Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mont Billiat

Whilst Steffi whisked Monty south for some sun and 'jump ins' into to the swimming pool, i stayed behind with the intention of doing some walking and riding. what happened was I squeezed one evening walk and a day's riding into a week - the rest, I managed to fill with work!

Having got the map out several times over the summer, there were a number of objectives that were on the cards, but there are to mountains that I can see from my house which have always drawn my attention. Looking down the valley from Seytroux, there are two distinct ridges of vertical limestone, opposite each other.

These ridges are the first 'big' things that you come across when driving up from Thonon and are (looking towards Lake Geneva from Seytroux) Mt Billiat on the left and Mt Ouzon on the right.

Mt Ouzon
Mt Ouzon

I chose Mt Billiat as I thought it had the more impressive looking outline! It was a Friday night and there was not a cloud in the sky and most importantly, no wind, as it looked pretty vertiginous from the map contours... I planned on driving up to the chalets at Mevonne, but the reality was that to do that, I needed a 4x4 and the right to access the road. My car was out of its depth before I had to give up the right to the road, so I pulled over and did the (quite long) slog up the road to the alpage pastures and chalets at the top.

I had set off at 4:30pm with the intent of seeing a bit of the sunset and by the time I reached the alpage at Mevonne, the light was incredible, just coming over the col and lighting up the sheer limestone cliffs behind.

I can't really do this sight justice at all. There was no one there, the light was amazing and there were about 50 cows jangling in a hidden meadow under the cliffs - it looked like a mini Yosemete with a bit of cow bell thrown in for extra atmosphere - one of the most amazing sights that I have ever seen in the mountains, anywhere.

Climbing up to the coll on the right, I then struck up the steeper ground towards the summit. This ends up traversing a steep (80 ish degrees!) grass hill side with some chains put in at the most exposed parts. The clay like soil is slippery when wet although ok for me as it hadn't rained for a few days. Following this traverse, you pop out onto a ridge which heads to the summit.

I was glad that there was no wind as it is about a meter wide in places with a considerable drop on either side, both at that 70/80 degree angle!! I saw one deer that bolted when it got my scent, other than that, no one!

Having topped out a bit before 19:20, I sat and enjoyed the view for a bit. You can see sooo many peaks and lake Geneva in its entirety! The fountain looked miniscule! Where are the pictures, I hear you ask? Well, I took my slr which had no cards in it!!!

After a bit I headed down and it quickly turned dark. The track through the forest went on for EVER and I was glad to see my car by head torch, feeling knackered.

I Found these shots on the web which come close to my experience!

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