Col du Petit St Bernard
Col du Petit St Bernard 2188m
This col is on the French/Italian border and is a feature of most of our trips. From the French side, Bourg St Maurice it's a long climb of 31km, rising 1373m, but it's average gradient of less than 5% makes it very manageable and a great climb for those new to the Alps. The gradients remain fairly consistent up to the ski resort of La Rosiere, the final 8km to the col itself getting a little steeper but never too taxing. The wind up at altitude can have a greater bearing on the difficulty of this climb than the gradients. More often than not it's a westerly which makes the climb up from Bourg wind assisted and the climb from the Italian side much tougher. The Petit St Bernard has featured in the Tour de France on several occasions, most recently in 2009.
The climb from La Thuile on the Italian side is shorter and tougher with average gradients of closer to 7% as the climb rises 753m in it's 12.5 km. Both sides of the Col du Petit St Bernard are spectacular and well worth doing. There are always cafes open at the top with great coffee and hot chocolate.