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 route, also via Switzerland and Germany: