Page Contributor(s): Ard Oostra, Montreux, Switzerland
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Ride 17.3 kilometers gaining 1,460 meters at 8.3% average grade (9% climb only)
Climb begins in Naters (population 10,073)
This World Top 100 bike climb is #14 in Switzerland and is located in the extraordinary cycling climbing area of Valais south and southeast of Lake Geneva.
The climb ends in site of the Aletsch Glacier
The Aletsch Glacier is the largest glacier in the Alps with a length of 23 kilometers covering about 82 square kilometers. This is a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2001.
“The extension of the natural World Heritage property of Jungfrau - Aletsch - Bietschhorn (first inscribed in 2001), expands the site to the east and west, bringing its surface area up to 82,400 ha., up from 53,900. The site provides an outstanding example of the formation of the High Alps, including the most glaciated part of the mountain range and the largest glacier in Eurasia. It features a wide diversity of ecosystems, including successional stages due particularly to the retreat of glaciers resulting from climate change. The site is of outstanding universal value both for its beauty and for the wealth of information it contains about the formation of mountains and glaciers, as well as ongoing climate change. It is also invaluable in terms of the ecological and biological processes it illustrates, notably through plan succession. Its impressive landscape has played an important role in European art, literature, mountaineering and alpine tourism.” Unesco.org - Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch
Climb report and photos by PJAMM ambassador Ard Oostra, Montreux, Switzerland.
Start and first part of climb.
Both the asphalt section and gravel part are steep. There is hardly any part to have intermediate recovery. The upper gravel part is mostly smooth but in the curves although there sometimes is loose gravel and stones.
Middle section of the climb.
At the steepest parts there are two lines of some sort of concrete tiles / slabs with holes in them. It increases the adherence of the tires, but with a racing bike its unconfortable (similar feeling to cobblestones). I used 23 mm tires in front and 25mm in the back and it is doable. I only had to walk some 50 meters after my rear wheel slipped. But with the smaller tires both in the ascent and downhill the road surface forces to slow down in some places. So, wider tires -or even better a MTB-, are recommended.
Last segment of climb before the top.
I've not seen cyclists on a racing bike that day. I saw several MTBs but don't be surprised in Switzerland to see that most of them are ebikes or downhill MTBs (people take the cable lift up with their bike from Blatten to near Belalp). Overall its a scenic ride, in the upper part the alpine scenery and the little villages with their chalets are worthwhile visiting.
We climb to the ski resort of Belalp
Finish just above the village of Belalp at the bottom of Bruchegg and Sparhorn ski lifts.
Thank you Ard!!