Col Bagargui/ Iraty

The peaks in this part of the eastern Pyrenees reach "only" about 1800 meters in height. But you could say that this landscape has more depth than height, because of the many small incised canyons, covered in lush vegetation. Through these green hills runs a maze of tiny steep, curvy roads with named passes. But for an English speaker the names are a challenge to remember the first time around. After Port de Larrau, Col Bagargui is one of the better known roads on this edge of Basque country.

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,0230m) START-END NORTH: Tardets-Sorholus
2.(02.4km,0240m)Route from Col de Labays joins from left
3.(17.2km,630m)profile turns right onto small road, just past Larrau
4.(18.9km,520m)intermediate low point
5.(29.0km,1327m)TOP: Col Bagargui/Iraty
6.(35.7km,1000m)START-END SOUTH: jct D18-D301: Iraty
7.(39.9km,0950m)START-END SOUTH ALT: end of D18; route continues as uphill trail into Spain


From North.
The first part of the approach is common to the Port de Larrau profile. The road runs through deep forest, following an overgrown mountain stream. After climbing to more open country, past the village of Larrau, the profile turns off the route to Port de Larrau with a right turn. It descends a narrow, pot holed track back down into the valley. For a while the little track is enveloped in a lush rainforest vegetation that makes me think of Oregon.

That was the last chance to relax a bit. A series of steep switchbacks climb the green grassy blanket on the other side of the valley. I pick one of the switchbacks as scenic perch for lunch. Once out of the valley the road seems to traverse straight up the hill, heading for the apex of the ridge, surrounded by open grasslands.

Near the top a few more switchbacks curve around old stone buildings, half built into the ground, that seem to be used for animal herding. They make a great foreground in photos. The top is small collection of ski area structures, not the industrial quad chair variety, but a small collection of buildings that fit into the landscape. The highest point of the road comes shortly before the actual pass.

Copyright: contributor: Pierre V  pagelink

From South. (described downwards) This side is just a shallow hill in the forest with a few switchbacks. At the bottom of the small depression lies the village of Iraty, or at least the part that is known as "les Chalets de Iraty". It is not on my map, but the directional signs in the area reference it. Actually it is just a business or two and a group of residences. In my case did none showed any signs of being open or occupied. Several routes meet here. All except one go to other passes, and that one dead ends (or turns to a trail) on the Spanish border. The profile follows it to its dead end. This is a narrow curvy rolling track, the size of a bikepath. Sometimes it closely follows the noisy mountains stream Urbeitza. Sometimes it climbs a little above it. At the end a trail continues.

The more common way to approach the aforementioned valley, containing part of Iraty,  is from St Jean Le Vieux. It first goes over the low but steep Col Burdincurucheta, and then only descends about 110 meters to the intersection.

Copyright: contributor: Pierre V  pagelink

A Dayride with this point as intermediate summit is on page: Port de Larrau


Cycling-Tour de France: This pass was three times on the Tour de France Route.  In 1986 and 1987 the race only climbed the miniscyle southern approach from Iraty. In 2003 the tour climbed the challenging north side.

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