Simon posted a comment describing how great this route was. Thanks! That was all the motivation I needed. Biggest climbing day of the year so far — taking full advantage of the current heat wave.
This was my first time doing the hard side of Col de la Forclaz – you can also approach it from Chamonix via Col des Montets.
Starting in Martigny, it starts by climbing up through the vineyards. Beautiful.
Climbing Forclaz there are two long straight stretches (see map) that look less steep than they are …. after a few hard days on the bike recently, I found it hard going. As the 1st elevation profile above shows … it’s a very steady 8% climb.
But as I often say: the higher one gets, the better the views:
After reaching Col de la Forclaz and descending to the base of Emosson I almost turned around. I was tired and an extra 900 metre steep climb seemed a silly idea. But on such a nice day and such a stunning climb I decided …. one kilometre at a time … and slowly I started feeling better.
This is a steep, crazy climb up the side of a mountain … with views of huge Alps to the south throughout.
The highlight is passing through Col de la Gueulaz and reaching the dam. It is one of the most beautiful places I know in (beautiful) Switzerland. But it looks a lot different this time of year as the snow hasn’t melted and filled the lake.
This is today:
This is an old pic from the summer:
In summer, you can cycle across the dam and then go higher on an astonishing road up to a smaller lake/dam: see here.
Finally, after descending, I had to cycle back up the easier side of Col de la Forclaz to return to Martigny.
Not too hard (see profile above), but really a lovely little climb.
A truly dream route. Thanks Simon for the tip/nudge.
One can hike much higher and find quite famous dinosaur track fossils: see here
Quiet / No Traffic