Happy Feet and the Plateau des Glières


Plateau des Gliéres

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. 😉

Col des Glières

Scary descent Plateau des Glières Eric Descending glieres_0028.JPG New Boots

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.

Plateau des Glières

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.


One of the steep parts:


tour cycliste 105412 – powered by Bikemap 

About Author

Happiest while cycling uphill.


  1. Congratulations to the 2 crazy cyclists – looks like another great day in the sunshine!!

    Will & I owe a BIG thanks to Katy for introducing us to the wonderful world of Sorel and their big warm + waterproof boots. We saw her wearing them on our Flaine hike, and immediately went out and bought the identical ones. Thanks, Katy, for letting us copy you. Our feet thank you.


  2. Doreen – we do have crazy cyclists as husbands. As long as they arrive home safe and sound after each exploit, I’m happy to listen to hours of recap. 😉

    Have I started a new fashion trend right here on Cycling Challenge (the style name is Caribou)?… Cool! 😀

  3. Of course the boots are great – Sorel is originally a Canadian company founded in Kitchener!

    Looks like it was a fun day in the sun and snow.

  4. Hi Will, you are a genius. Thanks to THE maps I can now check the roads we did and all the other possibilities you were talking about. Like the little road over Termine going parallel to the main road through the Gorges des Evaux. I never knew it even existed. Next time we pass there this will be a big yes. Another one you mentioned is the link between the Gorges des Evaux and Mont-Saxonnex over Prêlaz. So the only question is WHEN?

  5. Wow, once again great photography (well, I guess with the subjects it’s easy to take great photos 😉 ). I feel like Sprocketboy – like a real skirt. Almost crying on Mt Hotham, which must be like a walk in the park for you. 😉

  6. SERIOUS BOOTS for SERIOUS WEATHER… Now this means you’re not limited. We thought the pictures you captured before were great… now you can forge through even more crazy conditions to get that perfect shot… with your news boots!

  7. Will,
    voilà une sortie qui fait rêver, ce Plateau des Glières est décidément un coin à faire, et à refaire !
    On prend de superbes photos avec un temps pareil, et j’ai l’impression que tu t’appliques plus en ce moment 🙂 la panoramique est magnifique !
    J’avais fait ce type de sortie l’année dernière, à Pierre sur Haute, une des plus belle sortie que j’ai faite avec un temps et des paysages incroyables; malheureusement j’ai perdu les photos que j’avais fait… J’espère refaire une sortie de ce type au moins une fois cette année.

    Ps: les bottes, honnêtement, c’est quand même pas la classe ! Mais c’est drôle, et je n’y aurais pas pensé 😆

  8. Salut Bast

    Oui, les deux cotés de Glières sont vraiment superbes en hiver (et en été).

    Si tu as perdu des photos la seule solution serait à refaire Pierre la Haute …. fun!

    Les bottes? je te comprends …. mais il peut faire très très froid …. and I am too old and bald to worry about style 😉


  9. Bien sûr… Et si j’avais eu des bottes comme ça, j’aurais pu monter au sommet du Mt Ours au lieu de rester coincer plus bas !

  10. Barry, do you order ice in your coke (or whatever you drink) in Brisbane? Yes? So hurry over, coz we have plenty of it for you 🙂 We miss you.

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