Col de Spandelles


General characteristics (click for gradient profile or photos).

Argelès-Gazost [450m] - 16 km uphill - Col de Spandelles [1378m] - 10 km downhill - Etchartes [550m] - 9 km downhill - Artez-d'Asson [400m] - 28 km up/downhill - Lourdes [343m] - 13 km semi-flat - Argelès-Gazost [450m].

Initially, take in Argelès the road to the Col du Soulor, but already after ca. one kilometer turn right to Gez. Then, follow the signs to the Col de Spandelles.
Four kilometers after Arthez-d'Asson turn sharp right and follow the D226, which traverses a hilly area. Just before crossing the Gave* de Pau, turn right and take the D152 to the Grottes de Bétharram and St Pé-de-Bigorre. Follow the busy D957, direction Lourdes, for 2 km and take the first opportunity to cross the Gave de Pau again. From Rieulhes follow a forestry road to Lourdes (ca. 10 km).
From Lourdes to Argelès-Gazost you have to take the cycle path (former rail track) on the right hand side (east) of the Gave de Pau.

The Col de Spandelles is one of the finest climbs in the vicinity of Argelès-Gazost. After recent (2009) repairs the largely narrow forestry road has a fully acceptable quality for racing bikes. Coming from Gez, shortly before the final hairpin section, there is road leading to the Col de Couraduque (1360m; not indicated on the map). This road is only recommended for mountain bikes. However, the road to the Couraduque from Aucun ( on the D918, Argelès - Arrens-Marsous - Col du Soulor) is paved.
After the fabulous descend of de Col de Spandelles to Etchartes we have chosen for a loop including Lourdes, but there is an interesting alternative from Etchartes to the Col du Soulor. From Ferrières, where the climb starts, to the Col de Soulor is 12 km with an average gradient of 7.5% (min. 6%, max 9.5%).

* Gave means river in Occitan language (langue d'oc).



Left: Col de Spandelles; middle: sign at the start of the climb near Etchartes rightly stating that the pass road is a 'Route pastorale';
right: Lourdes.