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Col de Menee

This is a fascinating crossing between the limestone canyons of the Vercors plateau and a high valley on its west side. From there you have expansive views onto the main ridges of the French alps. As with many Vercors passes, absence of traffic is major attraction. But that ends on the bottom of the west side.

1.(00.0km,0580m)START-END SOUTH:Die
2.(20.7km,1457m)Col de Menee tunnel entrance east side
3.(34.2km,0840m)START-END NORTH:Clelles


Approaches

From South.
The profile starts in Quant, where D539 branches off busy D53. The road rolls through pleasant wine fields, bordered on one side by stair step limestone cliffs. In Chatillon a loop over three passes with this as the highest begins (see the dayride below). Along the main street is a bakery which I bet has sold many thousands of loaves of bread to passing cyclists, make that many thousands and one, counting mine.

Leaving the medieval clustered houses behind, the road still skirts along the bottom of the cliffs. But past the village Menee, the climbing really starts. Progress can be measured in relation to a high limestone monument that stands apart from one of the cliffs. As is often the case here, the pass turns out to be much lower than perhaps expected because of a tunnel, somewhere between .5 and 1 km long through the cliffs at the top. Today this was probably a good thing because of all the wind and snow up there.





left: looking down the southern approach, getting close to the summit


below left:
time for rest










top right:
I met this group of Dutch cyclists going up the south side


left: here they are celebrating their arrival at the summit







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From North. (described downwards). The road has more rustic qualities on this side, more curves and a rougher surface. A perplexingly cube like block of a mountain appears soon after the top. It is named Mt Aiguille, just a little higher than 2000 meters. It is definitely the center of attraction on this side, even compared to distant views of much higher main ridges of the alps, still covered in deep snow further west. Both of these mountain vistas actually seem to get better as the road descends and approaches the junction with busy N75 in Clelles towards Col de la Croix Haute

cLiCk on image , arrows , or thumbnails to advance slideshow


Dayride with this point as highest summit:

COMPLETELY PAVED

( < Col de Rousset | Col de Pennes > )

Col de Menee , Col de Grimone , Col de la Croix Haute: Die > with detour in Die > Quant > St Roman > Chatillon > Menee > Col de Menee > Chichillane > Clelles > N75 south > Col de la Croix Haute > Col de Grimone > Grimone > Cues des Gats > Chatillon > Quant > back to starting point in Die : 74.7m with 5833ft of climbing in 6:54 hrs (garmin etrex 30 m5:19.4.30).
Notes: on the way up Col de Menee I met a Dutch group of cyclists who are here for a week, apparently riding to the top of passes and then back down the same way.