Hautacam mainly consists of a
very large car park and a number of ski lifts. Happily no apartment
buildings or hotels that would spoil the environment. It hosted
Tour de France stages in 1994, 1996, 2000 and 2008. The close
by Col de Tramassel has never been the finish of a Tour de France
stage, because it simply lacks the space to house the circus.
However, for cycle tourists the Col de Tramassel is the preferred
end point. Apart from being the highest point, it also offers
a small but welcoming restaurant.
Conquering Hautacam is a tough but most rewarding effort ('Hors
Categorie' grade). Ward has covered the 1100 meter difference
in altitude over 13 km from the Gave de Pau bridge to the Hautacam
car park in 1h 11min. Oof has done it in 1h 50min. The final
leg to the Col de Tramassel has taken Ward and Oof respectively
6 and 10 min. These figures mean that on a slope with an average
gradient of 8.5%, Ward has climbed 1000 meters/hour, and Oof
* Gave means river in Occitan
language (langue d'oc).