Independence Pass is the highest paved crossing of the Continental Divide, taking you to the dizzying heights of more than 12,000ft above sea level.

To put that into context, the full 31.4km climb starts at an elevation of 2,423m in Aspen – that’s higher than the highest road in the Pyrenees. And the only way is up.

It does not boast the same thigh-numbing gradients of some of those Pyrenean peaks, but Mike Cotty – who has ridden the climb in the latest video instalment from the Col Collective – says you will definitely feel the lack of air.

Independence Pass, climb, Rockies, pic - Col Collective

Independence Pass, climb, Rockies, pic - Col Collective

Following the Roaring Fork River, and passing through Independence, it is one of the Rocky Mountains’ must-ride ascents.

“I'd wanted to ride Independence Pass for such a long time, much like the famous climbs in Europe it had a certain lure that I wanted to see for myself," Cotty said.

“Such a beautiful climb and one that I'm very glad to have now experienced."

Check out the video above, or see more from the Col Collective here.

Vital statistics

Start: Aspen

Length: 19.5 miles (31.4 km)

Highest Point: 12,095ft (3,687m)

Start Elevation: 7,951ft (2,423m)

Elevation gain: 4,144ft (1,263m)

Max gradient: 7.5%

Average gradient: 4.2%

Ridden in September