Col des Gentianes Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

13.2 mi
5,888 ft
8 %


Page Contributor(s): Ard Oostra, Switzerland


Col des Gentianes is to World Top 100 climb in the Top World Climb Area of Sion (Caveat - requires gravel bike). Some of the climb is on gravel, but Ard Oostra advises that a strong rider can do the climb on 33mm tires, although there are very steep gravel sections that can be challenging on the road bike. The road is paved to about 1700 m then coarse gravel to the top at 2900 m. At the top of the road is a cable car station that will take you another 400 meters to Mont Fort. The last half of the climb is above tree line with exceptional views.

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Col des Gentianes Climb Summary


And why else would there be a road to this desolate venue?

A huge thanks to our good friend Ard Oostra for identifying this World 100 Bike Climb for us - Thanks much Ard!

  Caveat - gravel bike recommended.  

We do recommend a gravel bike for this but Ard Oostra advises that it can be done on a road bike:

“I've climbed Gentianes with my MTB that is visible on the photos, tires are about 35mms.
But a cyclist in good condition and the right gear ratio might also be able to climb with a road bike and 28 mm tires. The downhill in the upper part might than be a bit tricky.”

This Top 100 World Bad Ass climb is a punishing 21 kilometers from 1,200 meters to an eye (lung) popping 2,896 meters!  Of course the road access a ski resort - why else in the world would there be a road to this god forsaken place.  By the way, you can take the tram up in 6 minutes versus 3+ hours by bike.  


Tram = 10 meters per second . . . bike . . . uhhhh . . . not quite that . . .

The views along this climb are absolutely stunning and we highly recommend this climb, although on a cross/gravel bike v. road bike.


We love cycling in Switzerland.


Timing could have been a little better . . .

If the views weren’t enough to justify this climb, it’s also a top 100 World Climb at 21 km, 7.9% average grade peaking out at 2,896 meters.  This is one of the highest point on a bike you can reach in Europe, by the way (Pico de Veleta topping the charts by a good stretch).

The steepest ½ kilometer of this brute is 18.2% beginning at km 17.


O.k. - if your climb has a special place in Dangerous Roads heart, your on to something!

“Col des Gentianes is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 2.906m (9,534ft) above the sea level, located in the district of Entremont in the canton of Valais in Switzerland. It's one of the highest mountain roads of Europe.

The trail to the top is extreme. It’s rough, narrow and steep. It's usually impassable from September to June. It's one of the highest mountain roads of the country.
The trail to the top starts in Verbier. It’s very steep with sudden loose-gravel breaks. Words can’t describe the road and pictures don’t do it justice. The pass is set in a typical high altitude landscape, on the edge of a glacier. On the summit there’s a stunning restaurant made up of a self service area, a bar area and a lounge where you can relax and enjoy coffee, hot chocolate or wines. The restaurant offers typical mountain cuisine with steaks, pastas, sandwiches, salads and snacks.
With such a high summit altitude the road can be closed anytime due to snowfalls. The zone is prone to heavy mist and can be dangerous in low visibility conditions. Do not travel this pass in severe weather conditions. Avalanches, heavy snowfalls and landslides can occur anytime, being extremely dangerous due to frequent patches of ice. It has a well-deserved reputation for being dangerous because of unpredictable snowstorms and blizzards, and driving under these conditions, can be extremely challenging.” Read more at

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