2013 Haute Route Alps – Route Details

haute route 2013


In case I needed some motivation to recover and rest, today they announced the route details for the 2013 Haute Route in the Alps. This year the route will be 85% brand new, which means there are a lot of climbs that are not familiar to me.

Gerry has posted a nice breakdown of the route that includes climb specifications. It seems most are in the average 5-6% grade vicinity. Individually that doesn’t sound too terrible, but all of them combined will certainly take a toll.

Some interesting notes:

  • The route begins in Geneva and ends in Nice, just like last year.
  • We’ll dip into Italy for a short loop during one of the stages.
  • Most stages will have end at the summit of a climb.
  • The marathon stage will be on day 3, with a total of 102 miles and nearly 11,000 feet of climbing.
  • The ‘rest day’ time trial is on day 5. This year it is Cime de La Bonette, which I hear is a beast of a climb.
  • Total mileage: 538 (866 km)
  • Total climbing: 70,000 feet (21,000 meters)
  • 7 excruciatingly beautiful days!

Wow! Nobody said it would be easy. In fact, CNN recently published an article listing the Haute Route as one of the toughest endurance challenges in the world.

The only drawback to this being a mostly new route is that some of the legendary, historic climbs are left off. I’ll have to make another trip to cross a few others off the bucket list, such as Alpe d’Huez, Galibier, Courcheval, Ventoux, and more (many of these are too far away to be on Haute Route anyway).

One cool thing is that Bonette, the time trial, is the highest paved road in Europe. I’ve already climbed the highest road in North America, so this will be extra special.

At first glance, it looks like they’ve outdone themselves. This is no joke, serious pain in suffering. There’s a lot of time between now and then. Hopefully I’ll be able to look at some of the stages in a little more detail.

8 responses to “2013 Haute Route Alps – Route Details

  • suzecycling

    Wow!!! Pedal pedal, pedal.And some more.

    And it is a good thing that the new route will require you to make more than one trip.

    • aaronwest

      Oh yes, lots of pedaling.

      I want to make a trip at my own pace at some point anyway, so no real complaints here. Even though next year will be the thrill of a lifetime, it won’t give me a lot of opportunity to stop and smell the flowers.

  • Gerry

    To use a tired cycling term that will surely fit for a change – Epic!

    You’re right about the lack of super-famous climbs like Galibier and Alpe d’Huez, but there are certainly some great historic ones left, such as Col d’Izoard, Col de l’Iseran, and of course Cime de la Bonette.

    For the rest you have a good excuse to visit France again!

    • aaronwest

      I’m probably guilty of throwing that word around too much. This route will be Epically epic!

      Definitely will have to make another trip someday. My wife probably won’t be able to make HR because of her class schedule, so she would certainly appreciate tagging along on the next one. Who knows? I might need a tour guide/riding partner.

  • James

    Looks like it’ll be challenging enough for you all…and then some! As Gerry said, don’t worry too much that the big names are not on the climbing agenda…you’ll just have to go back and knock those off another time!

    • aaronwest

      Even though I don’t recognize many of the names, overall this is more challenging than I expected. They will certainly be “big names” once they’ve had their way with me.

  • Frank Burns

    The Alps d’Huez can be so popular that you have join a line. Great climb though.

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