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July so far in the Forces-of-Nature Diaries
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Owner: squiz

Member#: 6644
Registered: 27-05-2007
Diary Entries: 1745

2nd March 2019
Hiking - Walking: Les Rasses to Le Chasseron (1607m) in Switzerland
Wind Direction:
Wind Stength:
Surf / Sea State:
Air Temperature:
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Weather: cloudy
Max Speed:
Distance Covered: 8.50 miles (Nautical Miles - unless stated otherwise)

Friday 1st March Ė Sit the bad weather out :( - rain and snow.

The 17 good days of weather finally came to an end with it clouding over late yesterday and then raining for what seemed most of the night being too mild to snow. So relaxing start to the morning in our little spot above les Fourgs cosy in the van with the rain gently hitting the roof. Then the rain turned to snow so it was time to get up, breakfast and move down the mountain as we didnít want to be trapped up here! Ready to leave at 11.36 with an inch of snow on the road, we were thankful for our winter tyres as we were beginning to slip, but luckily as we headed down to the main roads, they were clear of snow:) We passed the two lifts of les Fourgs and the poor kids were up on the slopes in their class as it is Friday, test day! We didnít really have a plan as the weather is unsettled now for the coming week and with Storm Freya approaching the UK, we are looking at strong winds and rain on Monday so donít want to be high up then. We soon crossed the border into Switzerland and reached another small ski resort of Ste. Croix which we decided to check out as the weekend weather looks reasonable with cloud/sun so it might be our last chance to ski/snow shoe for a few days. It is quite a large town and the main lifts are up the mountain at les Rasses. The usual Swiss signs of not permitting any parking overnight (usually between 11 and 8) were evident and this is turning out to be a problem here despite the fact they have loads of good parking. They are also preparing for a big cross-country ski event for the weekend but that should not affect us if we downhill ski or snow shoe. Ste. Croix also had no overnight signs. Mag spotted a carpark that allowed overnight but they were in the middle of erecting a huge marquee for the event! We had seen a campervan plugged into the mains in a little carpark 4 km. outside Ste. Croix at LíAuberson so returned there and there were three places for vans. We got the best one near the edge with views across the valley to the now snow-covered pines but could see very little else with the cloud low. We decided this was a safe place to sit out the bad weather and were soon on the blocks with the kettle boiling! It was then just a case of sitting it out in the van, reading, puzzles, eating, lots of eating, Mag rang our friend Mary in Felixstowe which was fun on the loudspeaker, a call lasting nearly an hour! She also checked if we were getting points on our driving licence as we learned late yesterday from our son Daniel that we just got a French speeding fine for doing 87km in an 80 limit and it would cost us 45 Euros. (that is 4 miles over the 48mph limit Ė nearly £10 a mile!). Not bad as itís the first time itís happened in the many thousands of miles we have done in France and we are not even sure who was driving? So, who knows what the next 11 days will hold with the weather now playing its part but I am sure there are lots more adventures to be had!

Saturday 2nd March Ė Snow shoe ***** Les Rasses to Le Chasseron (1607m) in Switzerland Ė cloudy.

5 hours 35 minutes out, 8.50 miles covered (that must be a snow show record)

A surprisingly good night in a tiny camper aire near the road at LíAuberson 4 km. outside Ste. Croix - it was very quiet and we slept like logs:) What we did today mainly depended on the weather, if it was really bad again then we would carry on down to Lac de Neuchatel but although cloudy when we got up it was quite high with even a glimpse of sunshine so after breakfast we drove back up to the small ski resort of Les Rasses and then had the choice to snow shoe or ski? The car park was full mainly due to the fact they are hosting a big cross-country ski competition this weekend, so we walked over to watch the exhausted competitors cross the finish line and marvel at their skating skills. We definitely think our cross-country skiing days are behind us, much too much falling over! We then walked over to check the down hill skiing prices, there are only 6 lifts here and two of them are shut even though it snowed yesterday. We were pleasantly surprised that because this is mainly a beginner spot, they were offering passes by the hour making this only the second resort we have come across this. We think itís a great idea and a shame that more resorts donít offer it! It was 15 Swiss Francs an hour or 25 for three which roughly translates to £20 which is still a little pricey but then again, we are in Switzerland. We asked in the ticket office about snow shoeing paths and the nice young lady directed us just up the road and another young lady, who could have even been the firstís sister, gave us a map showing us the best route to take for the best views with fingers crossed it wasnít poor visibility at the top. She directed us along the front of the lifts to the left and up to a ridge that lead to the top of Le Chasseron (1607m) with a hotel/Restaurant. This route, 4. then continued even further before returning but we could head down route 2 to make it manageable:) Back at the van Mag made a picnic while I sorted the equipment and we left at 11.20 walking down the road to find the first No 4 snow shoe marker, we even managed to go off course right at the start but soon found our way back to the well-trodden path as it headed up into the pine woods. We had to check the map a couple of times but continued to followed the cerise poles and we were OK. The higher we went up the prettier it became with the pine tree branches hanging heavy with a layer of snow and it was clear enough for fantastic views down into the valley, yet another pinch yourself moment. We couldnít believe you had all this beauty to ourselves:) At Le Cochet we came to a shut button lift and turned right up towards the ridge walking in a blanket of fresh snow and spotted a few skiers mainly young families heading to a restaurant or enjoying the quiet pistes even if the light was not great for skiing! We made it to the ridge near Les Avattes and followed this for a couple of Km to the top. It was a long uphill slog but you were walking close to the edge and getting stunning glimpses of the scenery around in the breaks in the clouds which keep washing over in waves. This would be a truly amazing walk on a clear blue day, perhaps we will have to return and try again someday. We were passed by 5 ski tourers including one guy with a beautiful Samoyed dog having a great time. They were a friendly lot and we even stopped for a chat with a couple down for the weekend from Geneva. As usual I walked close to the edge following the tracks of a daredevil rabbit who also liked to live life on the edge while Mag took a more cautious route a little further in but came to the edge now and again to take in the view:) Everything was covered in fantastic ice patterns, the signs, trees, maker poles and fence post even the grass - a real winter wonderland! As we neared the top the cloud really came in restricting our view and we surprised to see a snow boarder flying a kite coming towards us! Looking behind us there was a huge area of open snow fields to play in but he started close to the edge and in changeable visibility - it didnít seem the best sport to be doing there! Then the final climb past the modern concrete viewing platform with the Hotel du Chasseron standing just under the summit. At first it looked closed but on getting closer we could see customers in the conservatory. We continued past to reach the very top marked by a large metal pyramid up of legs. In the gloom Mag was quick to spot 3 or 4 animals grazing which must have been Chamoix a real surprise. We even managed to sit on a large rock to have our picnic and it wasnít too windy but it is a lot colder now, the 25-degree days are gone:( Then it was down to join the others at the restaurant for a delicious hot chocolate for the reasonable price of 8 Euros we were so impressed we left ten:) This is an odd place for the restaurant being a long way from the lifts and can only be accessed by foot but several came with a dozen in and more arriving as we left, a popular spot! The drink certainly hit the spot, now all we had to do was walk back, it had taken us nearly three hours to get there but if we took route 2 we should get back a lot quicker. We should have looked at the map better because route 2 turns left towards Les Cluds, miles from our van! We set off in very poor visability and were glad of the marker poles as we whizzed downhill. Then reaching the tree line the cloud cleared and we disappeared into the woods with me making fresh tracks in the snow which is when we missed the sign to Les Rasses and ended up in Les Cluds. We must have added a couple of miles to the trip! It was again lovely walking in the trees a small payment for walking in completely the wrong direction. At Les Cluds we re-joined the route 4 which took you in a large curve around the cross country piste and back to the van. To say we were knackered is an under statement and were amazed when I checked the gps, we had been out 5 hours 35 minutes covering a snow shoe record 8.50 miles!!!! We quickly got in the van and drove back to last nights overnight spot for a cuppa and cake but what a top adventure on another 5-star day. As for tomorrow if the weather has any hint of sunshine then I would be very tempted to go for 3 hours skiing as I think it would be fun to play in the new snow!

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TSL snow shoe  Approach 226



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