Col de Vars Climb Profile

By : Mr Mamil
Updated :

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Col de Vars Climb

Col de Vars is a high mountain pass (2,108m) in the French Alps, between the Hautes-Alpes and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence departments in France. The pass is between the towns of Guillestre to the north and Saint-Paul-sur-Ubaye to the east and provides beautiful views of the surrounding mountains.

There are two ways to climb the Col de Vars.

  • From Guillestre (north)
  • From Saint-Paul-sur-Ubaye (east)

Starting point : Guillestre

Guillestre is located to the north of Col de Vars. The climb from Guillestre is 18.7km long and averages 5.5%.

There is a 4km false flat and a slight downhill section after 8km into the climb, where you can recover and take in the beautiful scenery.

Climb categoryHC
Elevation gain1,062m
Minimum elevation1,036m
Maximum elevation2,066m
Average gradient5.5%
Maximum gradient11.0%
Strava segmentCol de Vars from Guillestre
Col de la Biche from Guillestre

Starting point : Saint-Paul-sur-Ubaye

Saint-Paul-sur-Ubaye is to the east of the Col de Vars. The climb from Lanslebourg is shorter but harder. It’s 7.2km long with an average gradient of 7.1%. 

There is a 1km downhill section after 3km, and the gradient gets steeper after the fourth kilometer and rarely dips below 6%.

Climb category2
Elevation gain564m
Minimum elevation1,455m
Maximum elevation1,993m
Average gradient7.1%
Maximum gradient17.6%
Strava segmentCol de Vars from Saint-Paul-sur-Ubaye
Col de la Biche from Saint-Paul-sur-Ubaye

Col de Vars in the Tour de France

Col de Vars ranks in the top 10 for the most times used in the Tour de France with 35. It’s ahead of well-known climbs such as the Col de la Madeleine (29) and Mont Ventoux (18).

Col de Vars first featured in the Tour de France in 1922 and as recently as 2019. It’s an Hors Catégorie (HC) climb from Guillestre and Category 2 climb from Saint-Paul-sur-Ubaye.

In 2019’s Stage 18, it was the stage’s first climb that also featured the Col d’Izoard, Col du Lautaret, and Col du Galibier. Nairo Quintana won the stage that day at Valloire.