homeCol Sommeiller Est
Col Sommeiller Est Height Climbing height
3000m 1688m (Bardonècchia)
Difficulty Beauty
5 (5) 5 (5)
How to get there Bardonècchia (1312m) is located up at the end of the Susa valley, where the Fréjus tunnel goes over to Modane in France. There is one little road that takes you closer to France without using a tunnel and that is beginning on the right hand side of the railway where the nice old Hotel Sommeiller is located. This is a very quiet and fine road at start. In around 7 km this road runs out of asphalt and just here some steeper serpentines start. They are somewhat hard to negotiate with a road bike, but when this (not so long) section is over the road becomes almost flat and is very enjoyable to cycle on even with a road bike. After passing by a big lake, the road starts to wind its way somewhat steeper up again and you begin to see some nice mountains around. Then you come to he Rifugio Scarfiotti, which is the goal of the most using the road up here (they go by car up for lunch, I believe). From here on to the pass the road is mostly not possible to use with a road bike (a VTT is fine). However, I managed to cycle all the way with 23 cm tires. After the nice set of serpentines above Scarfiotti, you come again to a little plateau and here there is even some damaged old asphalt left (this road was popular by road bike cyclists in the mid 2000-century, but not since). The road even descends slightly at one point. Then you cross a little bridge and the final hard section to the pass starts. There is an abandoned building at the top which used to be a ski resort. There is a little road going still further up to just this 3000m pass variant. The last meters is an unrideable walking path.
Other comments This is a very demanding trip with a road bike. I managed to ride all the way in near perfect conditions, still it took 3 hours up without stopping. Worse, it took 2.5 hours down! Which proves just how bad the road is. It is, however, very very lovely along this road and very varying. The valley, looking down high up on the serpentines above Scarfiotti is really looking impressive. There are no paths to continue along at the top of the pass and you will have to go back the same way you came there. Make sure the weather is fine at the start and remember that the weather may change quickly as always in the mountains. Go early in the day and it is important it has not rained the day before (at least). Bring water and something to eat.