Dwight Peck's personal website

Good snowshoe hiking in early January 2013

A great snow year in the Jura, for a change

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, twice

Another solo scoping mission, 6 January 2013. The Grande Rolat forest, southwest of the Marchairuz road over the Swiss Jura mountains to the Vallée du Joux on the French border is a great collection of little ridges and cliffs, snowdrifts, and isolated forest glades, begging to get lost in and go round in circles until nightfall.

To gain time we're picking up the predictable track of an army of enthusiasts in a long line out through the centre of the forest.

Then at an appropriate time, we turn up into less traveled parts of the forest.

Momentarily diverted at a little combe running across our route

and then another one straightaway.

Step around that. Snowshoes don't fit down the little holes, and, given snow conditions, most of the big holes will be gaping.

There's nothing finer than tramping in forest where no one's been before (since the last snowfall).

Les chapeaux de neige

An engineering problem, but it can be done.

Deep in the forest, there is almost perfect quiet, except for the EasyJet flights out of Geneva airport, directly overhead.

Calm and peaceful in the advancing afternoon

A stone wall in the forest

And late in the day, coming down out of the forest (right) through the stone wall separating the rough ground of the forest from the pastures of Sèche des Amburnex.

Heading northeastward above the pastures

A band of ski-tourers on the meadows below

The farm shed of Couvert de la Sèche de Gimel

The Couvert and cisterne; barely visible behind it in the forest is the cabin of Ma Chaumine.

The Couvert; we're passing down into the protected nature area in the depression at the centre of the Sèche des Amburnex pastures.

Down in an unforested part of the nature reserve

Suddenly 8 metres tall
(Once, near Rinderberg above Saanenmöser, I got a picture of my shadow self just short of two kilometres tall)

Time to turn back to the northeast

Another party also contemplating turning back now

The Couvert de la Sèche Gimel from the other side

The cabin of Ma Chaumine ("my little cottage"), with ice blocks off the roof

The Couvert from Ma Chaumine

An adventurous direct route back through the forest

Impediments underfoot

Big impediments underfoot

Enough impediments underfoot to reflect badly upon this whole part of the forest

Enough impediments to recommend a rethink

Impediments pretty much in all directions, at this point

No route proposals looks particularly more promising than the others.

Lots of little ankle-snappers in all directions

Frequently, holes in the forest can be avoided by going uphill for a while.

Until we stumble upon a nice level track to lead us most of the way out.

Dieter's been waiting patiently in the carpark

The same, 13 January 2013

We're back, a huge party this time, to compete with the Swiss lines of 30 hikers in single file laying down firm snowshoe tracks along all the regular farm roads and signposted hiking paths.

Here comes our party, not really so very huge -- just Joe and Kristin, in fact.

Up into the forest we go now.

New tons of snow, still unconsolidated over the past week

For the moment, it's cold enough to spare us from the constant barrage of tree avalanches on the first sunny day after a snowfall.

Kristin with her sun visor on in case the sun should come out briefly

Dr Pirri leading us confidently . . .

. . . not always by the most direct route.

The silent forest, except for airliners overhead and a constant barrage of witty puns and limericks


Down into the protected area of the Sèche des Amburnex

It's getting chilly, time to go home.

So now we're on the express route, up the multi-hiked forestry road back to the car.


Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 17 February 2013.

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