The Environmental 12

in search of the tree line

Did you know that trees move?... Well, tree species move when local conditions change. It is the case in the Alps where the average temperature has increased by more than 2oC in the past 30 years alone.
As it gets warmer, trees are able to survive higher up and hence the highest altitude at which trees can live (the tree line) climbs as well. Today in the Alps, it stands at between 1800m and 2200m, several hundred meters higher than 30 years ago.
This month, I am going to ride to the tree line. Starting in Neuch√Ętel, I am going to ride about 100km to get to the altitude, and then ride back, which is going to be a bit longer.
Manuel announces the May challenge

round trip to JAUN Pass


My original plan was to ride to the Grimsel Pass, but conditions meant that it did not open during May. I chose to climb Jaun Pass from Charmey and come back via Thun. A total of 225km and 3000m of elevation gain, but what made the trip is the mechanical I got on my way back!

A nice day, sunny and not particularly cold. Plenty of wind to deal with and a lot more climbing that anticipated, but this is Switzerland!

Excellent legs only equally matched by outstanding roads and views on the way out. The Jaun Pass is terrific. I highly recommend it! 21km all in, but really with the first 17km at gradients that are not too demanding. Then comes the punch, the last 5km remind you that you reach well above 1500m at the top. For me, it is always a struggle to climb anything above 8%, but thankfully it's only 5km!

So all in everything was great by the time I passed the top. To be honest, my plan was to get to the top of Chasseral on my way back but my bike had other plans. On my way back, I had a series of problems with my tires and ended up spending three hours stuck in Thun waiting for a fix.

The problem put me a solid three hours behind schedule and into a much harsher head wind than I expected. I got back to Neuch√Ętel early evening and called it a day. Now to the next one!