Col de la Croix de Fer- West Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

Col de la Croix de Fer- West


Great scenery and views of Lac de Grand Maison on the way to The Iron Cross.

Explore this Climb

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Climb Summary

Cycling Col de la Croix de Fer, North - Lac de Grand Maison and quarry

Cycling Col de la Croix de Fer from the west.

24.2 km / 1,635 m / 5.2%

This is a wonderful and scenic climb that begins just north of Lac du Verney and is not far from La Garde (the start of the Alpe d’Huez climb). There are three routes to the Col de la Croix de Fer (“Pass of the Cross”) and we have charted those in the map in the menu bar at the bottom of this page. The northern approach to this pass is by far the most difficult of the three.

Climbing Col de la Croix de Fer, North by bike - Iron Cross at summit

The Pass of the Cross has been featured in the Tour de France 19 times between 1947 and 2017. 

There are three popular approaches to the Col -- from the East, West, and North.  The Northern and Western approaches overlap Col du Glandon.  Here are the basic statistics for the three Croix de Fer climbs, together with the overlap information for Col du Glandon:

  • Col de la Croix de Fer East (Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne) -- this is the only route that does not overlap Col du Glandon: 28.5 kilometers gaining 1602 meters at 5.2% average grade.
  • Col de la Croix de Fer West (Le Verney): 24.2 kilometers gaining 1489 meters at 5.2%.
  • Col du Glandon West (Le Verney):  22.5 kilometers gaining 1365 meters at 5% (all overlapping Croix de Fer West).
  • Col de la Croix de Fer North (Saint-Étienne-de-Cuines):  23.2 kilometers gaining 1609 meters at 6.9%.
  • Col du Glandon East (Saint-Étienne-de-Cuines):  19.6 kilometers  gaining 1530 meters at 7.4% (all overlapping Croix de fer North).

Bike climb of Col de la Croix de Fer, West  - km marker

We ride through Le Rivier D’Allemont at kilometer 6.

Bicycle ride of Col de la Croix de Fer, West  - roadway and Lac de Grand Maison

Pass L’Eau d’Olle for 3½ km beginning at km 15.3.

Biking Col de la Croix de Fer, West  - roadway sign

Turn right at km 21.5 for the last 3½ km to the Col.

Biking Col de la Croix de Fer, West  - ski lifts, ski chair and cable, mountins

During the winter, ski country . . .

Climbing by bike Col de la Croix de Fer, West  - sheep grazing

. . . but during the off season, we have to share the slopes!

Cycling Col de la Croix de Fer, West  - John Johnson of PJAMM Cycling at Col sign


Gino Bartali and Louison Bobet -- Croix de la Fer TdF 1948.

Photo: Silvano Bottaro, Pinterest

Through 2020, Col du Glandon has been included in the Tour de France 13 times since it was first introduced in 1947.  After 1947, Glandon was not included until 1977, and has been included sparingly thereafter (averaging once about every four years, 13 times in the 43 years).

The Glandon climbs are in the Saint Jean-de-Maurienne climbing zone.