Dwight Peck's personal website

Scenes from the Creux d'Enfer de Druchaux

An appointment with a lot of washed-out limestone

We find the karst dolines of the limestone Jura mountains endlessly fascinating, so we've come up for another tour of the sights, 15 June 2013.

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.

We've left Dieter VW on the pastures of Petit Cunay at 1547m asl and we're trotting along a secret path northeastward towards the Creux d'Enfer du Petit Cunay and the Creux d'Enfer de Druchaux, in the direction of Mont Tendre.

Must have been a hell of a storm.

It's a minor inconvenience for Kristin.

Now we're turning down into the Creux d'Enfer du Petit Cunay -- a kind of a warm-up for today's sightseeing. A Creux d'Enfer, or "Hell Hollow", is a depression in the limestone forest where the water has dissolved its own way down through the rocks and left small holes, big holes, very big holes, and a few huge caverns.

We're glancing appreciatively left and right but bounding down to the bottom end of this one, at about 1460m, to start up the Creux d'Enfer de Druchaux half a kilometre to the north.

Near the lower end of the Creux d'Enfer de Druchaux (1500m), Kristin inspects one of our favorites.

And inspects a bit more closely . . .

. . . and drops some pebbles down to count off the seconds till they rattle at the bottom. Cavers use the logs and a few pitons in the nearby rocks for their fixed ropes to view whatever speleological treasures may branch out somewhere down there. (We shouted down before dropping the pebbles in.)

Now we're ready to visit some more disfigurements of the landscape in the vicinity.

Like this one. With barbed wire ringed round it, presumably for the cows' sake.

Over this way!

We're walking more or less uphill, northwards basically (though a lot of this is guesswork), towards the near end of the Mont Tendre ridgeline.

Landscape features

Kristin progressing speedily through the forest . . .

. . . pausing to take in the local attractions.

And then proceeding.


Now what?

It's all a huge drainage system.

The way forward! More or less. (Memory doesn't work so well around here.)

Kristin and the lapiez -- a pre-French Celtic derivation from the Latin lapis ('stone') that throughout the region signifies a limestone surface, flat or slanted, eroded out in stone channels over the centuries.

Le vrai lapiez

Still with snow in it

A dead end

Back over this way . . .

. . . or rather, this way.

It can sometimes be slow going.


A bit of meadow here, and we're turning southwestward to grid another quadrant of the map.

A grand and surprising clearing in the middle of the Creux d'Enfer

With its own irregularities -- a series of largish cracks all running parallel


Then another

And . . . here's another.

And now: another impediment.

A frontal assault . . .

. . . with a jig to the left.

There is a convenient way over this and we will find it.


Over this way; not that way.

A last impediment

We've levitated out onto the gentle meadows just below the farm of Druchaux.

Barbed wire fence

The new back-up radar installation for Geneva's Cointrin airport, on top of part of Grand Cunay, near the Swiss Alpine Club refuge of the Cabane du Cunay. We're on our way on the marked path from Druchaux back to the car.

A horribly disfigured tree along the path

And an erratic boulder

And back to the car

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 7 October 2013.

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