Col d'Aubisque is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 1.713m (5,620ft) above the sea level, located on the boundary between Pyrénées-Atlantiques and Hautes-Pyrénées department, in the Aquitaine region of southwestern France.
How long is Col d'Aubisque?
Tucked away between the valleys of the Gave d'Ossau and the Gave de Pau, the road to the summit is totally paved heading deep into the high mountains. It’s the spectacular D918, a balcony road. The pass is 45km (27.96 miles) long, running west-east from Laruns (in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department) to Argelès-Gazost (in the Hautes-Pyrénées department). The road was cut into the mountain in the early 1900s.
How hard is Col d'Aubisque?
The road to the summit is very steep, hitting a 12% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps. The road crosses the extremely narrow Cirque du Litor, in the upper part of the Ouzom valley. The iconic pass is one of the most famous mountain climbs on the Tour de France and has been crossed by the race many times. The first time was in 1910. Together with the Col du Tourmalet and the Col du Galibier is one of the "big three" in the French race. The Vuelta a España has also included the climb. At the top you will find several monuments which illustrates the cycling history that has been made on the mountain. The drive offers sweeping panoramas steeped in legend and provide lots of driving pleasure.
Is Col d'Aubisque open?
Set high in the Pyrenees mountain range, the road is generally closed from December to June but it can be closed anytime when the access is not cleared of snow. There is a café at the summit which is open year round. It is a popular lunch destination with cyclists.