On the way back from Cor­si­ca this sum­mer, er route to meet a cou­ple of friends to ride Furka­pass, Grim­sel­pass, Neufen­pass, Susten­pass (aka the Swiss Roller­coast­er), I took a small detour along a few grav­el roads cross­ing the Alps.

The ini­tial plan was to cross through Col du Parpail­lon, then ride along the Assi­et­ta and pro­ceed towards Susa. Sad­ly the Assi­et­ta is closed for work until next sum­mer and I was able to explore just a very small sec­tion of it (just after the crest). The Parpail­lon was open, and the sun­ny weath­er made for an amaz­ing ride.

To put it mild­ly I have very lit­tle expe­ri­ence offroad (plan­ning to fix that soon with prop­er train­ing) and climbed cau­tious­ly, also due to the ful­ly loaded GS that should weight around a gen­tle 270kg. I met anoth­er, expe­ri­enced, local rid­er while rest­ing just before the tun­nel and we pro­ceed­ed togeth­er for the rest of the day, all the way to Susa. Even though the northen part of the Parpail­lon road is wider and eas­i­er to approach, still just the com­fort of not rid­ing alone (in case of get­ting stuck some­where) does won­ders to your (lit­tle) con­fi­dence and progress.

In the end it turns out to be a fair­ly easy ride. Relax­ing and tak­ing in the view when at the top, in the com­plete silence (sheep­’s bleats exclud­ed), is real­ly some­thing.

Parpil­lon route, climb­ing from the south side, starts at La Con­damine-Châte­lard, see map (from francetopo.fr) and the same sec­tion over video:

A gpx track of the road cov­ered on the day, includ­ing Col de La Bon­nette, a sec­tion of the Assi­et­ta, and the rest of the road towards Susa, is down­load­able here.
Beware: it includes a few small detours for cof­fee stops here and there.

The full ruote, also via Switzer­land and Ger­many: