Colle del Gran San Bernardo (or Col du Grand Saint Bernard in French) is the most ancient pass through the Western Alps, with evidence of use as far back as the Bronze Age and many surviving traces of the Roman period. The blocky rock structure on the foreground reveals the old Strada Romana. The pass runs northeast-southwest through the Pennine Alps at a maximum elevation of 2,469m. The road running through the pass, highway E27, joins the canton of Valais, Switzerland, to the Aosta valley, Italy.
When we cross this pass harsh almost polar circumstances ruled. Strong icy winds pushed the clouds from the Swiss side upwards to the mountain slopes. After crossing the ridges, the clouds literally fall down sharply and resolved on the Italian side. Our car registered an outdoor temperature of 3°C, but with the wind chill it felt below zero.
On July 21-st, at the 16-th stage of the Tour de France 2009, the peloton will climb this HC (Haute Category) pass! I hope for them that it will be a bit warmer by then.