Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Jura Mountains and Mont Tendre

Yesterday I had a long run planned and I decided to run from home rather than travel to Martigny or Aigle to run in the Alps. It's not a long trip on the train to either of those places, but with the rain and potential snow in the Alps it made more sense to run somewhere a little closer and lower (in altitude). Fortunately, the Jura Mountains are only an easy hour of running on beautiful rolling trails from home.

The Jura Mountains are a sub-alpine range that lie mostly in France and Switzerland with a small extension into Germany. There are kilometres and kilometres of well marked and well maintained trails in these mountains. One of the more famous routes is the Jura Ridgeway [Chemin des CrĂȘtes du Jura (fr), Jura Höhenweg (de)] which links Zurich to Nyon over 310km of mountain trails. The Jura is spectacular with fantastic rolling terrain and some steeper climbs that make for great running.

The highest peak in the Swiss Jura is Mont Tendre at 1669m. It's the highest point in Switzerland outside the Alps (which means it's only the 407th highest point in Switzerland...) and it's the most isolated mountain in the canton of Vaud where I live (a canton is an administrative subdivision in Switzerland similar to a state in the US). That means it's quite an appealing peak to run to for the fact that it's the highest in the Swiss Jura and the incredible views when the weather is good. I crossed over the peak twice yesterday and the conditions were remarkably different in just three hours difference.

It's green and beautiful in the Jura with the start of spring.

A little higher up and there's still snow on the ground.

In the morning it was bleak with fog and cold weather.

Mont Tendre - not much to see with these kind of conditions...

Descending off Mont Tendre towards Col du Mollendruz.

A few options of where to go! The "5" signifies the Jura ridgeway trail.

Much better weather. Mont Tendre is visible at the top-left third of the pic.

Only a few hours later and the difference in conditions was ridiculous!

"Any day in the mountains is a good one" and this was especially enjoyable.