This was the first time I had ever climbed Col de la Bonette and it was positioned 6 days in to a challenging tour we did this year at GranFondo Cycling Tours called the Haute Route. La Bonette has been touted as the highest road in Europe with an unusual teardrop shaped loop around the top overlooking a world of endless peaks. There is some debate in semantics as to the accuracy of whether it’s a pass (col) or just a road.
Wikipedia claims “The actual Col de la Bonette rises to 2715 m, but there are three Alpine road passes whose altitudes are higher: Col de l’Iseran (2770 m), Stelvio Pass (2757 m) and Col Agnel (2744 m). The road around the Cime de la Bonette reaches an altitude of 2802 m, but this is not a “pass”, but merely a scenic loop. It is, however, the highest asphalted road in France and is the highest through road in Europe”
I did not give it much thought at the time as I was struggling to keep my feet off the ground. This was not only the highest paved road but the most desolate, deserted and eerie climb I have ever done. We climbed from Jauziers with a grueling 24 km, 7% average and 10% max grade near the top.
This climb was tough but super fun and a must do for anyone.
I would rank this climb awesome!