Another nice morning now in Aosta/Aoste (597m). Just a short ride into town before I took the main road to the Col du Grand St-Bernard/Colle del Gran San Bernardo (2469m). I had other plans than simply going over this pass again and wanted to visit at least one more +2000m road in the area that I had recently learned about.
Just a bit up the main road a smaller road takes off up to Valpelline to the right. After a short descent, I took the first road up the mountain as it should be the shortest way up to Champillon (2078m). The climb is of normal steepness on a nice road, but there is a complexity of road choices up here. There is a more straight road going up that is asphalted, but one really have to check the map here (I think I went to where the right road says Allein, which is really in another direction where I should go later and instead followed the Cretes sign, still this and the higher road goes to the Panoramica road above Doues so not sure exactly where I was and if I went to Doues on the way up, but I did not take the right/shortest road up there as planned).
In the photo above I have just reached the end of the asphalt road and arrived at Champillon. It was very beautiful up here and can really recommend cycling up here. The only problem was that I had a lot of irritating flies up here (insects tend to be the biggest problem cycling in the Alps and something one often forgets later and you seldom hear people talk about it).
The road ahead looks really inviting and it is a good gravel road maybe all the way to Conca di By and a little longer, but it also goes down a bit below 2000m before it starts climbing again. Since it is no through route it is not so interesting apart from the scenery.
Mighty mountains all around here.
There were some monuments up here too and apparently the flies was not irritating me at first (think they were nearby where the descent starts).
Many photos this day. Here in the direction I came up in.
A bit down the road one has great views down to Aosta which is just straight down from here.
And this photo represents the great views one has on the climb up.
Back down via Doues to the Valpelline (924m) village, where I stopped by the more local looking bar and had a coffee and something else before continuing up the long Valpelline valley to Lac des Places-de-Moulin/Lago di Place Moulin (2020m).
Here I stopped a bit above the lake.
Continuous asphalt stops at 1990m currently, but it seemed like they were working on this road and there seemed to be more asphalt already higher up. Would have been nice to climb on asphalt a bit higher here as I am sure the views are even better up there, but the road was steep and dusty now, so I went down.
The gravel road along the lake is not very good, but went a little way there to get a bit better view over the lake, not see here.
But here you see the lake, but still not the whole lake (a long one).
Narrow side valley up from the other side of the lake which might be interesting for walkers, but no roads on that side of the lake.
Here one of the parkings and the long, long valley up here. The road up here goes on the right hand side and is quite nice in places.
Back down to Valpelline and up via Doues again and another road (more straight this time) up the mountainside from which the photo here was taken. I should have seen the road I should have taken up by the road sig for Allein and Dialley (where I should have followed the Champ Mort sign).
This is a bit of a climb from Valpelline (924m) to 1329m after som ups and downs on the “short-cut” over to the main road up to Col du Grand St-Bernard/Colle del Gran San Bernardo in Étroubles (1290m). Not saving you much time, but a very nice alternative if coming this way, escaping the most boring part of the main road. Only saw one car on the whole long road from Allein to Étroubles made me wonder if there was some problem with the road, but there was none.
Thought I should find a place to buy a coca-cola or something on the way up to Col du Grand St-Bernard/Colle del Gran San Bernardo (2469m), but strangely found nothing in Saint-Oyen. I took off on the old road over the pass where the heavy traffic goes in the tunnel on the motorway (which starts here). I again took the “short-cut” via Saint-Rhemy with the steep cobblestoned road to see if I found a bar or shop there, but they really only have small hotel, so just continued up to the pass.
Still nice weather and the road had very little traffic. I was amazed by how bad the asphalt was and wondered if they will abandon this road, but it is still used in the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia and is a very famous and popular tourist road, so likely they will resurface it again. In the first bend before this bend there was a small place one could buy something to drink and eat sausage as I did here on my first visit, but everything looked deserted around here now.
Here is a great view on the way up, but it does not quite tell you how chilly it was up here. Likely it had been bad weather here recently and that may be part of the reason why there was very few people on the road this day. It was getting a little late as I came up to the pass area.
Looking back you see the cloudiness in the area.
Very nice here this day! Here just before coming to the border to Switzerland.
Here on the south side of the lake looking over to the pass height in Switzerland and the famous hospice du St-Bernard.
Here the Italian border with monument and also an old hotel.
I noticed that asphalt goes a little higher at the pass, so went up by the hospice to take this photo from the highest point (2477m, only 8m above the pass).
Me at the pass as someone came by. You see in the opening behind me the view into Switzerland does not look too inviting … .
A sign mentioning that Napoleon went over here with his army in 1800. Then put on the wind jacket and braced myself for a horrible downhill into Switzerland. Luckily it was only cold and cloudy, but almost not a drop of water. I had to go far down before it got any warm and thus no more photos this evening.
Down in Sembrancher (714m) I had hoped to stay at the same hotel I stayed at another time by the train station there, but it had closed down. I continued over to the nearby Vollèges and asked a man there, but he said there were no place to stay around there. He suggested I went up to Le Châble (821m) at the bottom of the climb up to Verbier and Col de la Croix de Cœur (2174m) and Lac de Mauvoisin (1976m). Here was indeed an open hotel that had a room for me. No food, but there was a restaurant nearby. Not the best or cheapest place, but ok as I remember it. Now I was not planning to take the road over Col de la Croix de Cœur this time, so had to go back a little in the morning, but not far.