Swiss and Spanish Catalogues : updates

After the update of the Swiss passes catalogue in early December (about ten new passes), it is now the turn of the Spanish passes catalogue to undergo an important update. Here is Graham Cutting’s presentation:

We have just published a significant new update of the Spanish catalogue – which brings us up-to-date with outstanding work for this country. I should take the opportunity to thank the 50 or so members who have contributed proposals for Access modifications and occasionally new cols.

At the last count you can find in this update:

  • 640 modifications, mainly of Access details
  • 400 new cols (of which 15 are corrections to the province code) – in large part in the Canaries and Asturias. Thanks are due to Denis Chouquet-Stringer for having carried out a considerable amount of additional research in these regions during the lockdown
  • 8 cols deleted
  • 476 cols that were set aside, mainly during the initial compilation of the 2012 catalogue, have now been listed and documented as “Refused”

All refused place-names for  ES-B, ES-GI, ES-L, ES-T, ES-A, ES-CS, ES-V, ES-PM, ES-S, ES-O, ES-GC et ES-TF have now been documented.

For the moment “All” that remains to be undertaken for this country is to document the 2400 place-names set aside for the other provinces – and maybe rehabilitate a few new cols. This will be for a much later date in the future. Hence this catalogue is as up-to-date as possible for the 2023 cycling season.

2 clarifications can also be made:

1. “Prohibited” or “Forbidden” cols

We often receive feedback about restrictions on reaching some cols. Details about these restrictions are provided in the catalogues for information purposes only. These restrictions are mainly of 3 different types:

(i) Private land – a status that should should obviously be respected. A gate or a locked barrier will normally close the door to any possibility of attaining the desired col. Other means of deterrence such as a simple signboard may leave open the possibility of a discussion or a negotiation with the owner but, by default, the access can be presumed to be closed

(ii) Regional, National Parks or Nature Reserves. In these cases, like in France or other countries, access with a bike is formally and legally forbidden.

(iii) Highways with restricted access for some types of vehicles – such as Motorways or Express-Ways. Spanish law in this case is a bit special.

A Motorway can be taken by a cyclist provided that:

  • the bicycle remains on the hard shoulder
  • the motorway is toll-free
  • there is no specific sign at the start of the motorway banning bicycles
  • the cyclist is aged at least 14

Without any accurate information on this point for the moment the highways such as “A-NN” have been shown without restrictions. However, even if it was technically legal to take these highways is it reasonable to do so?

We are particularly curious about the status of the A-92 motorway between Almeria and Granada which crosses several high cols. During several journeys in the last few years by this route we have never seen a prohibition sign….nor a cyclist…

2. Cols with conflicting or uncertain information regarding their position

Your feedback often concerns questions about this type of phenomenon.

Even if a name has been attributed to a col the origin and undisputed postion of cols may be lost in the mists of time – except for the most renowned main thoroughfares.

Spain is endowed with a particularly rich and varied collection of maps – which only adds to risks of conflicting information regarding names, positions, altitudes…

In Catalonia for example, the following map-sets are available:

  • l’ICGC at 1:5000, 1:10000, 1:25000, 1:50000
  • IGN (Iberpix/MTN) at 1:25000, 1:50000, 1:200000
  • many Alpina et Piolet maps
  • a whole panoply of signposts of different types
    In addition there are other sources such as legal treaties reflecting the agreement of the Boundary Commission between Spain and France.

These sources, and sometimes even the same map from different editions, often suggest different positions for the same name. It is neither reasonsable nor justified to create as many different cols as there are possible positions for the same name so we are obliged to take position and decide on the most authorative data for our catalogues.

In general, in Catalonia, the most recent edition of the ICGC map at 1:5000 is taken as the most reliable source but there are some exceptions and we will not retain either a positioning of a place-name that does not have the requsite topographic characteristics.

In conclusion there is enough to keep you very busy in this country – 18673 cols listed, having discarded all of the possible positional variants of each col. The Waypoints retained in the catalogue have already been subject to several review cycles for accuracy. Nonetheless, information on the latest maps may change but we do not have the tools or the resources to keep this under permanent scrutiny.

For members, these Swiss and Spanish pass catalogues can be downloaded here