Pierre St Martin is nowadays one of the trendy climbs of the Pyrenees Atlantiques. And cycling up there is a must for any climber.
With its inclusion in TdF 2015, Pierre Saint-Martin became one of those pilgrimage destinations for keen cyclists. It has everything a climb should have: scenery, steepness, other climbs nearby…
Pierre Saint Martin has 7 possible approaches.
They are the following:
– Belagua side: maybe the easiest side, from the southern Spanish approach, starting at Isaba. It is worth to mention a helicoidal curve (270 degrees) and an amazing viewpoint called Larra-Belagua. Worth a stop.
– Arette side: The steepest side and the one Tour de France climbed on the 2015 edition (victory for Froome).
– Col d’Issarbe side: climbing through the ski station of Issarbe, later Col de Souscousse and Col de Soudet.
– Sainte Engrace side: this side climbs through Col de Souscousse and afterward Col de Soudet.
– Lourdios-Ichere side: beginning in Lourdios-Ichere, this side crosses Foret d’Issaux, and afterward gets Col de Labays and Col de Soudet
– Col de Hourataté: Beginning in Osse-en-Aspe, Hourataté, Bouezou, Labays, and Soudet are the cols crossed on this side.
– Col de Bouezou: Beginning in Lees-Athas, climbs directly to Col de Bouezou following to Labays and Soudet, as the former side.
Nevertheless, maybe the map you can see on the left will clarify better all the options you have when climbing Pierre St Martin.
La Pierre St Martin is not often included in a Transpyrenees coast to coast cycling tour, but it is absolutely worth to consider doing it. A possibility would be climbing Pierre St Martin and returning to Spain through Port de Larrau, another very demanding col (on the French side), made famous when included in Tour de France 1996.
There is a sportive organized in Aramits, called la Pierre Jacques (see elevation profile in the image) in which you get to know most of the roads climbing la Pierre Sant Martin. Absolutely worth, but it seems a very demanding ride!!