|Col de Barme/Seuil du Sex Blanc|
|Height||Climbing height - length|
|1621m||1199m - 21.7 km (Monthey)
877m - 17.1 km (Troistorrents)
|3 (5)||3 (5)|
|How to get there||
The climb from Monthey (422m) is a bit steep at first on the wide and busy road to Pas de Morgins/Col d’Abondance (1370m), but when you turn off at Troistorrents (744m), the road climbs slowly and sweetly up through Val d’Illiez. At Champéry (1044m) you stay on the main road that descend a little (1018m). From here an older looking road continues up through the woods to Grand Paradis (1055m).
Here turn left on the straight asphalt road and as long as you stay on asphalt, you are on the right road to Barme and the pass before the tiny village. Before the road starts to climb again, you reach a crossroad, where there typically are cars parked. Here a sign shows that you should continue on the asphalt road is you have all sorts of vehicles. (Perhaps it would have been easier to simply say that the gravel road alternative to Barme is only really practicable with 4-wheel drive vehicles and the adventurous. Apparently it is a very steep road up there, but have not found any good reports or even photos from it on the Internet. I only found a note suggesting it is terribly steep, but believe some mountainbikers go here (at least downhill). I had like 5-10m of gravel on the last stretch where there had been some damage to the surface, but otherwise the road is fine and it continues asphalted down the other side.
I do not believe the route de Rives that climbs up on the other side of the Illiez valley is asphalted all the way up to Grand Paradis, but otherwise I am sure this would be a lovely alternative road up here (I went this road up to Troistorrents once and thus far (and a little longer) it is asphalted). Unfortunately, you do not get any very open views higher up on this road. I went down half-way to Barme to find a little opening in the forest, but preferably one has to descend to Barme to get bettet views. There are a few cars going here and even a police car passed my by on the last stretch up here (guess something has happened down at Barme). Down in Champéry they thought there was no asphalt road up here (so much for local knowledge … ).
From the route de Barme leaves the valley for good, one could continue down over a bridge on a gravel road and follow another gravel road going steeply up the end of the valley. This eventually becomes too steep and slightly too bad to handle for most of us road bicyclists, but the stretch to walk is no more than 1 km, then you can easily get to Les Pas/Col de Ripailles (1824m) (the road becomes better) and later on to Col de Saune/(Col de) Planachaux (1809m). From there you could continue on the level road that circles Les Crosets to above Pas de Croisette (1820m) and further to Champoussin and possibly to La Foilleuse (1802m) and Col de l’Abréviau/du Madzé (1634m). The stretch from just before Pas de Croisette to above Champoussin (1701m) is not so good, but still quite possible.[CH-VS-1621]