On top of the Jura (Chasseral ride)

Chasseral is the highest peak of the Jura mountains in Switzerland, towering above lake Biel… well it’s really a long, rather beautiful ridge and less of a tower. But there is a tower on top and it’s rather ugly. The roundtrip ride from Biel is a bit painful at over 50 km and somewhere between 1600-1800m of total ascent. The other unfortunate thing is that a large part of the ascent is on paved road with a fair number of cars because as it turns out the giant tower on top of Chasseral is something of a tourist attraction.

the road to Chasseral winds through a beautiful forest

But what makes the 30km of “approach” worth it is the more than 15 km of trail that takes you all the way to the end of the ridge. The beginning is rough and rocky with some fun and fast open sections, but all the while you pass through serene meadows full of wildflowers.

Descending from Chasseral — yes, it was cold. Yes it was also late July. 

Passing through meadows below the top of Chasseral

Molly making friends

Molly after almost 40km of mountain biking

Molly insisted on taking some shots of me… 

Attitude

There are lots of ups and downs until Le cabane du Jura hut — but after that the trail weaves down a gentle gradient through the forest toward Frinvillier, turning into really tight singletrack in high grass at times. A really amazing treat after a day of hard work! We were running a bit late so we skipped the really steep last section down to Frinvillier proper and instead bailed down a road to Orvin and from there back to Biel. In Biel we found a lovely restaurant that served deliciously fresh food in the old part of town to finish off the day. A really memorable ride, highly recommended!

Molly lost in the wildflowers

Molly the wildflower

beautiful forest trail toward Frinvillier

ps: I took my 10-22 mm wide angle and a 50 mm prime with me on this trip — first time I went into the mountains without my regular mid-range zoom. Even though the 50mm prime is the low-cost version (though it’s amazing because it weighs nothing) I think the picture quality is far superior to my zoom. When shooting moving subjects the zoom tends to get in the way and I can’t focus on composition as much so the prime was a nice relief. I think it’ll definitely find its way to my pack again (thanks Axel for letting me borrow it!)

http://www.gpsies.com/mapOnly.do?fileId=zkrrbaakwoxdhvza

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