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Exploring the Emosson Dam, Valais, Suisse

Following the contours in search of more goods

Emosson Dam

The goods
First though we had to earn it.  We made good time up the 8% road from Finhaut to Emosson Dam.  A road soon to be a stage finale for the Criterium du Dauphine (the pro road racers warm-up for le Tour.  The rule is: you win Dauphine, you win the Tour.)

I'd spied a great looking long trail that hugged the contour lines from the top of the dam to above Finhaut/Marceottes.  Dan Milner had got a MBR cover shot on a lower trail so we had high hopes for great-ness.

At the Dam viewing platform There were a few ski tourers returning from Col de la Terrasse direction, but the high mountains were in the clouds all day.  Middle mountain's was the place to be today!

The trail started through super rocky high alpine terrain with punchy climbs. Short technical descents were followed by pedally sections and much hike-a-bike.  We came through a great alpine meadow full of stunning flowers.  Bread, cheese and tomato's were eaten in beuatiful surroundings.

There was more exploring to be done, we'd only done 1/3 of the trail.  Short hike-a-bike sections were interspersed with flowy, but technical trails.  There were always plenty of rocks to keep you on the edge of your comfort zone.  Superb fun as we now entered the forest.  Superb journeying as IML trainers would say covering many kilometer's of trail.
First flower shot of the season, name to follow

We popped out again and onto a familiar looking rock.  I'd not ridden this trail before, but I had read MBR and seen Dan Milner's cover shot.  We were infact on the same trail. We tried to get a similar shot, but my camera is not quite pro-setup worthy.  Ride with me though, and we'll ride cover shot worthy trails!

From here we descended through Chamonix stlye forests with swtichbacks and steep rocky rooty chutes until we came across an area with lots of mini rock slabs.  You had to pedal to link up all the sections but it was all great fun.

If you've ever wondered about these hard to reach Swiss Villages and their inhabitants,  near Finhaut you'll find the house of a local who died just 30 years ago.  This guy was a real-life stereotype, he had 6 fingers on each hand!  A real melting pot of Finhaut/Barberine genetics... or perhaps a lack of genetics more likely being the issue...

After the 6 fingered mans house it didn't take long to get back to the car, but of course there were a few more rocks to negotiate.


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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 :