The road to Col des Tempetes, the windy ascent of Provence
Col des Tempêtes is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 1.829m (6,000ft) above the sea level, located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of France. Noted for its formidable windy conditions and potential heat, the climb exposes travelers to the raw elements, particularly at higher altitudes.
Where is Col des Tempetes?
Situated in the southern part of France, the fully paved D974 road leads adventurers to the summit. This pass was unveiled in 1900 and lies just a kilometer away from the iconic Mont Ventoux, fondly dubbed as the "Giant of Provence" or "The Bald Mountain". From the summit, a short road branches off to Tête de la Grave, another pass elevated at 1,650m (5,413ft), spanning 3.9km (2.42 miles) and comprising both asphalted and unpaved stretches.
Is Col des Tempetes open year-round?
The journey to Col des Tempêtes is not for the faint-hearted. With steep sections, absent central markings, and a rather narrow pathway, the road barely allows two cars to pass simultaneously. But what truly sets this pass apart is its notorious wind speeds. With recordings as high as 320 km/h (200 mph) and regular winds of 90+ km/h (56+ mph) on 240 days a year, it's essential to be cautious. Owing to these extreme wind conditions, the road often faces closures. The road is open between mid-April and mid-November, though it can be shut throughout the year if the weather is bad.
Is Col des Tempetes worth it??
As treacherous as it might be, the route promises unparalleled views. Twisting through hairpin turns, rising to great elevations, and descending steep grades, it's a visual treat. The mountain's peak, stripped of any vegetation, appears snow-capped throughout the year, even though its snow blanket typically persists from December to April. And when you reach the summit, don't be in a rush—grab your camera! The mountain's vantage point offers an expansive view of the Rhône valley, ensuring its dominance in the region. On clear days, its majestic presence can be felt from miles away.