Col du Mollard (1638m)

This climb can be reached via the Col de la Croix de Fer and has the best scenic view of the three glaciated horns of the Aigulles d'Arves which prick the landscape like three shark teeth. Well - this pass gets you one ridge closer to this mountain jaw.

There are fewer bikes on this road than on the busy Croix de la Fer, but bikes still seem to outnumber cars by a significant margin on a sunny day in June. The northern ascent is over 6km while the more technical southern ascent from Villargondran is over 20km. Both ascents are on quiet tree lined roads.

After descending from Col de la Croix de Fer the turnoff is several km west of St Jean d'Arves, adjacent to a small power station dam, luckily it is signed. The road starts to climb through forest and soon a close view of the Aigulles d'Arves appears ahead. The road winds in switchbacks to the north, with ever improving views of the mountain ranges and the three peaks.

At the summit the town "le Mollard", is nestled into the mountain side. There is a water fountain dispensing drinking water where thirst can be quenched and water bottles filled. Several sheltered picnic tables all surrounded by beautiful mountain flowers provide the perfect recuperation spot.

The Col du Mollard has often featured in the Tour de France, the latest being 2012. If you are feeling energetic then you can try the road Above Chalmieu after/before this.

Distance Travelled from D926/D80 7km
Maximum Altitude 1638m
Minimum Altitude 1248m
Average Gradient 6.8%
Maximum Gradient 8%
On the Col du Mollard with a backdrop of the Aiguilles des ArvesCycle stretch