FAQs – The Cols
HOW DO I MAKE MY LIST OF COLS?
The list should preferably be made digitally, using Word or Excel or equivalent software. This is for reasons of legibility. It should be either printed and posted, or sent by email to your DT or DN. At a pinch, it may be hand-written, but the characters must be separated, and clear. Cols should be indicated with their altitude, and if possible, grouped by Departement (for France). For cols in other countries, please specify the country, and, if possible, the region.
WHICH COLS ARE RECOGNISED?
The cols recognised by the Club are listed in our catalogues (see below). For countries that do not yet have a catalogue, cols should have a name and title on a map or other reliable document, or on a sign (either summit, or directional) on the ground.
CAN UNSURFACED COLS BE COUNTED?
What we call ‘muletiers’ , or mule-tracks, are recognised by the Club and can be counted as well as surfaced cols.
CAN UNRIDEABLE COLS BE COUNTED?
The aim is to climb the cols on the bike. But so long as you reach the top with the bike (riding, pushing or carrying), the col can be counted.
CAN I COUNT A RIDEABLE COL IF, FOR REASONS OF TIREDNESS, I HAVE TO GET OFF AND WALK?
Yes, as long as you get to the top only by your own muscle-power.
WHAT MACHINES ARE PERMITTED FOR CLIMBING COLS?
Any human-powered vehicle can be used, including bicycles, tandems and tricycles and so on. All types of motor (internal combustion, electric – including supplementary assistance) are unacceptable. Cols climbed on foot, without a bicycle, cannot be counted.
SOME COLS ARE PROHIBITED, BUT APPEAR IN THE CATALOGUES. WHAT CAN I DO?
The aim of the catalogues is to be as comprehensive as possible. They do not take account of legal restrictions. Some cols are prohibited because they are in national parks or protected areas, or on motorways or railways, or because they are on private land or in military zones. It is up to each member to obey these restrictions, just as they would the Highway Code and other current laws. Having said that, if you have climbed one of these cols, it will be counted.
DO COLS FROM OUTSIDE FRANCE COUNT?
Cols from anywhere in the world can be counted.
CAN I COUNT A COL MORE THAN ONCE IF I HAVE CLIMBED IT FROM MORE THAN ONE SIDE?
It is the col that counts, not the climb, so it can only be counted once, even if you have climbed it from more than one direction, and even if it is a frontier col, which may have two different references, one for each country.
DO THE FAMOUS CLIMBS LIKE ALPE D’HUEZ, HAUTACAM AND MONT VENTOUX COUNT?
The climbs made famous by cyclesport are not necessarily cols. On the other hand, there is often a col nearby (eg. Col de Poutran above Alped’Huez, Col des Tempetes on the south side of Mont Ventoux).
CAN A COL CROSSED WHILE DESCENDING COUNT?
All recognised cols, even crossed in a descent, can be counted.
DO COLS CLIMBED WITH AN MTB COUNT?
Yes, all types of bicycle are admitted so long as they are exclusively human-powered.
CAN COLS THAT ARE CROSSED WHILE CLIMBING ANOTHER BE COUNTED (EG. COL DU LAUTERET-COL DU GALIBIER) ?
Yes, both can be counted, either climbing or descending.
IS THERE A MINIMUM ALTITUDE FOR A COL TO COUNT?
There is no minimum altitude, only a name on a map, or on a sign, is required.
ARE THERE REFERENCE CATALOGUES?
The Club publishes catalogues for an increasing number of countries. The cols listed in them are recognised by the Club and can be included on members’ lists.
Each catalogue existed in both digital and printed versions. Members can freely download updated versions of any catalogue that they have previously bought. It is better to use the most up to date catalogues before sending off your annual list.
WHEN I FIND A PREVIOUSLY UNKNOWN COL, WHICH ISN’T IN ANY OF THE CATALOGUES, CAN I PUT IT ON MY ANNUAL LIST
It might be on a list of ‘refused’ cols published on our website (les cols>cols refusés). If this is not the case, you can share your discovery by writing to the Secretary (or tocols@cent cols.org) with as much supporting evidence as you can provide (map extracts, photos etc.). This will be examined by the Club for validation or refusal. If approved, it will be included in the next ‘additif’ (supplement) and can be added to your annual list. If it is not approved, it will be added to the list of refused cols and you will not be able to add it to your list.
WHICH MAPS SHOULD I USE TO LOCATE COLS?
For France, the catalogue of cols (the Chauvot) gives the co-ordinates for the Michelin Local and Departmental maps, and the IGN 1/100000. These maps are good enough for road cols. For more precision on tracks and footpaths, we would recommend more detailed maps like the IGN 1/25000. These maps will also show small surfaced roads that bigger scale maps miss. The catalogues for other countries specify the appropriate maps to be used, for both road and off-road. Scales are mostly the same as French maps.
HOW CAN I LOCATE THE COLS ON THE MAPS?
Our catalogues give millimetre X and Y co-ordinates that can be read off from the grid squares on the maps.
For those with software such as Cartoexplorer, Géoportail or GoogleEarth, you can find a col using universal geographic co-ordinates (longitude and latitude GTS84 and UTM) which are provided in most digital catalogues. Some also provide other series of co-ordinates belonging to the country concerned (eg.Gauss-Kruge for Germany, and civil co-ordinates for Switzerland).
Finally, a program called ccWay is available on our website (lescols) and allows the transfer of co-ordinates to GPS receivers as well as making them visible in GoogleEarth.
WHAT ARE ‘CALQUES’
A ‘calque’ is a graphic representation of col locations on such and such fold, or grid square, of a map. By printing this graphic on a transparent sheet, and laying it over the corresponding section of the map, colscan be readily located. This method is now however outdated and the Club have withdrawn this facility.
I HAVE A GPS. DOES THE CLUB PROVIDE ‘TRACES’?
The Club does not offer GPS traces. Only cols care located by geographical co-ordinates in accordance with the various current systems.
However, the Club does have MTB circuits in its ‘Topo Guides’ (see below). Traces are now provided fior the circuits at our séjours. The Club has entered a partnership with Openrunner, where you can find a ‘Cent Cols’ section from which you can download these circuits.
DOES THE CLUB PUBLISH RIDE GUIDES?
The series of TopoGuides bring together a large number of MTB circuits with plans, profiles and descriptions, and other useful information. These Guides are available in printed form, or as pdf files.
HOW MANY COLS ARE THERE IN FRANCE?
About 11000, including 2400 road cols. All these cols are recognised by the Club and are listed in the Catalogue of French Cols (the Chauvot). There are also very many cols in other countries. The Club has produced catalogues for several, notably Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Spain, Uk and Eire, Italy, USA, Turkey, Poland and Rumania (an ever increasing list).
CAN I ADD TO MY ANNUAL LIST A COL PUBLISHED IN AN ‘ADDITIF’, EVEN IF I CLIMBED IT YEARS BEFORE?
Yes, the year when you climbed it is not relevant.
SHOULD I REMOVE FROM MY LIST A COL WHICH HAS SUBSEQUENTLY BEEN REFUSED?
This is entirely up to each member’s own sensibility.
HOW ARE THE CLUB’S CATALOGUES KEPT UP TO DATE?
By the appearance of new information (eg. a new edition of a map) provided by members, or found by the Club’s own Working Groups, and the examination of this. The digitisation of French land registry plans has revealed many forgotten cols.
WHY ARE SOME TOPOGRAPHIC COLS, WHICH ARE NAMED ON A MAP, OR BY A SIGN, REFUSED BY THE CLUB?
Usually, it is because these names have been given by cyclists, or by official bodies at the initiative of cyclists, for purposes of publicity or tourism. These cols have no basis in local tradition and contravene article 4 of our Rules. However, if further evidence becomes available, it can be sent to email@example.com for consideration.
WHY DOESN’T THE CODE OF A COL, AND ITS ALTITUDE, ALWAYS CORRESPOND?
The code uses the original altitude of the col. The altitude shown on a map or on a sign may vary according to the edition of the map, or the age of the sign. But the altitude in the code cannot change, in order to maintain the traceability of the col in the catalogue.