Polymer files #4
Peaks Beyond: Pic du Midi
Nestled within the French Pyrenees, lies a mountain that rises up to 2,877m above sea level. Often overshadowed by the iconic Col du Tourmalet, whose summit marks the initial challenge before embarking on the rugged unpaved paths that lie beyond.
A challenging expedition, with a total climb of 22.5 kilometers and an elevation gain of 1700 meters. The final leg of this journey is a demanding 5.4 kilometer gravel ascent with an average gradient of 9%.
As you divert from the paved roads, you are immediately greeted by majestic terrain and awe-inspiring vistas, with sprawling views of the valleys and mountains. The higher you climb, the more challenging the road becomes. Gravel seemingly turns into rubble while the air thins out.
With Col du Tourmalet disappearing behind you, the venture up the rugged gravel roads towards the observatory unfolds.
Perched at the summit, the Pic du Midi Observatory, stands as a testament to human curiosity and the beauty of the Pyrenees mountains.
This observatory is renowned as one of the world's oldest high mountain astronomy facilities. Notably, it's where NASA created the moon's map in 1969, making a significant contribution to the success of the first Apollo mission to the moon.
As you reach the final stretch of the climb, the mountains unveil themselves in all their splendor and you find yourself on the same level as the towering peaks, a reminder that there is an expansive world waiting to be explored.
“A trail that transcends the paved road, rugged and heavy, leads us to the Peaks Beyond."
Rider(s): Joe Rass-Court
Photography by Sebastian Tottrup