Saint Gotthard Pass (Switzerland)

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Distance:  11.8km
Average Gradient: 7.5%
Elevation gain:  897 metres
Surface: Sealed/Cobblestone

Here is a link to the Strava segment here:

If you like cobblestones then this is a climb for you.

Saint Gotthard Pass is located 66 km south-east of Switzerland.  With a summit at 2,106 metres.  The Gotthard Pass is one of the highest mountain passes of the Alps.  For centuries it has been one of the busiest routes linking south and the north of Switzerland side of the Alps.  The first road over the pass was opened in 1830.  Which was named after a chapel erected about 1300 in honor of Saint Gotthard, bishop of Hildesheim.  This climb offers some truly stunning views. And is best known for its collection of hairpins with the final 8 kilometers on Cobbles.  Earning it the reputation of being the Roobaix of climbing

Image taken by Warrenski, courtesy of Flickr

Saint Gotthard Pass climb

With a combination of spectacular scenery.  Challenging climbing and an seemingly endless supply of switchbacks.  Not to mention the challenges of climbing uphill over 8 km of cobbles makes it a must ride climb. This is one of Switzerland’s most prestigious climb.  Which is featured regularly in the Tour de Suisse.

If you suffer from Vertigo.  A word of warning; don’t try this climb.  There are some pretty impressive drops over the side of the road that you won’t want to test your tumbling skills on.

The Cobbles

This is one of those climbs which no matter how hard it seems at the start.  You don’t start earning your coin till you hit the cobbles.  The cobbles will shake you to the core, and  will use some physical effort to absorb the shock its putting on your body.  You’re unlikely to see the impressive views  as you’re paying close attention to the road.  Trying to pick the least bumpiest route across the road, a relatively smooth section and of course, to avoid plunging off the side of the mountain.  Check out the YouTube clip below for what to expect from the cobblestones.

Surviving to the top

Once over the top your legs will thank you.  This is one of those climbs you’ll wonder how you got up.  Since you’ve put in the hard yards you may as well enjoy yourself.  There is some great scenery nearby if you wanted to visit any of the three small lakes.  Or take a photo of your bike next to the monument to Adrien Guex, a Swiss pilot who crashed nearby in 1927.  There are some great restaurants & Cafe’s, or you can pay a visit to the Gotthard Museum.  Its a lovely spot to visit.

Image by Mark Goebel, courtesy of Flickr

The Tour de Suisse

The Tour de Suisse (Tour of Switzerland) is a UCI 9 day cycling stage race.  Which has been held since 1933 and is held two weeks before the Tour de France.  This stage race is used by Tour de France riders to get in form, and attracts some of the world’s best riders.  The Saint Gotthard Pass has been the most famous climb used in this event.  Being used 39 times in the events history, more than any other climb.

The road over the pass is open between June and October each year, and closed daily 6:00 pm – 8:00 am.



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2 thoughts on “Saint Gotthard Pass (Switzerland)

    Stefaan said:
    August 15, 2016 at 10:31 am

    You should commit to riding all the climbs you write about!!

      Brendan Edwards responded:
      August 15, 2016 at 11:34 am

      Believe me would do them in a heart beat. Doing these for the Everesting project. At least one Edwards gets the pleasure of climbing these 🙂

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