Col d'Aubisque climb via Laruns

Mountain views from the top of the Col d'Aubisque

Col d'Aubisque Tour de France Pedigree

The Col d'Aubisque climb is one of the most mountain passes of the Pyrenees. Having first featured in the Tour de France in 1910, it has been a regular inclusion ever since. The climb has also been used regularly in the Vuelta a España, owing to how close it is to the Spanish border.

Western Approach of Col d'Aubisque

The western approach of the Col d'Aubisque climb begins in the small town of Laruns. Riding to the summit from this side of the range is by far more challenging than the eastern approach, however it is also the side which is most renowned. The first half of the climb is noticeably easier in terms of gradient which gives you a good opportunity to settle into a nice rhythm. Weather on this section of the mountain range is often quite changeable as well. You can expect to either climb out of the clouds as you make your way towards the summit, or indeed conversely, you may be ascending into thick fog. The atmosphere this creates is very unique to the mountains and this range in particular.

Steeper gradients in the second half of the climb

The second half of the climb is certainly a bigger test of the legs. Indeed the average gradient for the second half of the climb is 8%. As cliché as it may sound, we really believe the spectacular views as you make your way closer to the summit will help take the sting out of the legs. Once you pass the ski station of Gourette you will really feel you are in the heart of the mountains and the views here are breathtaking. You'll also have to contend with double digit gradients peaking at 12% so make sure you keep something in reserve for this. Once you reach the summit you will see the three big bikes – an homage to the Tour de France heritage of this climb. There are often herds of cattle, horses and sheep at the top as well. During the cycling season the summit is a hive of activity – if you want the climb to yourself make sure to set off very early!

Quick Stats

Distance: 83.1km / 51.6mi

Start elevation: 527m / 1,729ft

Max elevation: 1,709m / 5,607ft

Metres climbed: 2,633m / 6,940ft

Metres descended: 2,633m / 6.940ft

Categorised climbs: 1

Large bike sculptures at the top of the Col d'Aubisque

The big bikes at the summit of the Aubisque.

Food and water

There are multiple options for refuelling along the climb. These are listed for you below:

  • Laruns – located at the base of the climb
  • Eaux-Bonnes – 9.5km / 6miles from the summit
  • Gourette – the ski resort is located 4km/ 2.5mi from the summit
  • Col d'Aubisque summit

Highlights

* The Col d'Aubisque climb is one of the most famous mountain passes of the Tour de France.

* The weather over this mountain range is changeable – climbing out of the low cloud is certainly special.

Col d'Aubisque summit cafe

The summit of Col d'Aubisque climb is a hive of activity with many cyclists making their way to the top from May to Oct.

Col d'Aubisque climb via Laruns

(western approach)

Length: 16km / 7.5mi

Average gradient: 7.2%

Start point: Laruns

Elevation at top: 1709m / 5607ft

Discover our comprehensive guide to Cycling in the Pyrenees

The Col d'Aubisque climb is just one of many great cycling routes in the Hautes Pyrenees which you can enjoy. This area of the Pyrenees is very popular with cyclists who are keen to ride some of the famous climbs of the Tour de France for themselves.

If you are not familiar with this region then, our comprehensive guide will help you plan everything you need for your cycling holiday. The guide includes information such as:

  • a map of the French Pyrenees with climbs and towns marked
  • where to base yourself whist on your cycling holiday
  • cycling hotels and lodges
  • bike hire outlets
  • getting to and from the Pyrenees
  • non-cycling attractions and activities in the region

Click here to see a list of cycling routes available in the Pyrenees. We have mapped out 38 rides across five regions within the Pyrenees mountain range for you to explore.


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