Les Arcs, where else ?!
  • this way to singletrack heaven
  • words and tales from out on the trails

    30 November 2007

    Lötschberg Südrampe (10th November)

    This Südrampe ride had been planned for a while. I had managed to get a small group together, with the promise of "it is always warm and never rains on the Südrampe". The Meteoschweiz forecast for Saturday had been looking good all week... until I checked it on Friday and of course it now said "snow" for the whole of Switzerland, except for Basel, where it would rain. I decided that, whatever everyone else did, I would still go because I'd rather be riding through snow than sat indoors in a rainy Basel.

    It ended up being just Peter (who had driven to Goppenstein from Geneva) and myself. When we boarded the Regio train at Goppenstein there was about 4cm of snow on the ground. Arriving at the trailhead a few minutes later, we were greeted with a red sign saying "Höhenweg Gesperrt - Wintersperre", meaning, "Trail Closed - Winter Closure".

    hmm

    We decided to go ahead with the ride; you don't do a 5 hour roundtrip on the train for nothing. It all started off OK.

    Peter enjoying the start of the trail

    about to find out why there was a detour

    After 10 minutes, at a junction, we saw a sign saying that we would have to take a detour. We carried on until the trail was totally blocked about 1km later (at the steep ravine section); at this point I realised that we had been supposed to take the detour as of where the sign had been. This cost us some time but provided a rare opportunity to ride the said 1km of trail backwards. The detour itself was highly entertaining: some switchbacky singletrack down a grassy mountainside, followed by a flat trail along a "suon" (irrigation channel), followed by combination of extemely narrow passages and metal staircases up through and across a gorge, back to the main trail.

    suon singletrack

    pipes and planks

    singletrack in the sky

    There were no more detours to be made, and although it snowed throughout (dry snow onto a dusty trail, no mud in sight!), a great ride was had.

    back out on the trail

    Peter on one of the more exposed parts of the trail

    Peter on one of the more grin-inducing parts of the trail

    We arrived at Brig just before the train back up to Goppenstein, which meant no waiting around.

    this way home

    4 inches of fresh

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