The ascent from Bedoin is the classic way up the mountain. The length of the climb from Bedoin at 300m to the summit at 1912m is 21.5km . This gives an elevation of 1612m and an average gradient of 7.5%. This doesn't sound too bad but when you break the climb down into its 3 obvious sections it paints a different picture. Please click here to download a .pdf file of the route profile.
From Bedoin at 300m it is 5.5km to St. Esteve at 541m. This gives an elevation of 241m and an average gradient of just 4.4%.
So why the bad reputation? Well, the next section, the infamous forest has the answer. From St. Esteve at 541m it is 9.5km to Chalet Reynard at 1417m. This gives an average gradient of over 9% for the whole of this section. It is also worth remembreing that this 9% is not constant as there are a few sections as low a 7% and many over 11% and 12%.
The last 6km from Chalet Reynard are much easier than the forest section but also much more exposed and weather dependent. This section has the reputation of being very windy. However it works both ways and quite often a nice tail wind will help you to the top. As you leave Chalet Reynard you have a short steep section but as you round the first bend there is a noticable drop in gradient with an average of approximately 7% for the next 4.5km. If you are very lucky you will have a tail wind and it will be possible to fly up this part of the climb. If you are unlucky you will be battling into the wind all the way to the top and it will feel like 12% again. The last 1500m from the Simpson Memorial are steep again at 10% but by this time you won't really care.