Plaine Morte has been an area I have wanted to explore since arriving in Switzerland. The top of the “Death Plain”, Pointe de la Plaine Morte, lies at 2927m above Crans Montana in the Valais region of south western Switzerland. During the winter months it is no doubt a Disney Land of skiers and snowboarders but in the summer, or at least the Autumn, it does a fairly good job of living up to its’ name. It’s a desolate, rocky landscape frequented by not-a-lot with virtually no shelter and not really any significant plant life.
Up until around mid September, I believe that the big cable car is open for bikes to take you right to the top of Pointe de la Plaine Morte, however, in our infinite wisdom, we decided to do this about a week after the lift had closed for the season. That meant a long slog from the top of the Cry d’Er lift (this is the lift used for the Crans Montana bike park) up a fire road to the top, which, when looking on the map the night before, didn’t look too bad. Turns out, it takes longer than you’d think.
The descent from the top is like riding on the moon. Just rocks, lots of them. It’s an open trail so super fun, pretty fast and drifty with a few technical bits to spice things up. There are various trails down but unfortunately we could not take our intended route due to snow and lack of time. This was to climb back up Wissehoreliicke then descend past the SAC hut and all the way down to Lac de Tseuxier. Instead we kept heading down past Lac de Huiton Weisshornsee then along the cliffs on the left side (riders left) of the valley. It’s wise to be cautious here with trail choice because some of the bisse have some extreme exposure. Some sections are so steep that it appears to be impossible to indicate this fact on a 1:25,000 scale map, the dashes and contour lines are just too close together. This means it takes a lot longer to descend through this valley than you might think and your riding buddies will get increasingly annoyed at whoever is unlucky enough to be map reading.