Haute route help…
Should be able to help you out a bit here… I’m not Alpine guide, but I’ve done the Haute Route twice now. (Just finished the second one actually, written a blog about it here)
The first year we bivvied our way along the standard ‘MTB Haute Route’. A couple of weeks ago we stuck much more closely to the walker’s route (two-hour hike-a-bikes followed by descents were totally worth the effort!) and stayed in hotels in Verbier, Arolla, St Luc and St Niklaus.
Can’t help you with Evoline (lovely village!) as we stayed up the valley in Arolla.
St Luc: We stopped in ‘Gite du Prillet’ (just outside the top of town) which was a hostel (I think they do rooms too) right by a lovely little stream with a pretty decent resautrant attached. Definitely recommended, especially if you want to save a couple of quid.
In St Niklaus, we stayed at the bottom of town in this huge ‘B&B’ (basically a hotel). It was pretty cheap but very nice. Another alternative (and somewhere I DEFINITELY recommend for food) is the ‘Hotel La Reserve’. They do some of the finest pizzas I have ever eaten…
I did look at a few other hotels etc but I’d have to have a search around to find them. If you want to ask anything else, drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s an awesome trip!
TomPosted 4 years ago
Swiss maps are NOT cheap. We must have dropped 100 Euros on them first time around. If you’ve not already bought them, you can print maps from here Bit faffy, but probably worth it.
http://www.booking.com was pretty good for sorting accommodation, although there’s loads more en route that isn’t on the site. And don’t believe them when they say there’s ‘only one room left’ etc. I did and ended up in half empty hotels.
The train from Zermatt to Cham. is about 100 CHF – and the line is being repaired just before the border. There’s a replacement bus service, but it doesn’t take bikes. You’ll either need to ride the road up to Vallorcine and then get the lift up to the top of the DH to Le Tour, or just roadie it over the Col des Montets.
EDIT: Do you have your route sorted? The first year we made something up based on the Ride the Alps website. The second year we copied the route on this Pinkbike article (it’s linked to somewhere on there) fairly closely. I think the best route is some sort of combo of the two. Just ask if you want to know anything!Posted 4 years ago
Hoping the singletrack hive mind can help me out with finding accommodation on the Chamonix – Zermatt haute route…
Looking for suggestions & recommendations of cheap places to stay in the following:
Evolene (or Eison or St Martin);
St Luc (or Grimentz, St Jean, Vissoie, Tignousa) &;
Don’t intend to take bivvy gear, but pretty much anything from roof over head and nowt else upwards considered. There’s a general lack of huts in this area, I’m more used to ski touring than bike touring hut to hut and am a wee bitty lost without my winter rooms for accommodation!
GrahamPosted 4 years agoChrisEMember
We just did 11 days from Geneva to Lake Como. I will write it up – promise! Riding snow, massive descents, some where I bet bikes have hardly ever been and yes, 2 or 3 hour hike-a-bikes.
Anyway the reason for the post, one of our group is an IT whizz and managed to get the whole area (and can get any areas of Switzerland) to be in Memory Map at 1:25K by caching the swiss national mapping website. It saved us more than £300 worth of maps and of course a lot of weight. So it can be done
CPosted 4 years ago
Tom, Awesome, an example of all that is good and useful on the internet!
The 2 route links you give are 2 of the main ones I’ve used for planning the route, which has come out more or less a mix of the 2. Same as yours till 1/2 way through day 2, then more or less the same as Jamie’s at Ridethealps to Evolene,day 3 Pas & Basset de Iona to St Luc, day 4 Pas de l’Illsee then back onto yours for the Augstbordpass to St Niklaus, then day 5 up to Zermatt and bankruptcy…
My main problem had been sorting out the accommodation, the majority of online search engines look in the surrounding area, and 10km in a straight line can be an auffy long way in the mountains! I found it hard to believe that there were no gites in any of the towns when it’s one of the main walking areas in Europe.
I live in Chamonix, so had all but 1 of the maps anyway for ski touring (swiss ski touring maps are a thing of beauty for anyone who hasn’t used them, but they colour them in for winter snow levels not summer, which adds something to the MTBing high pass rideabilty guesswork)and also means I can pressgang a mate into driving round and picking us up to save on the train fare.
We’re aiming to start 2nd weekend in September to balance the lifts still being open, the trails being a bit quieter and me having enough time to recover from running the C.C.C. the weekend before.
Looking forward to reading ChrisE’s report too!
GrahamPosted 4 years ago
Nick, thanks – very kind of you to say.
Graham – nice blog! Your route sounds good! Living in Cham, you probably know the trails better than I do, but I’d definitely recommend the Col du Torrent over the Iona passes. It’s fantastic going your way, but we only found a fireroad descent to the Lac du Moiry, whereas going via Col du Torrent is a similar climb but much better singletrack descent, although you are up high for less time.
Enjoy the Augustbordpass down to Embd! It’s a pretty mind-blowing end to the trip!
Have fun!Posted 4 years ago
Tom, I only know the trails as far as Verbier really, I tend to stay in France or Italy when I stray from the valley, Switzerland is kinda dear if you’re a ski bum! I was going to ask which way you preferred, the Pas de L’Illsee or the Col du Torrent. I’d heard good things about the former, and it’s an easier way round with a chairlift then after the descent a 400m road climb instead of 600m+, but the Torrent – Augstbordpass is a really aesthetically pleasing line to draw on the map! Think we’ll take suggestion. I am getting very excited about this trip!
Nick, It’s on the list, though as it’s a very forbidden trail (ignoring the July/Aug debacle, it’s in the aig rouge nat park and it goes above 2500m, but it’s not exactly wilderness when you see the snake of folk winding up it summer & winter) I wouldn’t put it in the blog if/when I do/did it, which obviously I haven’t/wouldn’t. Err. Give us a shout if you’re in town again later in the year and keen though. In keeping with the theme of this year, there’s still way too much snow up there to bother with it just now, but it should be good by September. Unfortunately I think it will be one of those rides that are much more about the adventure than the quality of the riding, it’s fairly loose scree at the top and a very sweaty haul to the top, but to paraphrase someone else, it needs to be ridden because it’s there.
Sanny, aye, I’m one of them now. Terrorising other trail users by going too fast, overtaking, ripping up the ground with aggressive treads, wearing bright out of place colours……disgraceful I know. Buuuut for a lot of Chamonix trails it’s the fastest way about, and it does keep you in good shape for the winter.Posted 4 years ago
I definitely preferred the Torrent/Meidpass/Augustbordpass route, but there’s a lot of carrying pushing (well, there is both ways…) and the tops bits of the descents aren’t always totally rideable (it was snowy for us though, so it’s hard to say for sure). Basically, expect a fair bit of hard work before some awesome downhills!Posted 4 years ago
Sorry Tom, I got my passes mixed up in my head, and had the Torrent and Meidpass the wrong way round! Torrent definitely looks like the option for day 3, but…Posted 4 years ago
Would you recommend the Pas de l’Illsee then round to the Augstbordpass or Meidpass followed by Augstbordpass. The pics, footage and reports online of both look very good but as one of the few who’ll have ridden both I think you’re in a good position to deliver a definitive verdict!
Hard to say… I preferred the Meidpass but I think my friend preferred the Pass de l’Illsee.
From memory, the l’Illsee climb involves less pushing, has a fantastic ‘plateau’ at the top (complete with second tough climb) before a fantastic singletrack descent to about 1,500m. I seem to remember it getting a bit bitty below that (we got lost!) but still being good fun. You’d have to fiddle around a bit to get up the valley to the Augustbordpass afterwards though.
The Meidpass climb involves a chairlift followed by a long push… make of that what you will! You’re not as high for as long and the descent is shorter, but more technical. I’m not sure the descent was *quite* as good but it does make a nice day out, is probably less taxing and drops you right at the bottom of the Augustbordpass.
I think that if you’re going over the ABP, I’d go via the Meidpass.
If you know the guy at RidetheAlps I’d probably get his opinion too though! You could probably go via Illsee, work around MooseAlp and then still get most of the good stuff above Schalb/Embd (I think this is what the guideed routes do).Posted 4 years ago
Cheers, I guess we’ll see how we’re feeling by the time we leave St Luc and base it on that for which pass. It doesn’t seem like there’s a ‘wrong’ choice, just 2 good ones. Bella Tolla noted too…
Nick: I’ve pretty much always gone up Buet from the Salenton & Berard cols (not with a bike!) so just assumed that Buet was in the Rouge park too without ever bothering to look at the map, but like you say, the trail avoids the park. A rudimentary search hasn’t given me any MTB banned results so it’s all good! (once the snow melts…)Posted 4 years ago
Mostly aimed at Nick this, but will be of use to anyone TdMBing clockwise or HRing.
Took part in a wee jog from Courmayeur to Chamonix on Friday (18hr 43 mins, 183 out of 1900 since you asked…) and discovered that the Bovine climb out of Champex has been re-routed and regraded. Much easier going on the up than before and pretty much (I think, I had other things to concentrate on at the time) all rideable on the way down. Not going to be one of the top 10 alpine descents of all time, and not as good as the descent to Martigny, but certainly not the downhill carry it used to be!
Apparently the work was done earlier this summer.
Hope this helps.Posted 4 years ago
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