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Col d'Aspin

... Another Pyreneen pass that owes its reputation and volume of bicycle tourism to the Tour de France. Apparently it is just too tempting to combine it with the most popular Tour de France pass ever, the Col du Tourmalet. Both sides of Col d'Aspin are adorned with elevation/distance data packed road makers, that inform the gazillions of passing cyclists every km, about how much more work they have to do to get to the summit. The top also has some very nice views.

I have used the pictures of panoramio and flickr contributors, as well as other web sites to illustrate this page. There are copyright notices and links  to all original pictures. My own pictures were on a computer, that was stolen at the train station Frankfurt Airport (model Acer Aspire One (serial# NUSGPAA01625101C947600F)

1.(00.0km,0860m)START-END WEST: Sainte-Marie de Campan
3.(12.9km,1489m)TOP: Col d'Aspin
4.(25.7km,0720m)START-END EAST: Arreau


From West.
The profile starts in Sainte-Marie de Campan. Here the Tour de France route usually turns up, after coming down the Col du Tourmalet. Between here and point 2 there is actually quite a bit of traffic on a road without shoulder. But that doesn't detract the hundreds if cyclists on their way to one of the many passes.

At approximately point 2, two other pass routes divert from the road, right before: Hourquette d'Anzican, and if you just want to get away from it all Col de Beyrede, a little after point 2.

Staying on course for Col d'Apin, the road, now with less traffic, starts climbing in wide meanders. Pic du Midi de Bigorre shows up for the first time in the distance, s perfect cone shape with a rocket ship on top - or actually that's a transmission tower. The road climbs above a small low key ski lift, Then it's back into the forest until the last couple of kms, when the pass appears ahead as a gentle saddle, that just manages to reach above treeline near its crest.

 Copyright: PJC5058  (Panoramio)    piclink
The top is a large dirt parking lot, that is often filled with many vehicles, RVs, cyclists, cows and sometimes other mythical animals. It's such a scene, it becomes a focal point in my pictures, To my surprise other people also find this an interesting photo motive, as the selection in the slide shows. Those looking to spend money in a bar or restaurant, as is common on big passes in the Alps, are out of luck.

From East. (described downwards) If the light does not deteriorate with the afternoon, there is also a great view of Pic du Midi de Bigorre and its adjoining range. I include a few perfectly lit photographic compositions of this scene, as well as a more realistic version, that one might see, arriving here sometime in the early afternoon. Another picture of the same scene (also in the slide show)  appears to be a lucky shot from a moving car but with perfect late lighting .. to top it off - probably taken with a cell phone.

On the other side is a panorama of deep valleys of the Aure with the high peaks of the Pyrenean main ridge behind it. And below the road at hand, traversing curves, collecting fields and farms and cows, and a little further below even following an arcade of trees. This side is more open in vegetation, and has a greater variety of views.

The Col de Aspin road merges onto busy D929 just outside of the expenisve little town Arreau, so that all the D929 traffic is only encountered during the last km.


Cycling-Tour de France: The pass has been on the Tour de France route an incredible 71 times, first time in 1910. 62 of those 71 times were after WW2

left:  Copyright: VirtualAlps.com

below: Copyright:
henkdeleeuw      (Panoramio)

left:  Copyright: VirtualAlps.com

below: Copyright:
airv87  (Panoramio)


cLiCk on image , arrows , or thumbnails to advance slideshow

A Dayride with this point as intermediate summit is on page : Hourquette d'Anzican