20 février 2015

Jura snow festival

Several days of dramatic snow falls have accumulated ideal amounts of snow over the whole Jura range this month of February.

Here are a few pictures of different outings, mostly to prepare new tours, discover different itineraries or just simply to enjoy a day out in the snow!

Part 1: Two weeks ago, I set out to carve my way in the fresh snow (masses of it!) in order to arrange an easy way up for a group the following weekend. This picture was taken on the way to the Cabane Cunay: still cold, frosty, and with just a little sun peep ... and nobody around.

Part 2: The weather lifted up a few days later and I was eager to check out a round trip along the Aiguille de Baulmes ridge, using public transportation. A familiar place from a different perspective!
As you know it's not only about hiking, there are other things to discover: a strange light on the way up through the train's windows, a worker in the morning blue overlooking the plains, a forgotten statue of a monk looking out from behing the window of a nearly dismantled mountain cabin....

... and then further up, here comes the reward!

The cliffs host many chamois (mountain goats); well you won't see any on the next picture, but I'm sure you'll enjoy the view over the Alps instead.

While walking up the long ridge towards the summit, the industrious village of Ste Croix appears through the trees and I feel like I'm flying.

View from the summit of Aiguilles de Baulmes (1559 m): the Suchet in the background. Compare with: http://redhelly.blogspot.ch/search?q=baulmes.

I then turn around and rush down the northern slopes, fresh snow, speedy descent, and then I decide to hurry up so that the train doesn't leave without us, see ya at the station folks!

Part 3: My friend and photographer Yves (www.lephotographedemariage.ch) is always a good partner for long hikes in the mountains. Since the weather was still so great, we arranged to explore the french Haut-Jura "reserve". Although I had already roamed these areas on other occasions, this time proved to be one of the best outings I'd done for a long time up here: the light and views were just amazing! I can't wait to bring my clients along (maybe you !?-)

Summit: the Colomby de Gex in France (1688 m).

On the way down, sun gone, air getting colder, night shadows slowly dilute the forest, a "hans&gretelesque" atmosphere.

Part 4: Finally, I topped it all off with -maybe- the most rewarding trip of the lot: a traverse from Val de Travers to Ste-Croix (www.sainte-croix.ch), using backcountry skis. I liked this one a lot because it allowed me to go from one valley to another, with a real sense of travelling. On the way, I went over the renowned Chasseron peak (1607 m), and then climbed the small but so charming -and somewhat demanding- Mont de la Maya.

04 février 2015


No it wasn't a blitz outing but a BLIZZ'RD outing!

5 hours in gale-force winds with snow-drifts, white-out conditions and A LOT of fresh snow, up to the knees and in some places the thighs.

14 valiant hikers came along to attempt reaching the Mont Racine (1439 m), starting from the Col de la Tourne in Neuchâtel Country. Once we had reached the Col in our cars, I was confident we could do the hike for the main part (getting somewhere by car is always the most challenging part of a winter trip !-).

However it was nice to be with a team that was always up to it, happy and fit and we DID reach the summit, well done folks!

Here are 3 pictures of the outing ... and see you next time.


On the summit (1449 m).

Enjoying it!

On the way down.