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Monthly Archives: July 2014

La Vernaz and Col de Trechauffe

Both these climbs are key challenges of the Morzine Sportive, but while cycling through both looked like grand places for a wander hence todays excursion ‘au chiens’.  La Vernaz is a 20-minute drive down from Morzine through St Jean D’Aulps and past the Pont Diable, you can take the first signposted turn to Vernaz, its shorter, but I think its worth carrying on down the gorge another mile to the second turning and take in a longer and more attractive climb to the small village and parking area by the church.

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There is a handy map in the carpark showing the local ‘discovery’ walk, also reproduced here:

http://ete.valleedaulps.com/images/prestataires/8427-sitraLOI833194_305019_le-sentier-decouverte-de-la-vernaz-winter-gb.pdf

The walk goes up through the village to the peak, then dives into the woods.  On a day like today, roasting, this was a real bonus!  After an easy saunter, the track descends down a steep path before opening out into bright tracks full of butterflys.  We were lucky to see a pair of Bonnelli’s eagles enjoying the air currents, before they were dive-bombed by a black kite.

Having given away a lot of height, its now payback time though the trail is well-marked and easy going, following a stream around the field edge.

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The trees are full of mistletoe and the local farmers clearly enjoy the art-form of log piling.

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As is typical with all these villages, there are some fab old farmhouses which effortlessly combine the new with the old: IMG_4361

The only thing missing after a steady 90 minute loop was a cafe for re-fuelling. So we headed off back down the switchbacks, right and then hard left to take in the Trechauffe area where i knew there were a few choices.  While the Sportive ride comes from the opposite side of the mountain, climbing Grand Taillet and descending down to the gorge road before climbing again to Vernaz, the full climb to Col de Trechauffe is a good 5Km extra above Grand Taillet, and the overall average is about 8% so its a tough challenge at any time.

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Still the rewards are immense!   The views as you climb above Grand Taillet are staggering, as the full vista to Lake Geneva opens out.  The road starts to peter out at the viewpoint, or you can do another stretch to get to the Auberge Trechauffe (cash only!) at the end of the road, where there are also a number of footpaths to take you onwards and upwards.

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Footpath map:

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View back towards Seytroux and St Jean:

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By |July 16th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on La Vernaz and Col de Trechauffe

Morzine, Parc des Dereches

The River Dranse is running pretty wild this week after some heavy rain, and down in the ravine below the Super-Morzine lift, its thundering through the trees past the tennis courts, pools and then through to the Country Park.

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I’ve never spent much time down here before and was pleasantly surprised by all the facilities and family activity this Sunday morning.  It could have been Richmond Park (apart from the mountains of course, and not so many yummy mummies).

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The main drag follows the river all the way down to St. Jean, its got well surfaced level tracks so a good choice for the old folks and littl’uns. There was lots of ‘stuff’ going on.

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As we wandered down, over various bridges and back on the other side, we took in the horse riding school, the zip wires and tree ropes, childrens cycle tracks, a fairly strange looking kind of golf with frisbys activity.

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Further on we found the fitness zone, bee hotel, and an area where they seem to be in the process of building a water-driven sawmill, though it seems to be a bit behind schedule.

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The fitness zone was good fun, taking in multiple activites around the woods and challenging our imaginations as we tried to work out exactly what we were supposed to do, probably we needed to be dressed more like the athletes we know we can be.  Below is on the more sensible side of what we achieved, though Dan seemed in no doubt that this exercise was all abouth the tail wagging the dog….

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It was a wee bit wet so the smart bees were tucked up but there was no doubt this place was a lot better option than the local Ibis and I’d swear the rooms were bigger!

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So a nice place to wander and judging by the variety of people jogging, walking etc. etc. its well-used and maintained.  There seemed to be access points all over, we came in on the Little Train after a big breakfast, and headed out up the S-M lift opposite the pool.  All very easy and a nice diversion from a Town full of, we were loudly told, “World-Class Lumberjacks” whittling tree trunks into matchsticks.

By |July 13th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Morzine, Parc des Dereches

Road Cycling Guide to Morzine area

This guide has a number of local rides:

Road Cycling guide

By |July 12th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Road Cycling Guide to Morzine area

Walking Guide to Morzine area

This is a local Guide from the Tourist Office, with several good walks.

Morzine Walking Guide

By |July 12th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Walking Guide to Morzine area

Walking the Avoriaz loop around Serrausaix

This is a fine walk which follows some of the Nordic ski-ing trails (7 and 8).  It takes about 2-3 hours and gives you a good way to explore the Seraussaix alpage while avoiding most of the mountain bikers and getting more peace and quiet than if, for example, you wander around Lindarets.

 

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The ideal place to start is the top of the Super Morzine lift, nice and easy if you are taking the lift from Morzine.  If driving, go up the Avoriaz switchbacks and park at the bottom of the Zore chairlift (take a left hand access point just before Maisons de Zore).  The benefit of starting/ending here is you can grab a meal after at one of the mountain restaurants.  We think Le Passage is the best…

There is a large map of the ski-de-fond area at Zore, or you can use the winter guide, or just follow the Nordic arrows which are easily visible throughout.  Take the low track round to the back of the Super Morzine bubble, it leads under the Le Passage restaurant and slowly climbs, signposted ‘Crete de Super-Morzine’.  There are a few paths down to Morzine and Montriond here, but keep on a slow ascent and it becomes a very quiet trail.  Effectively you are above the steep cliffs dropping off to Lake Montriond.   This area is a nature reserve for Chamois, though I can’t claim to have seen one.  Plenty of evidence of wild boar though.

 

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The highest part of the climb is the Col de la Croix des Combes.

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Here there is a wide open meadow full of orchids and butterflys.

Its pretty marshy though so be prepared for wet feet as you cross it.  From the large cross, you can decide to carry on round the loop, or go all the way up to Avoriaz, or descend across the Joux Verte to Les Lindarets and visit the goats.

 

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The track now meet the ridge at the top of the Zore chairlift.   There are great viewpoints here, and also Les Cretes restaurant which is excellent and often has a band playing.  The route down, again following the Nordic arrows, follows the Blue piste track until it meets the Avoriaz road at the Ferme de Serraussaix.  At this point you want to go through the tunnel and then turn right as the track bends round to the right and parallels the underside of the road.  It can get pretty muddy if the cattle are grazing so be prepared to stay on the road if it is wet.  After a mile the return track to Super-Morzine is visible on the right, but be careful as some of the track is used by bikers.

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Strava: http://www.strava.com/activities/164810168

 

 

 

By |July 12th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Walking the Avoriaz loop around Serrausaix