Saturday, April 29, 2017

Arete des Sommetre

We've been talking about this one for a few years but the travel time (2 hours for a Jura trip!) has always stopped us from doing it. Not this time!

On the train to Noirmont we see lots of snow; worrying considering that we are about to do a long ridge. Ah well; we'll just see how it goes.

In Noirmont we walk through town and then down (!) into canyon towards the Doubs. The canyon is in shadows and the temperature is other than warm.  While crossing a field we get a good sneak preview of the ridge - very impressive! At some point we turn off the path and head steeply up to the cliff face where we follow a path up, up to a saddle at the end of the ridge. After looking down the other side (not much to see) we pick a sunny spot and put on the climbing gear. Then it's on to the ridge. As we are leaving another group comes up onto the saddle behind us; we'll just hope that we are quicker than them!
good view of the ridge
 After getting up the step and to the real beginning of the ridge there's a bit of real climbing (even with two bolts!) that's easy but made harder by the cold (stupidly, neither of us has brought gloves with us and the fingers get pretty cold). After that we are mostly in the sun and the going is easier. The ridge is a mixture of walking and scrambling with the very occasional bit of climbing mixed in. Conditions are good - beautiful weather and very little snow left on the ridge - and the route is generally easy to find - there's either a trail or crampon scratches from people doing the route in the winter. Aside from a couple of spots where we have to descend (the first of which takes us much too long to figure out how to do safely) and one or two very exposed bits we don't really need the rope at all. Ah well, it's good practice!
on the ridge
Including a short lunch break we're done with the ridge after 3:45. The last bit has us climbing over the railing onto the peak of the Sommetre, that's always fun. We have another break, eat a bit more, and then enjoy the sun and views before packing everything up and heading back along normal paths to Noirmont. As we're sitting there the group that was behind us comes into view (a ways back) with another group behind them. Easy to imagine the ridge being very, very full on summer weekends!
panorama views from the ridge
Back on Noirmont we check into our hotel, have showers and a nap, take a short stroll, have a very good meal, and then fall asleep.


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