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Col de Ibarburua via D417 s(u)

This pass accesses a high grazing area west of St-Jean-Pied-de-Port. From some of the other rides in this area, you may have noticed the striking striking geologic structure and scenery of this location. It is an outcropping geosyncline, that makes a memorable landmark from the Col de Burdincurutcheta (for example). A view from there is worth a million words.

Several pass names are marked on the map in this general area, where three paved approaches meet and one partially unpaved approach. This particular point is on D417, south of what is actually marked as Col de Ibarburua. Other points within 40m of elevation are Col de Aphinaze (always just a shoulder point, no matter how you approach it), Col de Landerre, about 1072m and the highest point if approaching via D117, and Col de Burdin Olatze on the direct appraoch from Col de Iraty. The spot marked as Col de Ibarburua itself is at 966m and part of the northern approach of the profile.

1.(00.0km,0160m)START-END WEST:low point in St Jead Pied de Port
2.(03.3km,0200m)profile turns right onto D18
3.(10.0km,0280m)profile turns left onto D417
4.(20.6km,1080m)TOP:highest point Col de Ibarburua s(u)
5.(21.8km,1040m)turnoff to Col de Aphanize, just before Cd Inharpu
6.(23.4km,0970m)jct with road south at Cd Ibarburua
7.(36.7km,0240m)Aussurruzq
8.(43.2km,0180m)START-END EAST: jct with D918 west of Mauleon-Licharre

Approaches

From West.
None of these narrow, in some places extremely steep passes get the official cycling sign treatment, that is signs that state elevation to be climbed and upcoming grade. Neither is the summit mentioned on a sign in the nearby village Mendive. Granted, what name would you use on the sign ? The map is about as confusing as what the Spaniards brought back from the "new world".

The pass starts out with its absolutely steepest part, inconspicuously located between a couple of houses and vertical appearing driveways. It doesn't last long. It is just there to leave a lasting initial impression, like the the firm handshake on a first business meeting.

After that, climbing continues to be a major workout, but the scenery dominates in the mind. Soon above treeline, there are views of a village to the north, underlined by a sweeping S shape of trees, separating two grazing meadows. On the other side of the valley, Col de Burdinkurutchetna climbs more spectacularly than imagined, if you one have descended that same road (I did several days earlier). The road to Ibarburua aims for a shallow saddle in this large gentle geosyncline of limestone outcrops. The top makes a last steep effort to gain the gentle ridge with a grand view on ranges south


From North. (described downwards) Did I mention, that this high ridge is used as a grazing area ? The day I was there for cows and horses and donkeys and who knows what else in the distance ? - lots of animals all over the place, one big happy ethnically diverse family - enough to cause a traffic jam. The left at just past the summit leads trough the center of this little mountain park to Col de Landerre. Col de Aphinaze is also found here on the map. It remains a mystery to me what it actually divides.

The roll down the north side is fast and scenic, not one of those break pad screeching, million turns a second affairs, like the passes to the south of here. You actually get somewhere on the map quickly by just letting it roll. The view now takes in the snow covered mountains behind Port de Larrau, including the cone shaped Pic d'Orry, a quickly recognized landmark at just over 2000m. After the panorama show, a fast descend on a wider road leads back down into the summer heat and normal traffic on D318.

cLiCk on image , arrows , or thumbnails to advance slideshow



Dayride with this point as highest elevation:

COMPLETELY PAVED

( < Col de Arnosteguy | Col de Ibaneta > )

Col de Ibarburua , Col de Gamia / Azkonzabai , Col de Osquich : St Jean Pied de Port > Mendive > Col de Ibarburua s(u) <> out and back west past summit of cd Aphanize >> Aussurucq > Garindein > Musculdy > Col de Osquich > Ibarolle > Col de Gamia/ Azkonzabai > back to strating point in St Jean Pied de Port