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Day 13 : Col de l'Iseran

In the morning we went to a Sherpa supermarket near a bakery. After an extensive breakfast, we started the next climb. The weather was nice, and the upcoming col de la Madeleine seemed nice. This was the second col with that name we would climb. It again wasn't the famous one from the Tour de France. The descent wasn't very steep, ideal for covering many kilometers. We quickly arrived at the foot of the col de l'Iseran.


It was pretty busy with motorcyclists. I thought the l'Iseran was the most challenging climb this year. Bram also felt it was one of the toughest. The climb started with a steep section that meandered up the mountain. Then we entered a classic Alp meadow while we continued climbing. Bram ran out of water, so we filled our bottles at a mountain stream. The Alp meadow was followed by another long steep section. It was over 10 kilometers long. The further we got, the steeper it seemed. It was a really hard climb, although the last few days probably didn't help. We took a break a few kilometers before the top with the pretext that we needed to take pictures of the nice scenery.

Col de l'Iseran

Col de l'Iseran

Alps flowers

A classic Alps-photo

A while later we saw a groundhog. The last few kilometers were extra tough, but we made it. We asked someone to take a picture of us with the official sign. On the other side of the sign was some slutty lady who had driven up by car, climbing on the sign. She first needed to take a million pictures before leaving. Even the guy helping us thought she was annoying. Eventually, it did turn out to be a nice photo.

col de l'iseran

The climb had been 33 kilometers long


View from the top of the Iseran


View from the top

cycling in the alps

During the descent

val d'isere

Val d'Isere

cycling in the alps

Quick turns in the descent

They didn't have anything nice in the souvenir shop. Just like in every souvenir shop in France there was a fake animal that made noise when someone passed it. The descent to Val d'Isere was a nice one. The asphalt was good, the road was pretty steep and there were some nice winding turns. In Val d'Isere, we got a stamp at a tobacco store. Then we continued descending over a large road. We bought some more food before starting today's last climb. At the checkout we didn't need a bag, we could easily carry everything in our hands. That worked, after dropping the bottle with water three times. As usual, we ate while sitting on the ground in front of the supermarket. Bram bought a large bag of dry mini-cakes with dried pieces of fruit. During our other trips we ate a lot of that type of food, so this time we had to continue the tradition.

The Cormet de Roseland was the last mountain for the day. The Tour de France passed here this year. We cycled slowly, there would only be one campsite on today's route so there was no point in rushing. It seemed like it would start raining soon. It was still dry when we reached the top of the mountain. A lady agreed to take our picture.


Cormet de Roseland

Again something strange happened at the top. A car came up and slowed down until it was just a few meters away from the official sign. Behind the wheel was an overweight guy wearing a superman shirt, and the passenger was an overweight lady. She had opened her window and was holding a camera. They seemed to wait until we moved aside and then, while the car continued moving, she took a picture of the sign. We also thought it was quite the achievement that they drove all the way up in their car.

During the descent we saw the campsite we would stay at tonight. It looked nice, in a classic French style. It was owned by an old French couple. It was also full. We were allowed to stay in the front yard of the main building. There was a thick layer of grass and enough space. When we had everything set up it started to rain. The owners looked worried. They didn't believe our bivy bags were waterproof nor that we could sleep in them.

The building also had a small room with a tv and foosball. We could finally charge our phones. We first ate the dry cakes and some other cookies we had left. Then we took a shower. A strange animal was flying around the flowers on the balcony. At first we thought it was a hummingbird because it was beating its wings quickly and had a long beak to drink nectar. We also thought those didn't exist there. In the picture I made it looks more like an insect.

hummingbird hawk-moth

On the internet, I found we were not completely wrong, it likely was a hummingbird hawk-moth.

It wasn't very late so we could sit and enjoy being dry. I started looking at the route for the following days. We played foosball with some French children. The two of us were much better. I also played a game against Bram, which he won because he plays too much foosball at the supermarket where he works on weekends. It was still raining when we went to bed. Everything in my bivy bag was still dry. During the night I also had no problems with the rain. This night was warmer than the past ones.

Distance cycled : 122 km.

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