Col de la Pierre Carrée is the highest pass in the north French Alps open all year
Col de la Pierre Carrée is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 1.849m (6,066ft) above the sea level, located in the Haute-Savoie, in the Rhône-Alpes region of eastern France. It’s the highest pass in the north French Alps that is open all year.
The road to the summit (Pass of the Squared Rock in English) is totally paved. It’s called D106. It’s a winding cul de sac road, with 20 hairpin turns and superb views. The pass is 15.3 km (9.50 miles) long, running from Les Carroz to Flaine. Access to the pass is typically open all year round, with the occasional closure in winters due to dangerous weather conditions, to provide access to Flaine ski station.
The road to the summit is very steep, hitting an 11.8% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps. This pass has a similar length to legendary French climbs like Mont Ventoux, Col du Glandon, and Col de la Madeleine. There are actually three phases in this climb: the first kilometers are the hardest, with an 8.4 % peak during one kilometer. Then, a rather easy part, up to the half of the climb, follows: the slopes never go above 7 % and have around 5 % average gradient. Then, the second half of the climb comes to the rider, with 10 more kilometers at 6.5 % average and with peaks at 9 %, the slopes being easier as the top comes closer.