A challenging gravel road to Col de Sencours
Col de Sencours is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 2.378m (7,801ft) above the sea level, located in the Hautes-Pyrénées department in the Occitan region of south-western France.
Set high in the central Pyrenees, the road is totally unpaved. It’s a steep and loose-surfaced road, stunningly scenic with spectacular cliff edges and two short tunnels. But it is not for the inexperienced or unfit due to the combination of the altitude and technical road surface. The road was called the Old Toll Road (which is not a road). A large gate prevents users to go by car but a gate allows hikers and cyclists to pass.
The road can still be shut by snow at the end of June. It is very steep, hitting a 24% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps. Starting at Col du Tourmalet, beside the gift shop, the ascent is 3.6 km (2.23 miles) long. Over this distance the elevation gain is 310 meters. The average gradient is 8.61%.
The route includes an amazing scenery. It's a taste of what Col du Tourmalet was like before it was sealed. From Col de Sencours the road continues on for 1.5km to Col de Laquets (2,637m), just below Pic du Midi. The pass retains the walls of a former hotel built in 1852, destroyed by an avalanche in the following year and rebuilt in 1856.
Pic: Raphaël Ehret
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