|Col de la Croix de Fer|
|Height||Climbing height - length|
|1369m - 25.1 km (Bge du Verney)
1446m - 32.2 km (Rochetaillée/Bourg d’Oisans)
1635m - 28.9 km (St. Jean de Maurienne)
1640m - 28.4 km (St. Jean de Maurienne via Saint-Jean)
1926m - 37.2 km (St. Jean de Maurienne via Mollard)
1895m - 38.2 km (Villargondran via Mollard) 1598m - 22.7 km (St. Etienne-de-Cuines)
|4 (5)||3-4 (5)|
|How to get there||
Not far from the village of Bourg d’Oisans at Rochetaillée (714m) starts the climb from the south of this famous mountain pass. One could also start a bit higher up on this side if coming from the Alpe d’Huez road down to the Barrage du Verney (791m). This pass is not very steep on either side, but it is a very irregular climb on both sides, where the south side has some steeper sections than the north side, while the north side is a bit longer. The irregularity and comparable length of this pass makes it quite hard from either side.
From the north the climb starts in St. Jean de Maurienne (568m), with two variants, where one variant goes through Saint-Jean d’Arves and has better views than the road down by the river. The hardest approach is via the Col du Glandon (1924m) pass. This is also from the north but starts in St. Etienne-de-Cuines (483m) and has gradients of up to 15% close to the Glandon pass. (For this latest approach see profile here.)
There are also two more northern variants that goes via Col du Mollard (1634m) to the pass. The first starts at the same place in St. Jean de Maurienne and climbs on a road that goes perfectly straight up the valley for some time before many curves up to Le Collet (1150m) (a minor pass) and later to another minor pass, La Cochette (1355m) before it joins road version number two to climb the Mollard pass. The second road starts more eastwards below Villargondran (582m) and you can climb up the road Google maps suggest or the normal D80 road (I have not done this climb/descent myself). There is a 413 height metres descent from Col du Mollard (to 1221m) before joining the main road to Croix de Fer.
|Other comments||The pass is lovely, but does not quite stand out as much as other high passes of the area. It is nicest on the northern side. It could be very warm down in St. Jean de Maurienne in the Summer and it is often very windy in the, not so fun, lower Maurienne valley. The photo is taken on the way up to the pass on the south side while taking part in the La Marmotte marathon, which includes this pass and some others every year. There are alternative roads on the north side where one could pass over yet another pass – Col du Mollard (1634m) – if you find the right road to take. Climbing to Col de la Croix de Fer via the Glandon pass is recommended as it is more quiet and at least as beautiful. Water could be found on the way to the pass on all sides. For more information see: Col du Glandon.
[FR-73-2064a, BIG 287]