Cycling Klausenpass East, Glarus Alps
Ride 22.3 kilometers gaining 1,299 meters at 5.8% average grade.
Warning: Long tunnel so bring lights.
This is an extremely scenic climb that is harder than its average 5.8% grade suggests. There is a 5.5 kilometer 1.8% nearly flat section in the middle of the climb that reduces the average grade by a couple of percentage points. The first 8.5 kilometers and last 8 kilometers each average 7.2%.
Summary by PJAMM friend and contributor Helmuth Dekkers (NL)
I combined Pragelpass with Klausenpass but cycled bot from the eastern side. So I descended from the top of the Pragelpass back to Glarus and then I cycled to Linthal which is where the ascent to the Klausenpass starts. From Glarus to Linthal is a little less than 18km and only goes up with 168m. The actual ascents start at the bridge over the Linth river. Shortly after at the start of the first hairpin turn the cobbles are encountered. Fortunately it's only the first 2 hairpins that are cobbled and not the rest of the ascent. It's just 300-400m of cobbles which are in fact not too bad.
This is a very scenic bike climb.
After ~700m you enter a gallery which shortly afterwards turns into a tunnel. This tunnel is ~550m long and there is no shoulder for bikes so bring at least a tail light and preferably also headlights. Visibility in tunnels is key! After ~9km of around 8% the road flattens out and the valley opens up and offers a broad view on the surrounding mountains of the Urnerboden valley.
The road stays flat for ~5.5km and then starts to make its way up again via 2 hairpin turns. Then a 1km almost straight stretch of road before another set of 4 hairpins are encountered. When you have taken these you see the rock wall of a cirque at the end of the valley and might think how will I ever get out of this valley as the road seems to lead straight to the cirque. The road then first curves to the left and with a hairpin back to the right. Here you cycle past the really impressive cirque as the rock walls tower high above you. It's spectacular! And then, if you can turn your head away from the Cirque which is like a magnet to your eyes, you see neatly tucked away against the rocks the road going up with a lot of twists and turns. It looks like a Formula 1 circuit! When you have mastered that part you'll see the saddle where the actual pass is located. But it's still 2km to go at around 7% before you reach it though.
This is a magnificent pass. Not a lot of traffic, it offers great views including the views on the dramatic cirque and then there are the numerous hairpins which make it feel like a true alpine pass. It's a gem!
Please note it is possible to descend down to Altdorf and then cycle on to Flüelen to follow the road along the Vierwalstattersee to Brunnen. From Brunnen you can cycle up the Pragelpass and then down to Glarus. This is a 127km loop with close to 3,000m difference in level.
Bruder Klaus Kapelle
Collage built by PJAMM with photos from Divisare.com
This chapel was built by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor and consecrated May 19, 2007. The chapel was transferred by its benefactors to the Nikolaus von der Flue Prayer Foundation which preserves and cares for it now.
Thank you Helmuth.