The Klausen Pass

Gotthard pass

Early morning hours on the east side of the Klausen Pass

Silky smooth Swiss pavement, mountain views, little traffic.

The Klausen Pass is yet another Swiss pass with high alpine scenery and lined with towering limestone walls.

The Klausen Pass

A popular Swiss cycling pass that sees little auto traffic

Description : This was the first pass I ever rode in the Alps. I had been exploring the local roads around Janine’s parents house in Luzern, but this wasn’t enough. The time had come to go big. After spotting the Klausen on the map, and knowing it from the Tour de Suisse, I had a close look. It would be a big day with lots of gain, but all those switchbacks lured me. American cyclists dream of Euro switchbacks. Early on a warm summer morning, I set out.

After hours in the saddle, I popped out above tree line and it really started. Goosebump stuff… not the view, or the climb, or the fact that I was finally riding in the Alps. It was the names on the road, I’ll never forget seeing the pro names on the road – I had made it! Then, I hit the jackpot. Something in the grass caught my eye and moments later I had a moldy CSC bottle in my cage. The day only got better when I finally rolled over the pass and began the second part of my day, which would turn into a lifetime spent in the Alps.

The Klausen Pass was the perfect first climb. It is big and beautiful, but it is not busy. The pass links two relatively quiet places, so with the exception of the ubiquitous motorbikes, and a fair number of roadies, the pass itself is a lonely road.

Regarding a route – this is an interesting one. If you descend the east side, you are a long way from where you started without an easy return. Rumor has it that the Klöntalersee Road has a way through back to Schwyz… I haven’t done it, I’ve only gone back the way I came – and that was just perfect.

Start : Altdorf /   Finish : Up to you! Study your map for options.

Distance : ~45 km

Vertical : ~1500 meters

Effort : Medium

Dan’s Tip : It may be long, but it’s not so steep – just sit and enjoy.


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