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June so far in the Forces-of-Nature Diaries
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Member Details Session Description
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Owner: squiz

Member#: 6644
Registered: 27-05-2007
Diary Entries: 1721

21st February 2019
Hiking - Walking: Col de la Faucille to Le Colomby de Gex
Wind Direction:
Wind Stength:
Surf / Sea State:
Air Temperature:
Sea Temperature:
Weather: sunny and mild
Max Speed:
Distance Covered: 6.41 miles (Nautical Miles - unless stated otherwise)

Thursday 21st February – Snow shoe ***** Col de la Faucille to Le Colomby de Gex (1689m) in France – sunny and mild.

5 hours 20 minutes out, 6.41 miles covered.

Early night last night as knackered and Mags butt hurt after her fall in the village and surprise surprise we woke to yet another clear blue day with light winds:) Relaxing read first thing with the diesel heater on to clear the ice off the windows then its hair wash day followed by porridge and time to move off in search of yet more adventures! We drove up the windy road to the Col de la Faucille the start of our last snow shoe walk and where we skied yesterday but this time drove into the large carpark and it was heaving with the only few spaces left right by the far exit, after a couple of circuits of the carpark we took the last space right at the end and as Mag had already packed the picnic we were soon ready for the off on a walk we had seen yesterday and which is again on our piste map. The path skirts the edge of the ski resort and then heads right into the wilds leading to one of the highest peaks in the Jura, Le Colomby de Gex at 1689m. Leaving the van at about 10.10 you walk past the derelict hotel, a sad sight as it would be a great place to stay if only it had some windows! The path starts right by the main Col road and passes a couple of glass fronted balconies offering amazing views down to Mijoux. Again, this part of the walk is busy with walkers, some in snow shoes but lots of casual walkers in boots and loads of families with small kids on sledges. It goes without saying that there was a large queue for the 6-man ski lift and we were pleased to be escaping the crowds today. We walked under the Mijoux lift we used several times yesterday bringing us up from our van. We put our snow shoes on even though this part of the walk was a wide forestry road but there is no point carrying them and we certainly looked the part now, we had even stripped off our fleeces in fact you could have done the hike in shorts and a t-shirt! After a mile or so the hike proper began as our path turned off to the left and rose steeply making snow shoes a definite requirement, especially with the heel block raised which makes walking uphill so easy:) We meandered through the pine woods leaving the bustling resort and crowds behind but were amazed how quickly we reached the Teleski des Gelinottes button lift and crossed the piste near the small bridge we skied under yesterday. We had a nice chat with a lady and her dog heading down! The well-marked and trodden path crosses the small section of off piste we did yesterday and as we leave the forest behind, we enter huge snow fields. Our peak lays ahead but it is a slow uphill plod up to the top. It takes you around the back of the mountain to avoid the steepest part and you finally reach a small Col between the two largest peaks where an old French couple are enjoying a picnic and ask us if we want a swig of their beer! An offer we politely decline as we admire the view down into the valley but again the Alps are disappearing behind a hazy sheet of pollution, sad really:( We decide to turn right and head to the highest point towards Lelex the quieter of the two peaks. The walk along the edge was stunning with snow overhangs like icing on a cake and with sheer drops so we didn’t get too close to the edge, well I did I can’t help myself! We were walking straight towards the huge ball of sun that seemed close enough to touch and with hardly a breath of wind it was the most amazing day. Reaching the highest point, the ridge just goes on and on and you could easily walk to Menthieres and beyond from here but we turned and found a dry grassy spot for our picnic. I arranged the snow shoes for some arty pics and then we had a yummy French stick with goats’ cheese and ham, we know how to live! It was yet another pinch yourself moment as you sat in the quiet with only the odd hiker passing enjoying the magnificent vistas and warm sunshine, just perfect:) There are no Alpine choughs here to share your lunch with just a couple of enormous noisy Ravens soaring and honking overhead:) Refreshed from our rest it was time to head off, down to the small Col and up the next peak in no time at all. Then it was time for a bit of off piste as we ignored the path we came up on and followed the edge. It started off OK as we skirted the odd pine tree and then I spotted something black laying in the middle of nowhere, Mag said if that’s a dead Raven I am not going near it! I was going to ignore it too but my route eventually took me near it so I checked it out and found it was a recently dropped black fleece as it was still dry so I tied it around my waist and headed off to find Mag. We then came to the hardest section - a really steep decent which had been used by several hikers so we started down, ending up on our bottoms a few times but it was good fun! It was another steep climb to what we think is the Petit Mont Rond overlooking Mont Rond with its huge telephone mast for our chocolate and banana. I checked out the fleece which was a nice mountain make, thinking that it would look nice in my wardrobe but then I checked the pockets, first I found some lip salve but then I found an electronic key for a Swiss Toyota!!! So, someone was going to have a tough time getting home today! There was no name, address or mobile number so our options were to walk around the large carpark looking for Toyotas and pressing the key fob or hand it into the Caisse Office where you buy your lift passes which just so happens to be right by the side of the path. Still we didn’t have to think about that for a bit as we still a couple of miles downhill to cover. This was a fun section to do, starting with walking the length of the off-piste we skied yesterday and then walked through the trees beside the blue Gelinottes piste. At the bottom of the drag lift we re-joined to path for an easy return to the village. At the ticket office I removed my snow shoes and took the keys/fleece to the window to ask if anyone had been looking for it. Though the attendant’s English was as good as my French (!) we gathered that someone had been asking if any keys had been handed in so I left it with them to sort out. I left a note to say that we had found it up the mountain and I hoped they got them safely together with our email address so they could let us know. That made us feel like we had done a good deed for the day as we headed back through the icy carpark to our van. Nearing our van Mag noticed a lady she had seen this morning setting off with her partner at the same time as us just standing looking lost??? Could she be the owner Mag wondered? So, I walked over to ask if she had lost her keys and amazingly, she said yes but her partner had been gone an hour back up the mountain looking for them!!! I quickly told her we had found the fleece and handed it in at the ticket office and told her where that was. She headed off much relieved, we only hope to partner soon returned from his two trips up the mountain!! At least they could now drive home to Geneva today:) I checked online this morning about driving in Switzerland, something we always avoid as you have to pay 40 Euros but I discovered you only have to pay on the motorways so that opens up all sorts of possibilities now and with it being French Half Term for another week it might be best to give:) We parked up for the night. It was nice to see young families sledging and the ski lift stayed open until 5. I went for a walk to check out the skiing as we are not sure exactly where we are and discovered that this links into Les Rousses which we know from before is quite expensive! We were treated to a smiling young lady on skies being pulled along by her husky, right past the van, and she was actually saying mush mush to it!! :) As the sunset the carpark emptied and we are here all by ourselves, are we scared hell no!!! Then the piste bashers started working and one came within 2m of the van, I gave him a cheery wave and got a hoot back, well that’s a first – another 5-star day in the mountains:)

Photo Gallery Here

Toys Used:
TSL snow shoe  Approach 226



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