Technical descents, arduous climbs, stunning scenery, this trip is as much about the journey and the mountains we pass through as the riding itself. Some days you’ll climb more than you descend, others you’ll descend twice as much as you climb. It’s safe to say that this trip is for those who like to push themselves, both physically and technically. Indeed, the sort of rider who seeks out the biggest days and hardest trails they can find.
Watch the video with Manon Carpenter for a taster of the trip (note that our trip with Manon was only 4 days, not 6).
Still keen? Then let’s get into the nitty gritty: What to expect from this trip.
It begins as a point-to-point tour, as we cross from the Savoie region of the French Alps into the Hautes Alps region. There are roads, but they don’t help much. All of our climbing for the first two days will be under our own power. We spend a night in a high mountain refuge. We summit the 3,178m peak of Mont Thabor early in the week, before descending into the Vallée de la Clarée which becomes our home for the next few days. From there we spend 3 days riding out from Névache, with a little bit of help from the van, including one day which is almost entirely van-uplifted. Ooh yes.. an active rest! Our final day involves riding from Névache to our start point in Valmeinier, before dropping all the way down into St Jean de Maurienne.
The Itinerary looks a little bit like this:
Arrival day: St Michel de Maurienne. Approx 2h from Geneva Airport. Bike building with cold beer in hand!
Uplift to Valmeinier. Continue by bike to Refuge de Mont Thabor. There is no vehicular access to this refuge meaning that riders must carry what they need for that night and the following day – e.g spare clothes, sleeping bag liner, and save space for a hefty picnic lunch which will be provided by the refuge for Day 2 (see note below for more info about French mountain refuges). Meanwhile the van takes your main kit bag round to the accommodation that we’ll reach on Day 2.
Refuge de Mont Thabor to Névache, including the ascent of Mont Thabor at 3,178m. Working hard at over 2,500m for most of the day, this is probably the toughest day of the week, especially bearing in mind the extra equipment in your backpack from the night before. Luckily the 2000m descent off Mont Thabor is 95% rideable, with only 3 short sections which must be walked. Today you’ll descend approximately twice as much as you climb.
Days 3, 4 & 5
Based in Névache, we head out from our accommodation each day to tackle several local big routes. Where possible, we’ll uplift as much as possible to minimise the on-bike climbing, but we’ll still have to earn our turns to a certain extent. No need to carry any overnight gear for the rest of the week though. Thank goodness for that!
We uplift from Névache to the head of the Vallée de la Clarée, before heading up and over a couple of passes on the bikes. We drop back down to Valmeinier on a simply brilliant trail, followed by the final descent into St Michel de Maurienne. That’s a total descent of 2000m down to St Michel for high fives, beers and pizza! Temple of Tech tour complete!
Departure day. St Michel de Maurienne to Geneva Airport approx 2h
For this trip, you MUST be an extremely capable technical rider, and be fit enough to tackle over 1000m per day of climbing – whether on-bike (pedalling), hike-a-bike or pushing. The technical nature of the trails in this area mean that we cannot incorporate easier trails for less capable riders because there are none. If you’ve any questions or doubts about your ability of fitness, don’t hesitate to get in touch for a chat.
Alternatively, check out our Cathedral of Flow Enduro Tour which is more suitable for High-Intermediate and above riders.
- Transfer to/from Geneva Airport within our recommended times
- 6 days guided riding
- 6 days packed lunches
- 7 nights half-board accommodation (twin occupancy), including one night in a mountain refuge (sleeping in a dormitory)
- van uplift where possible/necessary
What’s Not Included:
- Flights to/from Geneva airport
- Any drinks/snacks you wish to purchase whilst out riding each day or with the evening meal
2020 dates: 5-12 September
Please note that places on this trip are extremely limited!
A note on French refuges:
Unlike UK bothies, a french mountain refuge is extremely well equipped. You only need to carry a sleeping bag liner, travel towel, the bare minimum of toiletries and spare clothes for the evening and/or next day. At the Refuge de Mont Thabor, there are even hot showers available – a real luxury at 2,550m above sea level! A three course meal is provided in the evening, followed by a continental breakfast which usually consists of tea, coffee or hot chocolate, some cereal, and bread and jam. The guardians will send us out of the door with a hefty picnic to keep us fuelled up for the day too.