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View Full Version : ALPS IN THE SPRING??



retroman
28-11-03, 22:23
I want to get-in some of the 'must-do' mountain passes between the end of the thaw and the beginning of the tourist season ... anyone interested in a Monday to Friday jaunt in March / April?? If not, where should I look for route and accomodation info (not got gps yet ...)

Cheers
:beerjug:

wessie
28-11-03, 22:53
not many will be open then - the Petit St Bernard had only just opened when I went this year in late June

there is a list of passes here http://www.alpineroads.com/ it has some info on weather etc and links to accommodation

Logis hotel group (http://www.logis-de-france.fr/uk/index.htm) have some nice hotels - there's usually one in most towns. All are independently owned and have some character rather than being part of a corporate identikit.

I've used this firm too - handy for booking an overnight stop on a long journey when you know you may arrive in a town fairly late. They charge a small fee on top of the normal rate. http://www.hotelsabroad.co.uk/

Even in July/Aug I've never had a problem finding accommodation in the Alps or Eiffel mountians. Local tourist offices operate very much like our own and will make a reservation for you - in Germany the hotel owner knocks the tourist office admin fee off your bill which is nice.

I'd recommend going later in the year - as long as you avoid the Tour de France period you will find the mountains quiet all through summer - I was in Val d'Isere a few years ago in 1st week of August and it looked like a ghost town. Most of the hotels were boarded up for the off season.

Dave Hall
28-11-03, 22:55
Have to admit the most popular or scenic passes will be dodgy that time of year. May would be better

AndyT
29-11-03, 12:20
I have to agree with the other guys that May is the earliest I would advise but June would be even better.

This is towards the back end of May near Davos in Switzerland. The Dolomites were mainly clear though at this time with a few exceptions. Also alot of the accomodation in the Ski resorts was closed in May before they reopen in June.

Have Fun
AndyT

retroman
29-11-03, 14:55
I think June may be a better option ... :rolleyes:

Thanks for the advice friends. Saved me frostbite, snowblindness and a slow lingering death by the looks of it ....

Madmountainman
29-11-03, 19:20
Also April is already jam packed with GS events so not many takers, best go fo late May!:beerjug:

Geriatric Germ
30-11-03, 17:58
http://cgi.ebay.de/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2445485053&category=9926#ebayphotohosting

sounds cheap to me:cool:

Iain Hogg
30-11-03, 19:39
It's also worth noting that, in Italy especially, the opening data is not always dependant on the weather.

I've been to the top of the Stelvio on the last day in May (by car :( ) and because it was advertised as open from 1st June, there was a 2m snowdrift left accross the road at the top keeping it closed!

Not a drop of snow anywhere else on the route.

The German bikers arriving at the otherside hoping to get through were well pi$$ed off to say the least!

I'd wait until June.

Iain

Global Rider
01-12-03, 01:21
Originally posted by AndyT
I have to agree with the other guys that May is the earliest I would advise but June would be even better.

Not that any passes were closed in June, but this pic was taken June 25th on Col de l'Iseran...

http://www.ott.igs.net/~ace/0125.jpg

I did the Alps mid May once. June is far better with just as little traffic.

cactipus
01-12-03, 21:15
I just bought my bike down from my alpine retreat, and not a second too early. Seems we got about 50 cm during the week and thats at 1700m. It'll be mid-april before I get it back up there again and most of the decent passes, dirt and tar won't be cleared until May. By the way I don't recommend riding a GS, even with nobbies in snow deeper than 30 cm. It sort of gets bogged and is a little out of control. Obviously switched the ABS off otherwise it would have the quickest descent to town in history. In summer try the Savoy region in France. There's lots of dirt passes to try out.

franco
01-12-03, 21:30
I'd agree with the June recommendations. We're in the southern Alps, and even here May can definitely be a bit iffy. I've been up to some of the higher Cols as early as the end of April, but it was case of being prepared to turn around and come back up again. They don't usually bother even trying to clear them until Mid May. The school holidays are July/August, so June is a good time to enjoy the Alps at their best when it's gorgeous weather, and tourist free. Let me know when and where you're going. If I'm around, and the wife will let me out, I'll come and meet up with you..

Enjoy .../Rob
:beer:

The Phantom Pieman
03-12-03, 08:11
Originally posted by franco
I'd agree with the June recommendations. We're in the southern Alps, and even here May can definitely be a bit iffy. I've been up to some of the higher Cols as early as the end of April, but it was case of being prepared to turn around and come back up again. They don't usually bother even trying to clear them until Mid May. The school holidays are July/August, so June is a good time to enjoy the Alps at their best when it's gorgeous weather, and tourist free. Let me know when and where you're going. If I'm around, and the wife will let me out, I'll come and meet up with you..

Enjoy .../Rob
:beer:

Hi, just keping in the spirit of local knowledge. I am here in Zurich, and I can vouch that some of the passes may not even open till mid June. Sort of depends a bit on snow fall in the winter. But aim for that time and it will be good. The other thing to say is that swizzy gets very hazy in the summer months, and if you want really stunning views etc Sept/ Oct may be better as the air seems to clear then.

If you are planning a trip and want to meet up let me know .....

The alpine roads link you have been given is one of the best - but defn do the St Bernard to Coumayer, round Mont Blanc, Petite St Bernard back into France etc ..... stunning!!

retroman
04-12-03, 17:38
I'm going to put a 5 day mon-fri trip together after Christmas, for a JUNE mini tour.

Thanks for the offers to meet up, Euro GSers ... will be in touch!

Dave



:beerjug:

wessie
04-12-03, 20:21
if you leave it to the 14th or later then I may be able to join you

I've spent quite a bit of time in the French Alps, Slovenian Alps and the bit that straddles the Bavarian/Austrian/Italian borders so you'd be able to take advantage of the renowned WPS*

*Wessie positioning system, so much more reliable and user friendly than those electronic gizmos

retroman
04-12-03, 21:09
Originally posted by wessie
if you leave it to the 14th or later then I may be able to join you



:beerjug:

franco
04-12-03, 22:08
The weekend of the 19th/20th is the Picos tour which Spanish Bob is putting together...I'll likely be off on that..

Davey B
06-12-03, 20:31
Dave, this may have to be my mountain climbing trip in the UK...If you know what i mean. The wife'll never know the differance between an alps piccy and one in the highlands, the only problem comes if i drop the bike and end up....oh don't even think about it. I wait withb baited breath for the dates to tie in.
Dave

retroman
07-12-03, 21:49
OK Dave that's cool ... its all a bit speculative at the mo because I don't know what I'll be doing next summer in any case. Once dates are firmed up I'll post 'em here.

If you crash, no worries. We'll get your colleagues to CASEVAC you home and I'll bring the remains of your bike back on my rack and deposit them somehere in Fife. She'll never know.

:thumb :thumb

franco
09-12-03, 21:32
Originally posted by dave.boulder
Dave, this may have to be my mountain climbing trip in the UK...If you know what i mean. The wife'll never know the differance between an alps piccy and one in the highlands

You'll have to make sure you can use photoshop to spray on some rain, mist and midges...otherwise the wife might get a wee bit suspicious...:(

wessie
09-12-03, 22:00
Originally posted by franco
You'll have to make sure you can use photoshop to spray on some rain, mist and midges...otherwise the wife might get a wee bit suspicious...:(


[Deputy Dawg drawl]

and mask out those pesky marmots

[/Deputy Dawg Drawl]

Davey B
10-12-03, 14:15
Piece of cake, we've just got adobe 7 at work. Virtual holiday snaps made easy.

RadioActive
10-12-03, 14:39
This is the road up to one of the French passes in April. Fine on skis but not on my bike! It might look nice but it was bloomin' icy in places and blowing too. Most of the smaller passes (Col du Galibier etc) don't seem to get cleared until the end of April. Have a great time when you do go later in the year.

Chris

http://www.qsl.net/g4sdg/Images/skinning_alpspass.jpg