Happy Feet and the Plateau des GlièresBy Will • Dec 8th, 2008 • Category: Climbs, Cycling, Favorites, Snow
I am sick of having soaking, frozen, painful, cold feet. So I got me some new boots! They claim to keep feet warm at -40C! Now I can bike anywhere this winter.
The Ride: 54 kms (105kms for Eric!). 1500 metres ascent (5000 feet). 3 Cols (Fleuries, Collet, Glières).
The climb to Col des Gliéres is one of a very few big climbs that I think is actually better (more fun!) in the winter.
We warmed up with a shortish climb up Col des Fleuries using a crazy steep quiet path (versus the easy main road). Then on to the main climb – the west side of Col des Glières.
This superb road winds up the side of a mountain and is perfectly ploughed as it is access to cross-country skiing. As the map below shows, lots of hairpins and pretty steep for about 7 kilometres until the Col du Collet. With snow and sun, it’s such a beautiful climb.
Up top is a huge plateau famous as a large base for the French Resistance (Les Maquis) in WW2 and site of a major battle with the nazis (more here). In the 2nd photo you can see the giant Monument over my shiny new boots.
In winter the Plateau is a beautiful hiking / cross-country skiing center. From the Col sign, the road is no longer ploughed (or paved in summer). So a couple of kilometres over the snow. Fun!
The descent down the other side is very steep (6 kms averaging 11%, of which three at 12%), and gets little sunshine – so it was snowy and icy and treacherous. I descended at roughly the same speed that I climbed the other side.
With my new boots and eric’s hands and feet wrapped in shopping bags (!) – we stayed relatively warm!
HELP! This isn’t even the steep part.