Col de Couraduque via Col des Borderes
This riding loop takes you to the summit of two lesser-known Cols in the Pyrenees – the Couraduque and Borderes. Neither of these climbs is very long although each has sections of steep pitches that will test your legs. This ride includes a circuit around the base of the Vallèe du Lavedan which provides a nice, scenic warm-up.
Col des Borderes
Whilst the official climb of Borderes may only indicate a short 2.9km climb, Once you reach the village of Saint-Savin the road to get to the start is all uphill. Indeed, from Argeles Gazost it is a steady 11km undulating climb all the way to the village of Estaing. You will be on a relatively quiet road which is quite scenic as it winds its way through small villages like Saint-Savin, and onwards past small farms. We definitely recommend taking in the vista from the lookout to the left of the town square at Saint-Savin for a commanding view of the surrounding valley. In the main, the gradient to the base of the climb is never too steep although be aware some pitches do reach double-digit gradients.
Once you reach Estaing you will take a right turn which indicates you are now on the climb proper to the summit. Just shy of 3kms the steep gradients will keep you honest. A long stretch of over 11% may see you climb out of the saddle as you wind your way to the top of the climb. You may be forgiven for missing the actual summit of Borderes, as there isn’t much to be seen at the top. A small sign does indicate the peak has been reached so keep an eye out for it on your right if you want a photo at the top. From there you will enjoy a short and fast descent to Arrens Marsous.
Col de Couraduque
From Arrens Marsous the road continues downhill for a further three kilometers to the village of Aucun. Once here, you will take a left turn onto the climb of the Couraduque. The fun of the downhill will quickly be a distant memory as you hit the steep pitches of the lower slopes. Indeed, you will have long sections of continuous double-digit gradients for the first two kilometers of the climb. After this, the road does ease up slightly and the switchbacks continue to take you higher to the summit. The road to the top ends at the base of the Couraduque ski station and there is a small cafe there where you can purchase food and drinks. We recommend taking some time here to take in the view of the road and valley below. It is also not unusual to be able to see people paragliding from the mountain.
The road to the top is one way so you will descend back the way you came. Once at the bottom of the climb turn left and enjoy the exhilarating fast descent back to your starting point of Argeles Gazost.
Suggested cycling route
Distance: 71km / 44.1mi
Start elevation: 470m / 1,541ft
Max elevation: 1,367m / 4,485ft
Metres climbed: 1,620m / 5,314ft
Metres descended: 1,620m / 5,314ft
Categorised climbs: 2
The lookout at Saint-Savin offers up great views of the Vallée de Gaves and is well worth stopping at.
Food and water
Food and water is available from Saint-Savin, as well as Arrens Marsous.
- The scenic ride along the Vallèe du Lavedan which traces the stunning Gave de Pau river.
- Commanding views from the lookout at Saint Savin.
- Spotting paragliders soaring high above you as you climb to the summit of Couraduqe.
- The exhilirating fast final descent back to Argeles Gazost.
The Abbaye of Saint-Savin-en-Lavedan dates back to the 10th Century.
Col des Borderes
Length: 2.9km / 1.8mi
Average gradient: 5.76%
Start point: Estaing
Elevation at top: 1,156m / 3,793ft
Col de Couraduque
Length: 6.5km / 4.04mi
Average gradient: 7.69%
Start point: Aucun
Elevation at top: 1,367m / 4,485ft
The Col des Borderes will sting the legs with steep gradients of 13% to be found.
This beautiful mountain stream is situated at the bottom of the Col des Borderes.
The Col de Couraduque may be short at 8kms but with very steep gradients you will be pleased to reach the summit.