Dwight Peck's personal website

Hikes in the porous forest of Grande Rolat

Winter 2006-2007 spent waiting around for winter

Scraggly old forests, with holes in the bottom, present challenges both physical and, to some extent, intellectual

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.

The forest of Grande Rolat squats just west of the Col du Marchairuz between Nyon and the Vallée de Joux in Switzerland. The relief is extraordinarily varied but it all lies between 1300m and 1390m in a jumble of dead and dying trees, a few live ones, tiny limestone cliffs and ridges and holes both small and sometimes fairly big.

First, a warm-up to La Dunanche, 6 January 2007

Passing La Chaumette

La Dunanche

7 January 2007: Drs Pirri and Peck do walkabout in the forest

An ominous start

Here's a fairly big hole we've never stumbled across before and hope not to stumble across now.

No discernible bottom. A thoughtful passerby has thrown a piece of wood across it so you can have a fair go at catching yourself as you descend.

Nasty hole in the gently sloping forest at 1370m

A warning sign?

Near the end of the day, Dr Pirri leaps over a stone wall near the Couvert de la Sèche de Gimel.

That leap didn't work out, so now Dr Pirri is trying a different method.

28 January 2007: Kristin is visiting, and we're off through the forest of Grande Rolat

The fashionable earmuffs are wired for BBC World.

Someone's gone down a hole in the forest floor, and Dr Pirri lends a hand dragging her out of it again.

What a mess.

Repairing the snowshoes again for additional adventures

At the Réfuge de la Joratte

Kristin taking her breathalyzer test before starting back

Dr Pirri at the Réfuge de la Joratte, as determinedas ever


Dr Pirri returning through the forest of Grande Rolat, skillfully evading the holes in the terrain. We're completely lost in the forest at this point, but that's okay, in fact, that was the point of the thing.


We're in terra incognita

We've emerged (unexpectedly) out of the forest near the Couvert de la Cerniat -- that's Kristin overloomed by the narrator at about 1340m, above the farm of La Cerniat (etymologically, "the clearing in the forest")

A likely route

The Couvert de la Cerniat

Here's the downside of marching about in limestone forests uninvited.

Well recovered


More of the downside -- into another limestone hole in the forest floor, and then, athletically, energetically, and nimbly, back out of it again.

Daylight, and the farm of Meylande-Dessus on the far side of the highway. We feel that we're going to make it back to the car.

from SwitzerlandMobility (http://map.schweizmobil.ch/?lang=en)

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 5 April 2007, revised 19 July 2008, revised 4 September 2014.

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