Col de la Joux Verte Col de Bassachaux


Above: Col de Bassachaux without and with snow.

Col de la Joux Verte

The plan was to cycle up Col de la Joux Verte.

I knew the road was still closed, but it’s been so warm we thought with mountain bikes that we’d be OK.

It’s a great climb from Morzine past Lac Montriond up to Les Lindarets (goat town in the summer). But at 1500 metres the road was unrideable.

I’d mentioned to Eric that Col de Bassachaux was above us and in the summer there was a trail linking it with Joux Verte. With no route to ride we decided to search for the Col.

Col de Bassachaux Lake Montriond below

This meant pushing the bikes up steep, snow covered slopes.

We didn’t have a detailed map and didn’t really know where we were going. At over 1800 metres we finally saw a little hiking sign and turned left still a little uncertain.

Our feet were soaked and freezing, the views were great, the snow deep and we slogged on.

Ahead we saw the top of a sign peaking out of the snow: woohooo a Col sign. Around the corner was a little restaurant and there was someone inside. Civilisation. A friendly guy came out and started calling us crazy. I asked if the road on the other side was cleared and he laughed: “for bikes? No!” he had snowshoed up.

Col de Bassachaux Col de Bassachaux

Col de Corbier

There was no turning back, so we followed the path, eventually finding a cleared road above Chatel ski station. The only problem now was we were in the wrong valley. So to get back required climbing Col de Corbier.

Frankly, I was out of gas, Eric (doubling back) informed me that there was beer at the top – and bought me a glass of much needed fuel.

After descending Corbier the road back to Morzine was closed and I had a hilly detour that delayed me enough to spend the last 15 minutes of the ride in a serious hailstorm. OUCH!

Although this 6+ hour adventure exhausted me, Eric (a distant cousin of Superman) had ridden 60 kms to meet me and had another 60 home – while I drove!


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Happiest while cycling uphill.


  1. Will,
    Guess what. Similar story on my side, except for the hail. After we shook hands in le Biot you continued left and I went right. As I got down there was a deviation sign saying Thonon over the Col de … CORBIER! I guessed I would be able to pass as a cyclist, but when I got there 1.5km later, there was already a guy on a race bike discussing with the road construction guys. NO passing! So I checked the map and concluded hat I was back to my initial plan : Col du Corbier from le Biot, then Col du Grand Taillet (beautifull, but I did it from the easy side), then up to Lullin for the col de Terramont and finally Col de Cou. End result is just over 210km and semi wet as the skies had been coming down over the Geneva region. I was running out of water for a while and started to kill me of. But after the next fountain and later on another Coca Cola stop, legs got back on track. This was definitely a fantastic ride. Crazy guys with bikes on snow covered cols R us.

  2. Eric – wow …. you did a serious ride today – especially considering the mountains.

    At least you have now done both sides of Corbier 🙂

    Next time, we’ll explore above Col du Grand Taillet to Col de Trechaufée.

    The hail was a first for me and it hurt!

  3. You know what they say. HTFU

    No I agree, hail can be very painful to the point that hiding is the only possibility. And agreed that we’ll have to go and discover the Col de Trechaufée. Question is what do we do if it is FERMÉ? There is no higher alternative.

    Enjoy 2 days of relaxation now.

  4. They are some great photos Will. I was skiing in Morzine in early March and we didn’t have enough snow. And now in spring when you want to take the bike out there is too much!

  5. Crazy people. Its almost summer here and you’re still slogging around in snow. As for Eric’s amazing feat’s of cycling, well done. And hail!!!!!! Crazy people. I think its the European air, less oxygen up there?!?!

  6. Thanks Hilton Meyer, but it sure is easier to ride the distance when sharing the hardest part of the ride with a great cycling buddy as Will. He’s always in the game for something new and never-done-before also sounds like music in his ears.

  7. You guys — honestly I don’t know whether to be completely impressed or worried about you two slogging around in the mountains like this!! The amount of distance and height covered is already huge (to me, at least!) and then I learn that Eric cycled to & from the ride…just crazy.

    Eric, I may need to re-think my answer to your question of whether I’m interested in a longer ride…to me longer = 60km (huge, tiring, etc) while to you 60km is your warm-up for the ‘real’ ride. Yikes!!!


  8. Interesting ‘Day off’ Will? Wait till I tell your coach 😉
    And stay away from Eric- he’s unatural breaking all the rules of cycling physics, i.e. Donuts = Ascent x Speed*2

  9. Will– Nice “Altitude” pictures. Great story along with a great ride… especially the hail part.
    You know… I just realized something looking at the pictures… no helmets. I know it’s nice without one for the climbing but what about the descent? Now- I wonder… have you been without a helmet in most of your pictures? I have to go look now.

  10. Will – OUCH re: the hailstorm. I’m relieved to read you got through this without mishap.

    As for the adventure, you guys sure tackled it the difficult way but seemed to have enjoyed nearly every minute of it. 🙂

  11. Hey Donald,

    Yes, I virtually always wear a helmet, although I often drape it on the handlebars during long slow climbs on deserted roads (my specialty). 🙂

    I have crashed twice in the past few years and banged my head fairly hard. No issue as both times I was wearing a helmet.

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