Ascent of Dome de Vaugelaz

My summer house

Another beautiful sunny day. Set off without a plan in the Bourg direction and decided to explore above the village of les Chapelles.

The Ride.  Arrived at the start of the narrow winding road that I noted a couple of days ago and I’m immediately faced with a ridiculously steep hill.  I knew from previous experience that fluffing-up the navigation at this point could ruin the day, so I kept a very close eye on my GPS to check that I was on a road that lead somewhere.  The road changed to gravel jeep track just outside the village, but was rideable even with 25mm Gatorskins.   I climbed steadily up a series of switch-backs and although I was always in the easiest or second easiest gear, the gradient was consistent and I got into a good rhythm. All was well with the world.

The track hit high alpine meadows, dotted with summer huts and pasture and I was particularly taken with one deserted hut with a phenomenal view of the valley.  I found myself imagining how it would feel to stay up there for a couple of nights.  Me, the bike, a bed, a comfortable seat with a mountain view, a wood burning stove, a water trough and enough food to last for a couple of days.  What more could a girl want?

My bike and the winding road. Close to the top of Dome de Vaugelaz

As I continued ever upwards, the mountain was mine.  I marked it at the top by having a quick pee! At 2000m I was pretty close to the summit of the ‘dome’ and it started to become clear that my mountain was actually the spur of a long ridge which rose up above the snow-line.  At the top of the track there was a rocky section probably unsuitable for a car, and then back to hard-pack jeep track.  The first couple of km’s of descent were on really annoying large (3-4 cm) loose pack gravel which had been recently laid down and was not yet hard-packed.  Tricky for the bike, although I didn’t dismount.  Would not be possible to ride without a bit of Mountain Biking experience (unless you are a natural!).  The cobbly track eventually changed to tarmac and I stopped to rest my hands.

The small tarmac road wound down the hill, eventually reaching Valezan on the D86.  I was feeling in need of a bit more than a Tesco’s flap jack square and was just thinking of turning for home when I noticed a little restaurant/bar.  After an excellent plate of charcuterie and cheese I completed the end of the Versant du Soleil route, through Granier, Aime and home along the river bike path.

The Verdict.  I loved this day out, but would probably try to keep high for a bit longer next time I’m out that way.  It’s still a worthy ride though.

 

click here to go to ridewithgps.com

Notes:

  1. Could take a left hand turn at the top of the switch-backs and come within a short distance of the trig-point at the top of the dome. 
  2. Why not leave the bike and complete the last bit on foot? (pair of trekking sandals in back pockets?).
  3. Also worth exploring the jeep-track which goes through the village of La Lance and keeping high via Pre Pinet and Pointe des Lanches (on the road to Cormet d’Areches)

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