph), and notoriously unpredictable weather patterns, a trip up Mt. Washington 
can be a challenge any time of the year. 

Bring your low gears! 

I've race it 4 times....happy climbing! 

Joe Bracchitta 

what is your favourite climb?

© 2002 Luddo Oh