Head straight to the Alps to beat snow or do I have time?

Discussion in 'EMEA' started by Khabel, Aug 21, 2017.

  1. Khabel

    Khabel Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2014
    Oddometer:
    36
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    I've arrived in London for the start of my 3 month Western Europe tour, should I head straight for the Alps to beat the snow and double back after or do I have time to do some riding through Belgium and Germany first?
    #1
  2. EastRoad

    EastRoad Road Viking

    Joined:
    May 10, 2014
    Oddometer:
    1,781
    Location:
    Switzerland
    Alps and riding... well you could be fine until October easily... depending on WHERE in the alps and on the actual weather... however, keep in mind, that even if it will be free of snow (roads) it still can get really really cold high up.... so sure, the earlier the nicer, but even if you throw in a bit of riding in the other parts, it should still be "OK".
    but mind, that it can change quickly...
    I've been up in the mountains (hiking) a few days ago... did some stuff around 3000m and yes there was snow,... but the ROADS will be unaffected (lower, maintained, etc) for a longer span of time... also if you plan on crossing high altitude mountain passes, google the pass name and road condition, there's usually pretty accurate intel out there daily.
    #2
  3. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    4,385
    Location:
    below the sea
    It's still August, and the hordes will still be around down south. End of August for most, a few will have holidays till mid September.
    The grey tourist is always around - they now keep the places open that used to close until skiing at xmas, so don't hate them too much.
    Many of the passes that get frequent mention from overseas visitors will still be busy until the snows come.
    I always found it best to do busy places as early in the morning as possible. Less people, often less haze and if there is mist, I think it adds an air of romanticism. Maybe just me... but you can be done and taking in the views and a leisurely lunch while the late comers are struggling with rv's and caravans.

    In France, as well as various websites, each pass will have a sign giving the status. Sometimes grouped so you can see if the alternatives are open.

    A couple of years ago, I was staying in Mons, just off the N85, a few miles from Castellane and all the passes within riding range were open - mid October.

    Local variations of weather obviously occur, year by year and day by day, not to mention hour by hour - I never go up the high passes without all my waterproofs and thermals - even in high summer.
    #3
  4. pip_muenster

    pip_muenster curious

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Oddometer:
    700
    Location:
    Karlsruhe, Germany
    Why would you want to do that?
    :hide

    I mean, there are some nice roads and interesting historic places - but if you're just looking for proper beer, you can find acceptable alternatives even in southern Europe, if you look around ...
    #4
  5. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Oddometer:
    3,433
    Location:
    Sterling, Virginia, USA
    Some of the higher (2500M+) passes may start closing around the end of September (Stelvio, l'Iseran, etc) but a lot of the lower passes are open year round - and especially those in the major tourist areas. The Dolomites come to mind. And, as has been noted, if you come to one that's closed, there's usually another way around. I don't know if I'd go into November, but you should be good through most of October. Dress warmly - it gets chilly at altitude.
    #5
  6. VanDT

    VanDT Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2016
    Oddometer:
    80
    Location:
    atm. Bayreuth, Germany
    You should be fine waiting another 3-4 weeks easily...

    Off Topic:
    If you do some riding in Germany, make sure to check out the region in the triangle between Bamberg, Nuremberg and Bayreuth, called Frankonian Switzerland. It’s a riders paradise. And if you do, head for a place called „Kathi Bräu“ an absolute Hotspot with local riders on good Sundays, you can meet over 300 bikes there
    #6
  7. Khabel

    Khabel Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2014
    Oddometer:
    36
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Is that near the b500 road? I think that's the name
    #7
  8. VanDT

    VanDT Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2016
    Oddometer:
    80
    Location:
    atm. Bayreuth, Germany
    It’s there: Kathi Bräu Heckenhof
    Heckenhof 1, 91347 Aufseß
    09198 277
    https://goo.gl/maps/B3yyxmRCREuhttps://goo.gl/maps/B3yyxmRCREu


    If you zoom out a little bit, you can see the triangle I was talking about... quite a lot of ppl come here to take riding Holliday’s and the like.

    And it’s pretty much on your way to the south anyway...
    #8
  9. alicethomas

    alicethomas Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2011
    Oddometer:
    631
    Location:
    Palatinate, Germany
    B500 is far away (in the Black Forest).

    Access to alpine passes depends on the weather (not only actual weather, the last days-weeks too).
    2 years ago, I had much fun crossing Bernina and Julier (both >2000m) between Christmas and New Year.
    Of course it can be slippery in the shadowed foggy valleys. And where the sun melted the snow and the water froze again in some distance/time.
    The sun is low during these times and you will have to ride through the shadow. Better you don't get paniced from snow & ice. You might ride on it after the next turn ... in an incline/descent.
    And obviously it can be chilly.
    Check the webcams! (Days-weeks before)
    #9
  10. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    4,385
    Location:
    below the sea
    But the OP is talking Sept into Oct, while snow may be possible, it is unlikely in most years to cause an early seasonal closure on all but the very highest passes.
    Usual caveats about the unpredictability of Alpine weather...
    #10
    VanDT likes this.
  11. the venturer

    the venturer Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,448
    Location:
    Thrace and Istanbul
    Sorry for the disturb but do any of you have a route or tracks for the Alps to share?

    GT-N7100 cihazımdan Tapatalk kullanılarak gönderildi
    #11
  12. alicethomas

    alicethomas Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2011
    Oddometer:
    631
    Location:
    Palatinate, Germany
    #12
    the venturer likes this.
  13. the venturer

    the venturer Long timer

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,448
    Location:
    Thrace and Istanbul
    Can find links such that but im really into the ones completed and approved by bikers. Places really worth seeing taking visiting

    GT-N7100 cihazımdan Tapatalk kullanılarak gönderildi
    #13
  14. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    4,385
    Location:
    below the sea
    Well its the Alps, most of it is worth visiting* - if you find the part you're in boring or tedious, take a turn and head off somesome other direction. There are lots of roads, from slick to gravel. Your trip, your choice. It is unlikely you will disappointed for long - or you won't be satisfied at all.

    *personally, I still avoid main roads, and particularly tourist centres.
    #14
  15. alicethomas

    alicethomas Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2011
    Oddometer:
    631
    Location:
    Palatinate, Germany
    Read the text and comments. ;)
    Some passes are like a highway, suitable for the racer with a knee on the ground,
    some passes for the adv riders, who like tricky rough gravel roads or single trails (and take the risk of a difficult withdrawel).
    #15
    the venturer likes this.
  16. Gone Troppo

    Gone Troppo Somewhat bemused observer

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Oddometer:
    4,215
    Location:
    Over the bridge of sighs..
    This.

    A run up Stelvio at daybreak should be on every motorcyclist's bucket list.
    #16
    nickguzzi likes this.
  17. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2003
    Oddometer:
    3,433
    Location:
    Sterling, Virginia, USA
    Any later and you'll be stuck in traffic. :becca
    #17
  18. Gone Troppo

    Gone Troppo Somewhat bemused observer

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Oddometer:
    4,215
    Location:
    Over the bridge of sighs..
    Sometimes you can be lucky.....
    #18
  19. VanDT

    VanDT Adventurer

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2016
    Oddometer:
    80
    Location:
    atm. Bayreuth, Germany

    Timmelsjoch, Penserjoch and Jaufenpass should be on your list, imho. they are pretty much Alp-Allstars. Esp. the first and last ones.
    #19
    the venturer likes this.
  20. Gone Troppo

    Gone Troppo Somewhat bemused observer

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Oddometer:
    4,215
    Location:
    Over the bridge of sighs..
    They are indeed.
    #20