The Col Collection

Want to compare the difficulty of different climbs? Here we have a table of climbs and stats for significant or popular cycling climbs that I’ve done. You can sort by location, ascent ft, average gradient, and difficulty* (FIETS).
*The Fiets Index was created by the Dutch cycling magazine FIETS.  The actual formula is:    [H^2/D*10] + (T-1000:1000; but only if greater than 0)

  • H = ending elevation minus starting elevation in meters.
  • D = total distance traveled in meters.
  • T = Height in meters.
  • ^ = multiply that number by itself (i.e., square the number)
  • * = multiply
  • Note:  Only add T-1000 if that number is greater than zero.

In general this is a good guide but I have some issues with it. It deviates in two areas: extreme altitude and extreme grade. Long climbs are endurance, steep is muscle and tendon strain. For me, the Mortirolo was the hardest in the strain category. Then there is the altitude factor, for which Pikes Peak take top honors. And this formula doesn’t consider factors such as for Pikes, the last 2 miles are over 9%! Sure it averages only 5.9 but that 9.9 at e 13000-14000 feet is brutal.

The Stelvio double, on the otherhand, was a really big day but not that hard. Doing Pikes twice in a day sounds aweful, however. The Swiss climbs I found pretty hard in general because after doing a couple of them you have over 10000 ft. That second climb feels hard. The top of a third in a day and you are at like 16000ft.

Some climbs have a reputation that is not matched to the difficulty. Lookout Mountain in Golden, for example, has been used in many races, amateur and pro, but it’s just a hill. I’ve done the whole thing in the big ring on a good day, and I’m far from pro. Conversely, I think some of the Boulder climbs are harder than this list suggests because they are steep-ish and at 6000-9000 feet.

Physics point of reference: I weigh under 140 pounds.

Anyway, aside from big altitude and and the ultra steep, this is a valid formula.

Here is a map of all Col Collection climbs.

Cols and Climbs CompletedDifficulty (FIETS)Distance - milesVertical Ascent - feetAverage GradeLocation
Gotthard Pass (Airolo)8.27.630497.6%Switzerland
Gotthard Pass (Hospental)5.25.619707.1%Switzerland
Klausen Pass (Altdorf)9.614.849086.7%Switzerland
Col de la Croix de Fer (Barrage du Verney)7.315.146356.9%France
Col du Glandon (Barrage du Verney)5.915.742716.7%France
Col du Soulor (Arrens-Marsous)5.24.633437.8%France
Alpe d'Huez9.78.435868.3%France
Arp Du Jeu4.5 4.017728.4%Italy
Ax-3-Domains6521948.3%France
Col de la Gueulaz(Lac d’Emosson)8.36.629958.5%Switzerland
Boulder Canyon4.73.82,8153.4%Boulder
Col d'Agnes (Aulus les Bains)7.36.126208%France
Col de la Croix (Les Diablerets)5.45.220117.2%Switzerland
Col de la Croix (Ollon)11.410.744436.8%Switzerland
Col de la Croix de Morts35.513294.6%France
Col de la Forclaz (Martigny)8.78.233947.8%Switzerland
Col de Ordino (Ordino)5.66.222606.3%Andorra
Col de Port (Tarascon)4.19.226505.7%France
Col de Sarenne (Le Freney d'Oisans)8.19.937467.1%France
Col du Chioula (Ax les Thermes)5.57.024636.5%France
Col du Chioula (N 20 - D 44)4.411.730384.2%France

Col du Galibier
(Valloire)
9.911.3563127.1%France
Col du Marmare (Luzenac)4.41131744.7%France
Col du Marmare (N 20 - D 44)5.18.621854.8%France
Col du Pradel (Niort de Sault)6.47.827336.6%France
Sanetsch Pass13.215.858276.6%Switzerland
Col du Tentes9.819.255695.1%France

Col du Telegraphe
67.626806.7%France
Col du Tourmalet (Luz Saint Sauveur)11.311.950687.5%France
Col du Tourmalet (Campan)10.713.247107.8%France
Collada de Beixalis5.64.418348.7%Andorra
Derborence5.410.730566%Switzerland
Falzarego (north)5.98.626506.1%Italy
Falzarego (south)6.27.726626.4%Italy
Flagstaff - "Superflag" (Gregory Canyon to mailboxes)6.14.619358.6%Boulder
Forcella Staulanza (Caprile)4.9926365.5%Italy
Furkapass (Obergoms)6.710.533826.4%Switzerland
Furkapass (Realp)5.4418398.2%Switzerland
Gavia Pass (Bormio)9.315.846246.3%Italy
Gavia Pass (Ponte de Legno)11.41245127.9%Italy
Great St. Bernard (old ski station)4.4 3.917628.5%Switzerland
Great St. Bernard (St. Rhemy-en-Bosses)7.98.831466.5%Italy
Grimselpass5.7622036.6%Switzerland
Grosse Scheidegg (Meiringen)11.510.241409.6%Switzerland
Klausen Pass (Linthal)10.115.251346%Switzerland
Lac de Moiry10.219.366394.8%Switzerland
Lee Hill to end of Deer Trail (from 36)5.76.623347.9%Boulder
Left Hand Canyon (36 to Brainard Lake)8.221.252385.3%Boulder
Lookout Mountain3.14.51,2055.2%Golden
Luz Ardiden8.38.333647.6%France
Magnolia Road (to dirt)7.74.522039.9%Boulder
Mortirolo14.1 7.6417910.8%Italy
Mt Evans (Evergreen - not a continuous climb)11.635.483164.1%Colorado
Mt Evans (Idaho Springs)10.727.461634.4%Colorado
Mt Lemmon8.225.254954.6%Tucson
Nigerpass (Vigo de Fassa)3.73.913886.8Italy
Nigerpass (Tiers)5.58.226555.6%Italy
Oberalppass4.66.419955.9%Switzerland
Passo Campolongo (Corvara)2.93.911945.8%Italy
Passo Campolongo (Arabba)3.34.914765.7%Italy
Passo del Ghisallo (Bellagio)2.85.317275.2%Italy
Passo dello Stelvio (Bormio)12.213.450307.1%Italy
Passo dello Stelvio (Prato)15.415.159327.4%Italy
Passo di Marmolada / Fedaia8.29.133618.9%Italy
Passo Duran (Dont)5.85.421787.4%Italy
Passo Giau (Pocol)6.55.722887.9%Italy
Passo Giau (Selva di Cadore)9.76.229858.9%Italy
Passo Pordoi (Arabba)5.75.822057%Italy
Passo Pordoi (Canazei)6.47.325416.5%Italy
Sella Pass (Canazei)6.46.925537.2%Italy
Pikes Peak17.424.677825.9%Colorado
Plateau de Beille10.69.941787.7%France
Port de Cabus7.511.435855.5%Andorra
Port de Lers (Massat)8.3832715.2%France
Col de Pailhères (Usson)9.6 9.437777.8%France
Sugarloaf Road6.34.820368%Boulder
Sunshine Canyon (4th to top)7.2930466.4%Boulder
SuperJames (from 36)5.99.426185.1%Boulder
Susten Pass9.120.959894.7%Switzerland
Trail Ridge Road (Estes Park to Visitors Center)7.324.647944%Colorado
Trail Ridge Road (Grand Lake side to Visitors Center)5.71431004.2%Colorado
Valparola (west)5.28.925156.2Italy
Valparola (east)4.77.921895.9%Italy
Tre Cime di Lavaredo (Cortina)6.713.142245.6%Italy
Cols and Climbs CompletedDifficulty Score (FIETS)Distance - milesVertical Ascent - feetAverage GradeLocation