Day One - Simplon Pass | Day Two - Planetenweg - Zinal | Day Three - Illsee-Parilet | Day Four & Five - Becs de Besson/Val d'Herens | Day Six & Seven - Crans MontanaTöggelichaschte -
On our third day in the Valais in Switzerland we are again riding with Martin Buetler of Alpine-Trails
and are well rested having had a half day from our scenic tour of the Val d'Anniviers from the day before. Beautiful cool fall weather greets us as we start another ride by doing a bit of road riding through the heart of the ski area of St-Luc/Chandolin
. This is the biggest ski area in the Val d'Anniviers region and has approximately 60km of piste runs. Summer activities such as hiking, road-riding and increasingly mountain-biking are also popular in this valley and the local businesses seem to be exceedingly receptive and welcoming of two-wheels.
We then take another St. Luc/Chandolin chairlift assist (the Rotse
) approximately 610m up to the alpine at 2550m. This then starts us with a pleasant gradual climb about 200m up to Illsee pass on nice climbing singletrack. This is followed by the typically Swiss Prince of Persia rocky tech mandatory hop-turn downhill (play the game, you'll see where it got its name to a lake formed by a hydro dam.) The only thing missing is an early morning coffee break and a Swiss alprestaurant at the hydro dam. Fortunately to complete the stereotype there are the usual stunning views; this time looking North towards the Crans Montana area, Jeizinen (which we visited in 2012
), and the Leuk area. Very distracting and very beautiful.
Waking the bikes up at the Hotel Bella Tolla on a gorgeous day610m lift to the AlpineRiding to Illsee PassRiding down the Prince of Persia downhill to Illsee. A technical, rocky descentRiding down a section to Illsee. The saddle on the other side of the hydro lake is where we hike-a-bike back up to Parilet passPoser Norco shot with the Crans Montana area in the backdrop
This section of trail is a much more popular hike
than a bike so do not be too surprised to see surprised wanderweggers. There is one tough hike a bike of about 300m from Illsee to Parilet Pass at about 2555m but then you put your bike on the shoulder and just go and soon it's all over. You get an interesting view of the Swiss dam and the size of the facilities. It surprised me to find that Swiss Hydro generates 56%
of the countries power needs! What will happen when all their glaciers melt out? Who knows - but being Swiss no doubt they will be prepared.
Following the descent there is sublime singletrack winding its way through excellent trail-bed and trails all the way to valley floor and ending ultimately at the town of Sierre at 533m. Yes, you are correct - that is a little over 2000m of descending including sections of perfect singletrack with switchback after switchback after switchback. After an eternity of descent we are trundling through paved roads to Sierre and to the bus station When it's all over there's the Postbus assist uphill and up the road back to St Luc and the Hotel Bella Tolla's comfort.
Shafudin getting used to the Swiss way of Mountain Bike-a-neeringMartin riding down to treelineSome technicality on the downhills is always expectedShafudin grateful that his rebar-reinforced chainstay is still intactThrough the field before the fast part of the descent.Forest section of trail
Where to stay
We continued our stay at the Hotel Bella Tolla and had more time to chill and soak in some pampered luxury.Enjoying the dying days of summerGetting ready for our dinner. Even Lee put a clean shirt on
We wish to thank Tourism Switzerland, Valais Tourism, Brig Simplon Tourism, Sierre Anniviers, and Crans Montana for their support.
Mountain Biking Switzerland - Graubunden and Zermatt (5 parts on pinkbike)
Mountain Biking Switzerland - Grindlewald/Jungfrau and the Eastern Valais (4 parts on Pinkbike)
SBB - Swiss Transit System
Alpine-Trails - recommended guides
Swiss topo maps
General tips and tricks
Edelweiss Air - (direct from Vancouver and many other west coast cities to Zurich)Part OnePart TwoKeep a look out for part four, coming next Sunday.
MENTIONS: @leelau @Alpine-Trails-Switzerland