Dwight Peck's personal Web site

Winter 2008-2009

The best snow we've had in the Jura in a decade, and we've been in danger of missing it entirely.


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.

Grand Cunay, this time with determination

Yesterday, as we were preparing to go onto Daylight Savings Summer Time, we wandered about in a snowstorm looking for the top of Grand Cunay, and finally wilted and gave it up.

Today we're back, 29 March 2009, and we've brought Dr Pirri along to keep us at it till we've got to the top. That's Dr Pirri there, reluctant even to get too far away from the car until the sun comes out and warms us up a bit.

The trailhead at Font. Froide -- the cross-country ski track from Marchairuz to the Col du Mollendruz about 10km away to the southwest.

Grand Cunay is on the agenda, and on the horizon.

The high point is at 1574m, and we're at about 1340m now. We're planning to go straight out the meadows and walk up through the forest on the left side of it.

A little stretch of forest. We've already lost Dr Pirri at this point.

The farm of Pré de Denens through the trees

Here comes Dr Pirri catching us up.

Over the first ridge, with the nearly trackless hillside before us. The only tracks anywhere in sight are 1) my own from yesterday, on the left, and 2) . . . it looks like there's someone out there right now, ruining our trackless hillside.

Yes, there he is, defiling our virgin snow.

Dr Pirri circumambulating the head of the combe

A transcendental experience, a beautiful day, the sun peeking through from time to time, on a trackless snowy hillside. A nearly trackless snowy hillside.

And lots and lots of snow

And a trackless hillside before us (our predecessor evidently turned off down to the left)

And a newly tracked hillside behind us

Looking for a plausible way up through the forest above

Panorama, with France in the background

Up through the forest

So far so good, but where's the summit. Besides just "up".

Dr Pirri is impatient.

Dr Pirri wends up the only slope in the whole region that I'd wished to avoid.

Beautiful snowy northwest side of Grand Cunay at the end of March. Hopefully staying right where it is until we're off it.

There's nothing above us; this must be the top.

We saw an angel in this very place some years ago, but we won't go into that now.

Bingo. Quite by accident, we're here at the farm of Grand Cunay.

That's the second part of Grand Cunay just to the northeast and about 30 meters higher.

A crisp and bracing breeze and great views in all directions. Vast relief at getting out again after a long and doubtful winter.

Our guide (and mentor) on the windswept top

The farm at Grand Cunay

Dr Pirri jubilant

Trail signs. The international hiking path the Chemin des Crêtes passes right by the corner of this building.

Dr Pirri playing peek-a-boo

A good year for snow

Dr Pirri marveling at the amount of snow here in April

The lee side on the southwest

Contemplating our future. (In the near term.) We're going to follow the Chemin des Crêtes back a ways and see how the farm at Monts de Bière Derrière is doing with all this snow.

Leaving Grand Cunay

The Chemin des Crêtes before us, well traveled because of the ski club cabin on the hillside over to our left

Dr Pirri recounting the plot of the Julia Roberts movie called "Duplicity", which he liked very much, he says.

A glance back at Grand Cunay. The building on the lower right is a three-sided cow shelter.

As predicted. Lots of snow at the farm of Monts de Bière Derrière.

Mr Peck and the roadside trail sign

There used to be a front door on this place, and a picnic table, as I recall.

We'll have a peek down this hole. And shove the camera down it.

There's the front door after all, and the picnic table.

Fed up with the well-traveled Chemin des Crêtes, our guide imprudently begins running straight down the hill . . .

. . . but gets brought up abruptly by a line of cliffs in the way.

Adroitly finding a gulley through the cliffs, Dr Pirri comes upon another useful track out towards the car.

Huge piles of snow all along our route

A beautiful little farm road that's been scraped out along the steep hillside

And finally back to the carpark at the end of an exhilirating day.


Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 1 April 2009, revised 11 October 2014.


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