I love having a mountain in my backyard!
The back way up Le Saleve – the mountain overlooking Geneva to the south – is a fantastic winter climb.
Starting from home, usually I cycle around Mont Sion, but today decided to go over it on steep, quiet farm roads past the Croix de Vin. On to Charly, past Col de Mont Sion and up to St Blaise.
In winter, from St Blaise, the road climbs another 10 kms on cleared roads. It’s a beautiful ride primarily through the woods. The route is ploughed just until the little Grotte du Diable auberge at about 1300 metres of altitude.
Continuing past Col des Pitons, for the next 4 or 5 kms the road is shut and snow covered. While hard going at times on the bike, it’s generally flattish as it’s along the top of Le Salève. A truly fantastic stretch with views of the Alps on one side and views of Geneva below and the Jura mountains on the other. On sunny winter days, it’s paradise.
Reaching Croisette the road is ploughed again as there is a single tiny ski slope, cross-country skiing, and most popularly tobogan slopes – at the scene of my early-season broken nose. 🙂
To finish, I descended the super steep route down to Le Coin and back home again. Yikes, my brakes need changing.
I think below was the photo of the day. View of the Juras just peeking above the Geneva clouds as I started the descent:
I expect I’ll due this winter loop several times over the next few months.
What are “tobogan slopes”?
was it my poor spelling or the fact that you live where snow is rare? 🙂
Yes… you have the right to brag! Beautiful pics… great climb. Did your nose quiver when you started that sketchy decent? Good brakes or not… I guess if you hit a slick spot there’s not much you can do.
You know what the problem with your blog is Will? The pictures are so amazingly beautiful that my brain goes mush. I have to read each article three times before my slack-jawed expression is diminished 🙂
Eternally jealous of your location…
Hey Will. I live here in Geneva, and just stumbled on to your website for the first time after finishing the Gruyere Cycling Tour this year. I believe I was googling info on the Col Mittelberg, and your site came up. Anyway, I can’t begin to tell you how great I think the site is. I’m relatively new to cycling in Switzerland, and it is a wealth of priceless info. I’ve been reading it almost daily now, trying to catch up on all the info.
Anyway, I wanted to ask you about the Saleve. I see you reference a couple of rides up the Saleve, and I know there are different routes to take, but as a relative novice, I was hoping you could refer me to the least punishing way up. I’ve been reading all your reviews, and I can’t seem to make out which is the easier path.
Unfortunately, the easiest ways up Le Salève are from the back side away from Genève. Either from Cruseilles or La Muraz.
The absolute hardest way is from Le Coin / Collonges-sous-Salève. From Etrembière is also very, very hard.
The St Blaise route is a decent compromise, as it’s longer, so it spreads the climbing out – but still a couple of very tough stretches.
Hope that helps,