Final laces of the Col d'Izoard © Remi Fabregue Agence Kros
The Col d'Izoard and its restaurant © alpes4ever
Photo at the top of the Izoard © alpes4ever
Descent of the south side of the Col d'Izoard © Remi Fabregue Agence Kros.jpg
The Col d'Izoard and its switchbacks seen from the air © Remi Fabregue Agence Kros
Refuge Napoléon near the summit of Col d'Izoard © Lionel Terrail
Passage to Col d'Izoard 2360 m © Lionel Terrail

Col d'Izoard

Mythical passage to the Casse Déserte

Altitude 2360 m

Massif du Queyras


Topo North side

col izoard - profil versant nord

You are now in the Southern Alps, the vegetation is starting to mutate, the sun is brighter... The ascent of the Col d'Izoard will be the opportunity to add a new "2000" on a road that was built more than a century ago (1897).

A long ascent - almost 19 km - keep your pedal to the metal for the first 10 km, the last 9 will offer no respite with a gradient that will no longer fall below 7%. In the final stretch, a series of hairpin bends with the famous Refuge Napoléon as a witness. On the other side of the pass, the famous Casse Déserte awaits you with its fantastic scenery...

Topo south side

col d'izoard - profil versant sud

The ascent of the Col d'Izoard will be the occasion to add a new "2000" on a road that was built more than a century ago (1897).

It's also a very long climb starting from Guillestre with almost 30 km.

But the first 16.5 km, which follow the Gorges du Guil, present few difficulties - from 1.5 to 3.5% and even a slight descent - apart from a 1.1 km section at 7% to reach the Col de l'Ange Gardien (alt. 1347 m) shortly before the junction of the D902 and D947.

The last fourteen kilometers are considerably more difficult: 1048 m of D+ at an average of 7.5%. You'll climb up the Torrent de l'Izoard in a wide, rural valley with 3 km of gradient varying between 5 and 7%. There's a 700 m flat spot just before Arvieux, where you can take advantage of its refreshing fountain to recharge your batteries. After crossing Arvieux, the climb becomes straightforward, with a few difficult sections, such as the 900 m section at 9% before the little resort of La Chalp, and another at 10% for 875 m as you pass through Brunissard, one of the steepest parts of this pass. Leaving Brunissard, the road then twists and turns through a coniferous forest for 4.3 km, with some lovely views over the valley. The gradient is around 9%, but its regularity should enable you to get through this section without too much difficulty. Beware: on a summer's afternoon, the south-facing slopes can be white-hot... Otherwise, on the third bend, you'll be treated to a superb panorama of the Vallée d'Arvieux. Suddenly you come to the Casse Déserte, in a fantastic lunar setting with its monoliths (you will also cross the Col de la Platrière at this point, alt. 2220 m). After a short descent (400 m), the slope rises gently to the stele dedicated to Louison Bobet and Fausto Coppi. About two kilometers and 3 magnificent switchbacks remain, with an average gradient of almost 9%, to reach the Col d'Izoard at 2360 m.




The map


Joris Lesueur

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