Pic du Midi de Bigorre Bike Climb - PJAMM Cycling

6.5
FIETS
3.6 mi
DISTANCE
1,868 ft
GAINED
9.2 %
AVG. GRADE

FULL CLIMB STATS

INTRO

The ride to Pic du Midi de Bigorre from Col du Tourmalet is a jewel in the crown of global gravel cycling. This route isn't just a climb; it's an adventure that tests your mettle and rewards you with stunning vistas and exhilarating experiences. By combining this extraordinary ascent with the legendary Col du Tourmalet, cyclists are treated to a rare blend of rugged natural beauty and a thrilling challenge. This road+gravel route stands as a testament to the spirit of cycling, offering an unparalleled experience that resonates with every pedal stroke. Join us in conquering this majestic path, where every turn brings a new perspective and every summit a sense of unparalleled achievement

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Gravel Class 3
Gravel bike with low gears and 40c+ tires. 
Before heading out on any cycling adventure check out our Things to Bring on a Cycling Trip and use our interactive check list to ensure you don't forget anything.
This route is in the Pyrenees cycling hub of Luz Saint Sauveur and Argeles Gazost.

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CLIMB SUMMARY

Cycling Pic du Midi de Bigorre Access Road

Ride 5.8 kilometers gaining 569 meters at 9.2% average grade.

Final hairpins to Col du Tourmalet from Luz Saint-Sauveur.

The Pyrenees, with their rugged beauty and rich history, have long been a magnet for cyclists seeking challenging routes and breathtaking landscapes. Among the many iconic climbs in this mountain range, Col du Tourmalet stands out as a legendary pass that has tested the mettle of countless cyclists. However, for those seeking a less-traveled path that combines adventure and natural wonder, the gravel road leading from Col du Tourmalet to the Pic du Midi Observatory offers a thrilling alternative.

The journey begins at Col du Tourmalet itself, a col that has witnessed the triumphs and struggles of cycling legends. Leaving the asphalt behind, you'll follow a gravel road that winds through the pristine Pyrenees landscape.

As you pedal higher into the mountains, you'll encounter breathtaking vistas at every turn. Snow-capped peaks, lush meadows, and the distant shimmer of the observatory atop Pic du Midi serve as constant reminders of the natural beauty surrounding you.

Climb summary by PJAMM’s Gravel Director, Jeremiah Bishop:  

I rode Pic du Midi on July 5, 2022 as the final leg of my Impossible Route - Tour de Gravel.  On that day, Tyler Pearce and I rode 312 kilometers (194 miles) and climbed 6,890 meters (22,605’) beginning in Bayonne on the Bay of Biscay at the northern end of the Pyrenees.

Jeremiah's Impossible Route Strava page

As for Pic du Midi, the dramatic cliff side ascent is amazing, it features 2 tunnels, stone retaining walls, and jaw dropping vistas. Topping out at an elevation of 2,675m (8,776ft) you can look down on the Tourmalet like a toy train set. With the addition of the formidable western side of the Tourmalet from Luz-Saint-Sauveur the full climb covers an extra 19.0 km (11.8 mi), climbing an additional 1,404 m (4,606 ft) making this a monster climb of over 1,952m (6,402ft).

The road to the observatory was built over 100 years ago and like many of the best gravel climbs in the World it served a purpose!   The Pic du Midi de Bigorre Observatory, located atop the Pic du Midi de Bigorre in the French Pyrenees at an elevation of 2,877 meters, is an iconic astronomical observatory. Its construction commenced in 1878 and was completed in 1908.  

This combination of an extraordinary observatory with a rich history of astronomical discoveries and a challenging access road makes the journey to Pic du Midi de Bigorre a unique and rewarding experience for gravel bike enthusiasts and astronomy aficionados alike.

Pic du Midi from Luz Saint-Sauveur

Ride 24.7 kilometers gaining 1,937 meters at 7.9% average grade.

Col du Tourmalet has been featured in the Tour de France more than any other climb.

Pic du Midi from Sainte-Marie-de-Campan

Ride 22.8 kilometers gaining 1803 meters at 7.9% average grade

(same average gradient as from Luz Saint-Sauveur).

Start of the climb from the Saint-Marie de Campan side.