The plan was to climb the steep and beautiful road from Aigle to Lac de l’Hongrin, proceed to Col des Mosses and loop back via Leysin.
The ride starts climbing at Yvorne through beautiful vineyards (can you spot me in a balaclava?):
We managed to get to the high-point of the ride (1565 metres) — but approaching the Lake, the road was closed due to a Swiss army live ammunition exercise.
Still, the climb itself was fantastic — roughly 13 kms @ 9%. In parts, extremely steep even +20% and well above 10% for much of the way. Nearing the high point is a long, but well lit tunnel (video above). Yikes.
Winter is approaching and it’s getting cold and occasionally icy up high. And long descents require full winter clothing – double gloved, balalava, arm warmers and 5 layers did the job for me.
Whereas Eric froze and we decided that he needs to fatten up a little if he is going to survive a winter of cycling. 😉
It was cold, but fun though. Yes, too bad that the road was closed and we had to return, but with hindsight maybe a good thing for me…how cold would I have been if we had done the complete loop? Brrrr.
BTW, I’m eating chocolate, lots of it 😉
Good call on using the hybrids with a triple. I did it this climb on the road bike with a compact and there were sections of that climb that were plain nasty as a result.
Too bad about the military live fire as it is a pretty descent down to the lake.
Well done lads!
Hi Will! There is another fantastic climb in the region: Col de Chaude. It starts at Villeneuve and is pretty steep… to say the least. Moreover, you can enjoy great views on Lake Leman. While riding down again, you can take a side road towards the North-West, that is going to lead you to Sonchaux and then Caux. From there, it is possible to climb Col de Jaman and on the way down to Montreux, to pass Col de Sonloup. A fantastic tour!
PS: Next time you manage to ride up to Lac de l’Hongrin, there is also supposed to be a nice route leading to the not-so-well known Coll de la Pierre à Moellé. I did want to do this one day, last year, after Col de la Croix, Col du Pillon and Col des Mosses. But I was so tired that I did renounce. Therefore still a project…
Thanks very much for the tips.
They have been added to the list 😉
Will, glad to see you and Eric finally made it up their. I suspected it was very steep in parts when I came down it last year http://www.gps-sport.net/trainings/Day-9-Gruyere-to-Aigle-via-Lake-Hongrin_23786 . A real shame you couldn’t go on; riding a bike while dodging tank shells would have warmed Eric up 😉
Thanks very much Will! I did this ride on Monday, it was fantastic, although on a racing bike w/compact it was quite a grind at times.
It was a shame that the road was closed for you. The lake view is great, and you also can enjoy some slightly surreal Swiss army artifacts: there are signs advising you not to pick up unexploded bombs, later you pass what looks like a nuclear bunker, and there was a huge tank parked in the middle of nowhere, presumably to protect those bank deposits from the invading hordes.
All in all a great ride!
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