Skip to main content

Tour du Mont Blanc: Voie Toller- Leaving Chamonix

03:30- Chamonix Church, Haute Savoie, France

The overnight storm had quickly past and we set off fresh legged with smiling faces towards Switzerland. 
Cham Church 03:30
Jo wasn't on his "ultimate touring setup" but his old touring machine, a Specialzed Hardrock 26 inch wheeled mountain bike with old slick tyres, V-brakes and rigid forks...
Chatelard Boarder 04:35
At 04:35 we crossed into Switzerland, past the busy Emosson dam electricity plant and pedalled on up to the Col de la Forclaz.  By 05:40 we were in Martigny Switzerland.  My 29ner zoomed down the descents with high pressured tyres and Jo's LED headlight lighting up the road alot better than mine.
Col de la Forclaz 05:20
Martigny looking towards Sion
Jo after the long and fast descent into Martigny
Martigny was the beginning of the climb to the Swiss/Italian boarder. 35km's of road lay head of us, then the off road would begin. Would we be able to ride it, or would we already be so tired we'd have to push up the footpaths? It was getting light as we turned off the main road that leads the lorries upto the Grand St Bernard Tunnel.  We turned our light's off and had our first bite to eat in the town of Orsieres.  Dried banana's, cereal bars and breakfast biscuits.  I have bad teeth from years of snacking on such food's so for the last year I have been on a low sugar diet, if not sugar free eating dried fruit and nuts often when out riding.  But for today I was eating anything to keep me fueled...
Orsieres 06:50
Energy gel and water refuelling time in the Swiss Val Ferret:
First gel of the day 07:20
One of many places to get water

08:50 Off Road

The road after La Fouly came to an end, so after some more water, toilet breaks & food we began riding up the fire road.  We had kept a steady pace all morning, so, as the track steepened it was with no surprise that we jumped off our bikes and started pushing.
Jo begining the off road 08:50
Half way up the farm has diversified with an endeavour my farming Father would be proud of.  Food and accommodation for TMB hikers.  They serve the best apple juice of the trip, and with Jo shouting something about bonking again, we shared a glass before heading for the top.
Best apple juice around
We began to meet our first groups of walkers of the morning and it was a little concerning to see them in full waterproofs, gloves and hats coming from the col, the col that we couldn't see because of the mist. We were travelling light and quick, Killian Jornet style. The Swiss Meteo and Italian's had given a positive outlook for the majority of the day till late afternoon. 

6 hours in
A few quick photo's at the Col de Grand Ferret (2537m) at 10:30 and it was down into Italy...


Popular posts from this blog

Aiguille de la Grande Sassiere 3751m

One of those pure adventure days *warning mega photo post*Ali-venturing as it's been known by over the summer.  When Ali from trailAddiction gets grand idea's in his head it always leads to hike-a-bike. Read here on DIRT Mag about a previous mission, its the highest rideable peak in the alps!
A special team was organised:  A top ten finishing team from the Bivouac Enduro, Mael and Max, Ali, myself and Fred the mountain bike mechanic from Mavic. All keen, all stupid?
And then my alarm went off at 04:30.  Time to eat and drink as much as possible.  I hadn't been up this early since ski touring in refuges last winter.  In my tired state I did subconsciously know how to load the bikes onto the trailer, it's easy after doing it everyday all summer.  We drove up towards Val d'Isere, then turned left up a singletrack road.  It was around 6am, and it was still pitch black. Slowly the sun began to rise: And the hike-a-bike continued and turned into carry-a-bike, but with the su…

What guides do between work in the peak of July

Summer is here, and after fantastic spring riding in Southern France and then all over Valais, Aosta and Haute Savoie with good friends it's been time to get back to summer guiding, taking hikers around the Tour du Mont Blanc circuit.  There's much worse things to do, but with three weeks off the bike I was itching to get back on some trails.

With a carefully planned week between tours I was excited and made some plans to hit up some classic lines, and some new stuff too. It's mid July now, so in Chamonix valley you have to think carefully about where to go to miss the crowds, and to avoid going on the bike ban trails (July & August).  Luckily it's still easy to find quiet trails in nearby resorts, or to simply drop round the back of a hill away from the frontside lifts. It went a little like this:

Day 1- La Thuile with Wayne of newly qualified French legal mountain bike guiding service . Enduro race venue at it's best, rough and raw.

Day 2- Blue b…


Verbier is a very mixed place.  There is great piste skiing & free-riding and access to world class ski touring, but more often its known for it's decadence.  Huge picture perfect chalets with wealthy families and their beaufituful/handsome ski instructors fill the resort. And if not that, the seedier side of ski resorts, the bankers with their paid for woman. . .

Talking of horrible, those exposed switchbacks half way down from the Chateau were bloody horrible, lucky the rest of the trail was very good fun.

Well of course, its Swiss Valais, the footpaths are "tip top" and the lift companies are bike friendly.  There were still a lot of pistes open for skiing, but after 11am you can use the lower lift from Le Chable to Verbier to access the snow free trails that lead back into the valley floor.  Time to explore:

Many thanks to Lorne for some of the cracking photos :