Most Beautiful trail in the world is a big claim, but this one has it all!
A crisp start at 6am means setting off in the dark, the frost crunching under your feet. Your breath visible as you start to ascend the first climb. Looking back all you can see is the trail of head torches heading back into the dark forest. Stretch out the pace a little and you soon find yourself up on the first of a series of spurs that run down from the Dent du Midi. It's now that the sun starts to make an appearance and offer some much needed warmth. With the rising sun comes unbelievable views over lac Leman (Lake Geneva) and Champery.
By now you are starting to settle into your rhythm, nipping in and out of the teeth so to speak, on the gradual gradient in the direction of Mex. Through forests and pastures, past shepherds with their flocks and herdsmen with their cattle. Before you start to decend back towards the valley bottom. Increasing aware that the peaks are looming high above you and that soon enough you will be asking your legs to somehow get you over the Col de Jorat.
Grab a quick drink in Mex, fill your bottles and take down some bannah before settling into the big climb. The burn is running deep by now and you wish you had prepared a little more, but above you the Col du Jorat waits to reveal it's big surprise.
Just when you think that this climb will never end, you approach the top and as you bustle past the waiting photographers you are rewarded for your hard work with what has to be one of the most picturesque views in the alps.
Regain your breath after temporarily losing it to the view, and the next refill station is in sight just before the turquoise glacial lake. After an all to brief break it's back up towards the Col de Salanfe, you know this is the last big climb which helps a little. That and the unbelievable view of the lake and the snow capped peaks carry you towards the Col. It's moonscape appearance signals the beginning of the long decent back in the direction on Champery.
However the race is not yet finished. You need to navigate steep technical chained down climbs and slippery terrain before the mountain finally starts to ease up a little and you soon find yourself back in the grassy lowlands surrounded by cows and enthusiastic clapping by-standers. All that remains now is to fight the urge to slow down and keep heading in the direction of the village which seems to be a long way off in the distance. But before you know it the fields are replaced by beautiful wooden chalets and the finish arch.
The 2017 race had Mountain Air team member Tom Crothall representing. He was 3rd overall and said that it was easily the most beautiful race he had run!
For more details see Trail Dents du Midi
or take a look at the route below and decide if you have what it takes.