Coll de Pal is an amazing hidden gem in the Catalan Pyrenees. It is a very steep Hors Categorie climb which deserves much more fame than actually has.
The overall numbers say it all. It is a very steep climb getting 2104 meters, with an overall elevation of 1267 meters in 19,3 km, which means an average gradient of 6,3%. Nevertheless, there are many passages at 11%, 12%, and 13%. No doubt Coll de Pal is a monster climb in the Pyrenees. See the elevation profile below.
The starting point of the climb is a little village called Bagà in the Catalan Pyrenees. It is important to say that this is a no-exit climb, then you have to come back the same way you climbed to Bagà. This is the reason that it has to be stage ending when included in some event (professional race, granfondo, etc.).
Coll de Pal has been included several times in major professional races, but it was a while ago. It was in Volta a Catalunya years 1978 and 1989, and also in the Setmana Catalana de Ciclisme (not disputed since 2005) years 2002, 2003 and 2005 (winners Giuseppe Guerini, Dario Frigo, and a certain Alberto Contador).
Also, there is a very nice granfondo which includes Coll de Pal in the route. This is “Els 4 cims”, a demanding granfondo which includes 4 big climbs as Coll de la Creueta, Collada de Toses, Coll de la Merolla and finally Coll de Pal (as an optional climb, given that arriving to Bagà cyclists did already 143 km).
Do not hesitate to climb up to Coll de Pal if you want a demanding cycling challenge!