Col de Menté (St Béat)

Start Town Altitude Elevation Gain Length Gradient Difficulty Rating
St Béat 1,349m 849m 9.3 km 9.1% 1,015 ****

Col de Menté Profile

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Climb Description

Col de Menté from Saint Béat is one of the most challenging climbs in the Ariège Pyrenees. The consistently high gradients offer little respite and there is also little shade to be found on the steep slopes.

It is also a legendary climb of the Tour de France, perhaps more famous for its role in deciding the 1971 race.  The Spanish rider Luis Ocaña; was winning the race by seven minutes when he was attacked on the descent of the Col de Menté by Eddy Merckx in horrendous stormy conditions. The latter rider crashed and took Ocaña with him.

While Merckx was able to get up and continue - eventually riding to overall victory in the Tour - Ocaña had to be taken to hospital and had to wait until 1973 before he claimed his first overall win at the race. There is a plaque on one of the hairpins high up on the Saint Béat side which marks this event.

In terms of scenery, the climb from Saint Béat is the less interesting of the two sides. There are pleasant views back down into the valley and the hairpin bends are good fun to ride, but the top is covered by trees and the scenery is not as stunning as on a few of the other climbs in the region.

Subject to weather Col de Menté is open throughout the year.

Col de Menté (Pyrenees)

The top of the climb is a bit nondescript

Roads & Traffic

The road surface is in very good condition throughout and there is little traffic on the climb.

Alternative Routes

Col de Menté can also be climbed from Ponte de l'Oule in the east. That is the slightly easier and more picturesque of the two sides.

Nearby Climbs

Port de Balès

Col de Peyresourde


Col du Portillon

Col de Portet d'Aspet


Cycling Holidays

Col de Menté is climbed as a route option on our Pyrenees Coast to Coast and Best Of The Pyrenees cycling holidays.

Check out the information below for details of these and some of the other tours that we run in high mountains.

Port de Pailheres Cycling
French FlagFrance

Guided Cycling Holiday
Length: 9 Days
Level: Difficulty Hard
Price: €1,980 EUR
*Bike Hire Included

French FlagFrance

Guided Cycling Holiday
Length: 8 Days
Level: Difficulty Challenging-Hard
Price: €1,630 EUR
*Bike Hire Included

Picos de Europa National Park
Spanish FlagSpain

Self-Guided Cycling Holiday
Length: 8 Days
Level: Difficulty Medium to Challenging
Price: from €1,490 EUR