Col de Portet is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 2.215m (7,267ft) above the sea level, located in the Pyrenees, a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between France and Spain.
The pass is located in Saint-Lary-Soulan, a commune in the Hautes-Pyrénées department in south-western France. Col du Portet's climb is 100 meters (330 ft) higher than that of Tourmalet and it gains as much elevation over almost the same distance. This aerial road, cut directly into the steep mountain slope, begins offering breathtaking vistas almost immediately and never lets up.
The road to climb the Col du Portet is narrow, cut directly into the steep mountain slope, with breathtaking vistas. On the summit, the views are spectacular. The road has average grades between 7 and 10%. Portet's top gives you a spectacular 360-degree view of all the surrounding mountain peaks, too. The constant difficulty of this mountain pass may be enough to make you stop after this climb. When your legs give up, a pleasant descent will take you back to picturesque Saint-Lary.
Starting from Saint Lary Soulan, the ascent is 17.8 km long. Over this distance, the elevation gain is 1.405 meters. The average percentage is 7.9 %.
The unpaved sections of the road can be impassable when wet. The climb itself only has a difficult finish, after you pass Saint-Lary. It’s one of those rare climbs that you can see almost the entire route from down below – it’s hard not to be impressed at the view of the first stretch. There is a plaque at the start of the climb commemorating its first appearance in 1974 won by the popular Frenchman Raymond Poulidor. There are very few hairpins and several very steep stretches, making this short climb quite difficult. It’s primarily a gravel road – although it switches to paved several times. It’s a big climb heading towards bigger mountains.