Rescued on Col du Sanetsch …. and some snowBy Will • Oct 17th, 2012 • Category: Climbs, Cycling
Above: End of the road, a few kms past Col du Sanetsch. I crossed the col directly at back of photo.
In summer, there is a small cable car here that ambitious cyclists can use to descend with bike down to Gsteig and make a huge loop via Col du Pillon and Col de la Croix.
26 kilometres and 1750 metres of ascent. Sanetsch is one of the biggest, most beautiful climbs that you may not have heard of. Stats aren’t much different than Stelvio.
Most Octobers in the Alps there is a small window to do big climbs WITH snow around before they close for 7 months.
Basically one waits for the first snow fall low enough that it touches high roads, then hopes for a few days of sun. The authorities close the roads (this climbs was officially closed), but the small amount of snow melts ON the road but not the landscape. Always beautiful.
The strategy doesn’t work in spring as any road that has been closed for ages requires ploughing and cleaning of debris.
A few years back, this strategy led to a truly special snow ascent of Galibier.
Back to Sanetsch. Great hairpins:
I hate tunnels. And there is an 800 metre long tunnel as the road approaches 2000 metres. It’s dark, wet, narrow. But wow! They have added motion-detect lighting. I love Switzerland.
After reaching the Col, don’t stop. There is an additional 5 kilometres, slightly downhill to the beautiful dam/lake.
One needs to keep the eyes open for ice, and I saw a patch or two …. and plenty of wet stretches as snow melted across the road. Caution is important, but the road was in beautiful shape.
I lost the sun climbing back to Col du Sanetsch from the lake:
A couple of weeks ago, I got a fancy bike re-resizing session that led to a few adjustments that has eliminated my lower back pain on my new Trek. Wooohooo.
At the same time I had them change my rear tire due to wear. I asked for the toughest tire available and bought a relatively expensive Continental 4000.
On the descent, going reasonably fast – but fortunately I descend like a wimp – the rear tire exploded. Bang! And the tire was shredded in several places. I managed to hold my line, skidding on the rims for a long time. The wheel is toast, badly damaged.
The new tire:
Scary stuff. I was still fairly high but found a restaurant that called me a cab …. I have hitch-hiked before, but traffic was zero.
The taxi driver was a hilarious Italian guy that was very excited as his first time up this mountain.
He was a worse descender than me. I kept my helmet on in the car.