Dwight Peck's personal Web site

Snowy Jura scenes

Ringing in the European Cold Wave of 2012



You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

Mont de Bière

The Col du Marchairuz, just before the Cold Wave hit, we're setting out in the rain, 21 January 2012.

An unconventional route today towards Mont de Bière

An increasingly unconventional route

Tons of fine new snow, a little rainy mush on top of a good solid base

Coming up onto Mont de Bière, unconventionally

The shed on Mont de Bière in a chilly rain

The shed on Mont de Bière

The cistern in a breezy drizzle

We're leaving the shed and preparing to get properly lost over the other side.

Not lost yet, but soon

We've been wandering foggily between the Monts de Bière, but with better visibility, we're on our way again.

One more little "lost again" in the drippy late afternoon, and then . . .

. . . back to the car to peel off wet layers and leave our skipoles behind in the carpark, lost forever.


We're back the next day to Mont de Bière with our friends (here). Also raining. But a week later . . .


Pierre à Ecusson

. . . it is really really COLD. By our standards. Not by upstate New York standards, but cold! We're leaving from the Col du Marchairuz road just above Le Brassus at 1218m asl.

Pretty untracked forests ahead. Doubtless we'll get horribly lost again.

A vestigial track through the forest of Grande Rolat may or may not be leading us astray.

Now we're astray.

Success, there is the réfuge of Pierre à Ecusson (1346m).

Pierre à Ecusson on 29 January 2012

Grim and determined, and chilly

A few kilometres on, we're plodding alongside a stone wall above the Sèche de Gimel . . .

. . . and we're turning round the idea of seeking out a shortcut through the impenetrable forest again, almost certainly a bad idea.

Bad idea; we're lost again. But this time we've brought along a compass, no worries.

The compass never lies; we weren't going round in circles.

The Réfuge de la Joratte, on a dirt forestry road that will lead us straight back to Helmut Volkswagen in an hour or so.


La Foirausaz

Colder and colder for Europe, it seems. We're starting out from Grand Fuey at 1181m, 5 February, at -10°C (14°F) and looking for new stuff.

Lost again.

When in doubt, go uphill (and later, downhill).

Round here, we're not classed as "forest" so much as "forested meadow" for ecological purposes.

Out onto the meadows of La Foirausaz and marching along uphill. La Dôle is just out of sight behind the big tree.

The summit looms, and so do we.

Now we're slogging northward down off the back side.

And round to the south again (out of the wind)

And avoiding obstacles wherever convenient

The view from an open place: Mont Blanc

The view from an open place: Les Dents du Midi on the left

A fortuitous track to walk in

The sun waves goodbye for another day.

We're back to Bertold Brecht at sundown, and at -14°C (6°F), a lot chillier than we normally expect to be around here.

The 2012 Cold Wave lasted from late January to mid-February and killed a lot of people, especially in eastern Europe, but in our region of western Switzerland, luckily it was mainly just a nuisance.


Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 16 February 2012.


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