Col du Glandon

Reaching the Glandon before the Croix de Fer means ascending from La Chambre, where another Alpine sibling, the Col de la Madeleine, also begins. Consistently rated one of the hardest passes to regularly feature in the Tour de France, the Glandon from this side is a long and gruelling crescendo. In the last two kilometres, the gradient remains constantly above ten per cent.

Forever partnering the Col de Croix de Fer, the Col du Glandon shares practically the same summit as its twin HC category climb and within races like the Tour de France and Critérium du Dauphiné it is often seen as a warm up to the climbs such as the Galibier, Col de La Madeleine, Montvernier and Alpe d’Huez but this doesn’t mean it is not a mammoth climb and one to be revered and ridden.   

The Climb in Detail

“The Glandon from the North side is a long and gruelling crescendo” - Mountian High


The Ascents

You can ride up the Col du Glandon from La Chambre to the north of the summit. 21.8-kilmetres in length, the Col du Glandon has a steady start as gradually over the first 10-kilmetres the road averages 6% and then only 2% before Le Chatelet. The climb then takes on a much more challenging percentage and within the last 2-kilometres the road ramps up to over 15%. From the summit you can either reach the Croix de Fer peak or descend to Barrage du Veyney to the south.


The Pass of the Iron Cross

The English translation of the Croix de Fer is the Iron Cross and it is also what welcomes you as you reach the summit of the climb twinned with the Glandon, the Croix de Fer after 1500 metres of climbing in the legs. The Iron Cross was erected when the road was completed in 1912 and stands to this day. Also at the summit is an orientation table that points to the snow-capped twin peaks of the Aiguilles de l'Argentière as well as the neighbouring peaks.

It’s place at the Tour de France

The Col de Croix de Fer/Glandon pass first opened in 1912 to link the two valleys that run from Chambery and Grenoble. It wasn’t though until 1947 that the Tour de France first raced on the Col du Glandon using it in one of its traditionally tough Alpine stages from Grenoble to Briançon won by the Italian Fermo Camellini. Since then it has been used over 19 times in the Tour de France usually as an aperitif for a summit finish.

"The Glandon is very hard" - Nicolas Portal Team Sky DS 

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