Col Hunting in the Vallée Verte


Alps View

Elevation Profile

A fairly huge mountain bike ride, Col hunting in the beautiful Vallée Verte – south of Lake Geneva.

Luckily, I ignored the rain in the (mis)forecast and enjoyed ever improving weather while climbing on scenic, quiet roads.

Using my GPS and map software, the plan was to link up several Cols in the area using the quietest roads I could find – see map at bottom.

I started at the church in Viuz-en-Sallaz climbing a tiny road up to Col du Ludran. After a descent to Boége, it was was a short easy climb up Col du Perret. Frankly, I’d been itching to add this to my list after Eric had mentioned climbing it a couple of times. 🙂

Col de Ludran

As the sign says, hunting today – and I saw quite a few guys roaming the edge of forests all ride carrying rifles – definitely made me pedal faster.

After Perret, a left turn on a small road to continue up to Chalet d’Ajon – the high point of the day at 1428 metres (4685 feet).

For details of the primary steep route up to Ajon as well hiking higher to take some pretty cool photos from the top of Pointe de Miribel see here.

Alps view from Col de l'Avernaz Col du Perret Chalet d'Ajon Col de Tas de Bois Also called Col de l'Avernaz

From Ajon I descended a gravel road and snuck up a mountain bike route to Col du Creux (there are lots of signed mountain bike routes around here that need further exploring).

As I continued to descend the sun arrived. And when I arrived in Onnion to start the final climb to Col de l’Avernaz – snow covered Alps were in view everywhere. This was another nice shortish climb – I was tired by now! But upon reaching the top it was only a terrifyingly cold descent back to the start.

A tree and the Alps

Early in the year I did a different 5 Col loop through the Vallée Verte. Details here.

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Happiest while cycling uphill.


  1. I wasn’t aware that hunting is allowed just like that in Europe? I could imagine how this would make you pedal faster. Wouldn’t want to get mixed up with a poor little deer.

    Amazing photos. I’m glad you are enjoying beautiful autumn weather.

  2. Will,
    Talking about the Valée Verte, have you already done the “10 passes of the Valée Verte” Tour? This is clearly an endurance test, since there is no difficult climb to overcome, but an impressive series of smaller climbs to overcome. The whole tour (which posesses mythical status amongst cyclists around Geneva) starts downtown and (after a ride to Bons en Chablais) crosses the following cols, one after the other: Saxel, Ludran, Perret, Avernaz, Jambaz, Terramont, Feu, Arces, Moises and Cou. The whole tour is about 145 km long and represents more than 2600 meters vertical ascent, if I remember correctly. I did it only once, in August 2006. It took me 6 hours and 15 minutes to complete it. Could be something to consider for next year, couldn’t it?

  3. Hi Nicholas,

    All 10 in one ride? That is a very interesting challenge/ride!

    I would think it would be more than 2600 metres of ascent. The above ride plus the ride I mentioned just above the map are all 10 Cols – but in 2 rides – lazy me 🙂

  4. It’s hunting season (deer) here now as well as and there are trucks parked just on the side of the woods all along my routes. The other day a gunshot was fired that didn’t sound too far away. Let’s just say my average speed improved! Your pictures are fantastic. I wish I had some slopes to hit on the mountain bike, it’s getting colder here and with some serious winds on the road. It’s not so appealing to take out the road bike on days like that.

  5. Will, hopefully we will find a day to do them – all the 10 in one ride – early in the season (to me, this means maybe May or June). Before that, it is probably too cold to do such a long tour…

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