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The Pyrenees

The French have the advantage of being able to choose between two major mountain regions to go cycling in without leaving the country. (Maybe that's why they also deserve more than twice as much vacation compared to us). The mountain region, that is usually put in second place is of course "The Pyrenees". They are further south, and with that they tend to be greener and more pastoral. They are also a more linear range, rather than the complex maze that makes up the alps. Many of the roads and villages are more islolated than further north, and the climbs are shorter but on the French side, often infamously steep. The Spanish side often is more remote, gentler and more heavily forested than the French side.

The list of summits below, are the ones I have been able to try. The "more" tabs on the map contain many, many more. The pictures are a mixture of what I took myself and others that I found on the web and recognized where they were taken (all are accompanied by copyright credits).



Alphabetic Table

  Andorra
O Ordino (Collado de) - 1981m: popular, high cycling pass with both approaches in Andorra.
Pequera (Alto de) s(u) -1821m: smooth surface Vuelta climb with amazingly nonexistant traffic
  France
A Ares (Col des) -799m: a low pass near Bagneres-de-Luchon, that makes a pleasant detour
Arnosteguy (Col d') -1236m: steep and narrow road to Basque pastures on the Spanish border
Arthaburo s(u) -1160m: unnamed summit surrounded by famously steep and narrow passes near St-Jean-de-la-Port
Aspin (Col d') -1489m: popular Tour de France Pass with a perfect view on the Pic du Midi de Bigorre
Aubisque (Col d') -1709m: one of the most popular and scenic Pyrenees rides, because of a traverse along the face of a cliff
Ausines (Col des) -620m: low pass across from the Massif de Canigou. Three roads meet here, making many loops possible
Aussieres (Col d') -1060m: pastoral eastern Pyerenees pass, going by a Cathar castle
Azet (Col d') -1580m: foothills climb with a long Tour-de-France hystory
B Bales (Port de) -1755m: compared to the other Bagneres-de-Luchon Tour-de-France passes, this one is remote and wild.
Bagargui (Col de) -1327m: climbs from dense rain forest to a small ski area - very popular with racers, and short very steep parts
Beyrede (Col de) -1430m: a small rough road pass, wich is a alternate to nearby busy passes made famous through the Tour de France.
Borderes (Col de) -1156m: a low traffic alternative to the lower approach of Col d'Aubisque
Burdincurutcheta (Col de) -1138: gateway to many narrow road passes in the Atlantic Pyrenees
G Gamia (Col de) -503m: low traffic and low elevation option, to complete some pass loops from St-Jean-Pied-de-Port
H Hautacam(ow) -1520m: Tour-de-France climb to ski area. Best scenery is above here
Hourquette d'Anzican s(u) -1564m: a popular ride through a series of high grazing meadows with sweeping views
J Jau (Col de) -1506m: road across Pyrenean foothill plateau with fascinating old towns alogn the way.
L Lac d'Aumart/ d'Aubert(ow) -2200m: rough road to a reservoir and other wild lakes near the Spanish border
Lancon (Col de) -1120m: an often overlooked narrow road in a maze of famous passes
M Mel (Col de) -1760m: obscure, small alternate crossing to the better know Col de la Perche
Mente (Col de) -1349m: a Bagneres-de-Luchon Tour de France climb in the foothills
Mollo (Colle/Cod de) -231m: a low pass between the seaside town Coullioure and the Tour de Madeloc
P Palomere (Col de) -1036m: remote curvy road near the Massif de Canigou, highest mountain in the eastern Pyrenees
Perche (Col de la) -1579m: main traffic crossings between Prades in France and Puigcerda in Spain.
Peyresroude (Col de) -1569m: a Tour de France favorite, because it just happens to be between Col du Tourmalet and eastern Pyrennes.
Plateau Salinas s(u) -2210m: one side paved, one side trail, leading to the top of this high grassy plateau on the French Spanish border above Puigcerda and the .Col des Pradeilles.
Portet (Col de) -2215m: steep one-way paved Tour-de-France climb to a ski station
Portillon (Col du) -1320m: low border pass between France and Spain. The main ridge of the Pyrenees is located on the Spanish side here.
Puymorens (Col de) -1915m: main historical crossing and still a highway between Spain and France, with Andorra just around the corner
R Roque Jalere (Col de) -991m: great views of the Canigou Massif from this open and windy summit on a high and dry plateau
S Segus s(u) -570m: closest small climb to Lourdes and its cathedral - a tiny road through small villages
Spandelles (Col de) -1378m: extremely narrow road climb with heavy bicycle traffic near Col de Soulor
St Ignace (Col de via Sarre) s(u) -190m: this low pass is on a ride around "La Rhune", a landmark mountain on the Atlantic coast
Superbagneres(ow) -1780m: a famous Tour-de-France climb to a ski station, which is also a great starting point to hike the mountains above
Tentes (Col de)(ow) -2208m: paved out and back climb into a National Park and World Heritage area. On a trail a decent into Spain is possible.
T Tour de Madeloc s(u) - 450m: a narrow two way summit road directly above the Mediterranean sea, with an out and back to an old fortification tower,
Tourmalet (Col de) -2015m: no other pass is more strongly associated with the Tour de France - the first pass above 2000m in the race
  Spain
A Aisa (Alto de) s(u) -1227m: an isolated road between two removed medieval villages
Arnat (Collado d') s(u) -1340m: top is unpaved; 18 tight switchbacks down a steep limestone canyon outside Seu d'Urgell
B Beret (Puerto de) -1890m: a wild unpaved alternative to nearby Puerto Bonaiqua
Bonaiqua (Port de) -2072m: the pass crosses the main ridge of the Pyrenees, which is located completely in Spain here.

Buerba s(u) -1175m: 36km of so much scenery, that I spent more time taking pictures than cycling
C Canto (Port de) -1725m: within 300 meters of the magic 2000 meter mark. But this pass goes over a large, gentle green foothill ridge.
Cotefablo (Pto de) -1423m: fairly busy pass on the Spanish Transpyrenean Axis route
Creu de Perves s(u) -1334m: a fairly long. rolling plateau above tree line over several named divides and two hilltowns along the way.
E Estany de Montcortes s(u) -1070m: a small summit with a fascinating hilltown.
Eyne s(u) -1620m: small detour on a smaller more pleasant road, while heading for Col de la Perce
F Fadas (Coll de) -1470m: also goes over shoulder point Collado de Espina; a busy rugged limestone canyon on the west side.
Fanlo (Alto de)  s(u) -1399m: The hilltown Fanlo watches from high above over the entrance to Parque Nacional Odesa y Monte Perdido
Foradada (Coll de) -1020m: the closest thing to a highway pass I have cycled sofar in Spain
H Hecho (Alto de) -1100m: link in a foothill traverse along the Pyrenees
I Ibaneta (Collado de) -1057m: border pass with extensive history of conflicts, with remnants and displays therof
Ibarburua (Col de via D417) s(u) -1080m: narrow road pass to herding area above tree line, with several options to get to the top from St-Jean-Pied-de-Port
Ibardin (Col d') -317m: low French-Spanish border pass with shopping on top, in spite of the narrow road
J Jaizkibe (Alto de) -451m: directly above the Atlantic with great views of it and the Pyrenean foothills on the other side
L Larrau (Puerto de) -1573m: an infamously steep climb on the French side leads to a sweeping tundra traverse along the Spanish border.

Los Molinos s(u) -940m: a small sideroad summit in Paruqe Nacional Odesa y Monte Perdido area, with a sidetrip to a very "out of the way" Hermitage church.
M Montllobar (Collado de) s(u) -1050m: this part of the Eastern Pyrenees are a fascinating semi dessert.
P Pierre St-Martin (Col de la) -1802m: high karst topography with glaciated horn in the distance and megalythic ski area along the French Spanish border

Pic de l'Orri s(u) -2439m: a high ski mountain with a far panoramic view of the Pyrenean main ridge. With a mountain bike you can ride a loop over the peak

Portillon (Col du) -1320m: border between Spanish and French Pyrenees; but it never reaches treeline, and weather it crosses the main ridge of the Pyrenees is arguable.
S Santa Barbara (Puerto de) -875m: gentle foothills pass, that gives a panoramic view of the Pyreneen main ridge; with a limestone canyon along the southern approach.
Songuera(sh) -1220m: bumpy two way summit on the way to an amazing out and back hilltop town.
T Trava (Collado de la) -1510m: old villages on low traffic road, not far from Metro-Andorra, maybe some of the best cycling of Andorra is in here in adjoining Spain
U Urkiaga (Collado de) -890m: small road alternative to Collado Ibaneta on the French border
Z Zuriza (Alto de) -1290: idyllic summit pastures give way to an isolated road through a narrow limestone canyon

Elevation Table

Name elevation (m) surface country-region nearby towns
  2000-2249      
Pic de l'Orri s(u) 2439m unpaved Spain Sort
Portet (Col de)(ow) 2215m paved France St-Lary-Soulan
Plateau de Salinas s(u) 2210m unpaved France Puigcerda
Tentes (Col de)(ow) 2208m paved France Argeles-Gazost
Lac d'Aumart/ d'Aubert(ow) 2160m paved France St-Lary-Soulan
Bonaiqua (Port de) 2072m paved Spain Vielha
Tourmalet (Col du) 2015m paved France Bagneres de Bigorre, Argeles-Gazost
  1750-1999      
Ordino (Coll de) 1981m paved Andorra Andorra-La Veilla
Puymorens (Col du) 1915m paved France/ Spain Puigcerda
Beret (Puerto de) 1890m unpaved Spain Vielha
Alto de Pequera s(u) 1821m paved Andorra Andorra-La Veilla
Pierre St-Martin (Col de la) 1802m paved Spain/France Isaba, Tardets-Sorhous
Superbagnere(ow) 1780m paved France Bagnere de Luchon
Mel (Col de) 1760m paved Spain Mt Louis
Bales (Port de) 1755m paved France Bagneres de Luchon
  1500-1749m      
Canto (Port de) 1725m paved Spain Sort
Aubisque (Col d') 1709m paved France Argeles-Gazost
Eyne s(u) 1620m paved Spain Puigcerda
Azet (Col d') 1580m paved France St-Lary-Soulan
Perche (Col de la) 1579m paved France St Louis
Puerto de Larrau 1573m paved France/Spain Larrau, Isaba
Peyresroude (Col de) 1569m paved France Bagneres de Luchon
Hourquette d'Anzican s(u) 1564m paved France Arrea, Bagneres de Bigorre
Hautacam(ow) 1520m paved France Argeles-Gazost
Trava (Coll de) 1510m paved Spain La Seu d'Urgell
Jau (Col de) 1506m paved France Prades
  1250-1499m      
Aspin (Col d') 1489m paved France Arreau
Fadas (Coll. de) 1470m paved Spain Castejon de Sos
Beyrede (Col de) 1430m paved France Beyrede
Cotefablo (Pto de) 1423m paved Spain Broto
Spandelles (Col de) 1378m paved France Argelles-Gazost, Asson
Fanlo (Alto de) s(u) 1399m paved Spain Fanlo
Mente (Col de) 1349m paved France St Beat
Arnat (Coll d') 1340m paved  Spain La Seu d'Urgell
Creu de Perves s(u) 1334m paved Spain el Pont de Suert
Bagargui (Col de) 1327m paved France Larrau
Portillon (Col du) 1320m paved France/Spain Vielha
Zuriza (Alto de) 1290m paved Spain Isaba
Songuera(sh) 1290m paved Spain Sort
Arnosteguy (Col d') 1236m paved France Sty-Jean-de-Port
  1000-1249m      
Aisa (Alto de) s(u) 1227m paved Spain Aisa
Buerba s(u) 1175m paved Spain Escalona
Arthaburo s(u) 1160m paved France St-Jean-de-Port
Borderes (Col des) 1156m paved France Argeles-Gazost
Burdincurutcheta (Col de) 1136m paved France St-Jean-de-Port
Lancon (Col de) 1120m paved France Arreau, Anzicocan
Hecho (Alto de) 1100m paved Spain Hecho
Ibarburua (Col de via D417) s(u) 1080m paved Spain St-Jean-de-Port
Estany de Montcortes s(u) 1070m paved Spain Bresca
Aussierres (Col d') 1060m paved France Axat
Ibaneta (Collado de) 1057m paved France/Spain St-Jean-de-Port
Montllobar (Coll de) 1050m paved Spain Tremps
Palomere Col de 1036m paved France Vinca
Foradada (Coll. de) 1020m paved Spain Ainsa, Campo
  500-999m      
Roque Jalere (Col de) 991m paved Spain Prades
Los Molinos s(u) 940m paved Spain Ainsa
Urkiaga (Collado de) 890m paved Spain St-Jean-de-Port
Santa Barbara (Pto de) 875m paved Spain Salinas de Jaca
Ares (Col des) 799m paved France Bagneres de Luchon
Ausines (Col des) 620m paved France Vinca
Segus s(u) 570m paved France Lourdes
Gamia (Col de) 503m paved France St Jean Pied de Port
  110-499m      
Jaizkibe (Alto de) 451m paved Spain Irun
Madeloc (Tour de) s(u) 450m paved France Port Vendres
Ibardin (Col d') 317m paved Spain St Jean de Luz
Mollo (Colle /Col de) 231m paved France Port Vendres
St Ignace (Col de via Sarre) s(u) 190m paved France St Jean de Luz