Un-passable in the winter, un-missable in the summer this is a legendary climb which regularly inflicts pain and suffering on World Tour riders as they make their way to the summit.
Like many climbs in the Alps, there are many staging points to start an ascent. Many will start in Lanslebourg-Mont-Cenis, but regardless of where you start, this climb is a tough one, especially to combine with another – unless you're ready for a very big day out.
The climb starts in Bonneval-sur-Arc, or in this case Bourg-St-Maurice. It is always hard to ride a climb and not see the other side, so 'up and over' I went.
970m of climbing in 13km with an average gradient of 7.3%. With huge vistas like these, it is climbing paradise.
The landscape turns from lush green valleys to rugged sheer cliff faces.
In turning the corner, the iconic Pont de la neige "Snow bridge" is in view. And with that, the wind picked-up and the temperatures cooled.
Mid July and the snow bands are still present.
Like many world famous climbs there are colourful fan markings on the road, sharing its race heritage.
The summit. If you've made the pilgrimage from this direction then it is worth descending towards Bourg-St-Maurice, beyond the lake. (Or, further!) To enjoy the views of the other side.