Despite being the third highest road pass in the Alps, after the Col de l’Iseran and Passo dello Stelvio, the real beauty of the Col Agnel is its relative unknown status amongst the greats, making it a quiet giant linking the Hautes Alpes in France with the Italian province of Cuneo.
I’ll never forget the first time I rode the Col Agnel many years ago. A friend and I had arrived in Briançon so decided that a ‘leg-loosener’ was in order to shake out an early start and day of travel. After ascending the northern side of the Izoard and descending towards Ville-Vieille we saw the sign for Agnel / Italy and in our youth (or perhaps naivetéy) started plugging away not really knowing what we were letting ourselves in for. Of course, you can’t start a climb and not finish it (they’re the rules) especially when it’s as perfect as the Agnel. The vast expanse of the surrounding snow-capped peaks, abundance of nature and a deserted road that looks like it’s been stitched to the side of the mountain with a needle and thread instills a sense of freedom and well being that’s difficult to beat. It was only when we met an English school teacher at the summit, and admired the view, that we really understood how magical the Agnel is. 2,744 metres high and with a character like no other, this is one mountain journey you really can’t afford to miss.
We hope you find this video useful and enjoy the ride.
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Kit used for this climb: