alps weather in july too hot?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
jawaka
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alps weather in july too hot?

Postby jawaka » 31 Jan 2018, 1:15pm

I'm not sure whether to go towards end of july or as usual early september; july is more convenient. It usually works well in September in terms of weather except last year when the temperature on the first day was ~ 35 at valley level and more than 20 at the summit and on the climb to Meribel i'd drunk my 150 ml of zero drink with no more than a third done, and hoped to find somewhere to get more bu it was not to be. I reckon I started to get heat exhaustion and decided it was better to stop rather than be ill. so I am wondering what the weather will be like in July, too hot?

by the way the next day the temreature in the valley dropped to 19 and it threw it down the next day. I never made the final climb either as it was cold, damp, dark and I thought "I am really not enjoying things, let's just get back to some warmth". Went back to Moutiers from Aimé. That was a horrible journey too. Although a cyle lane marked on the road. With a continuous succession of lorries and cars passing at speed it was quite scary. Worse still the tunnel which was more like standing behind a jet engine, a deafening roar. I'm going back to the Maurienne valley as i find the Northern alps just too busy

roubaixtuesday
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Re: alps weather in july too hot?

Postby roubaixtuesday » 31 Jan 2018, 2:47pm

As your post implies, it's impossible to generalise mountain weather.

I've personally experienced temperatures between 9C and 38C on the same dayin July, and it's entirely possible to have a week's heatwave or a week of cold rain, with snow even below 2000m.

July will for sure be hotter than September on average.

whoof
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Re: alps weather in july too hot?

Postby whoof » 31 Jan 2018, 3:06pm

Whether it's too hot or not is a personal thing. I've known people complaint of the excessive heat when it hits 20 degrees c and guy at work who finally took off his woolly hat (but left on his large coat and scarf) for one day last summer when it got above 30 degrees.

It sounds from your post that you don't enjoy it when the temperature get towards 30 c. I would therefore say as this is more likely in July than September you might be better sticking with September. BTW 150 ml (of zero drink??) or about 1/2 a mug, perhaps you should think of carrying a couple of 750 ml bottles.

Brucey
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Re: alps weather in july too hot?

Postby Brucey » 31 Jan 2018, 6:32pm

top of the Cime de la Bonette in August = 3C at lunchtime, and that was in nice weather. It was 35C in the bottom of the valleys on the same day.

Weather in the mountains is, uh, 'variable'.

In warm weather, allow about 1 litre of water per 1000 vertical metres of climbing. If one of my companions said he was going to do a decent climb on 150ml of fluids I'd think he'd gone off his chump.

cheers
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Cyril Haearn
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Re: alps weather in july too hot?

Postby Cyril Haearn » 31 Jan 2018, 6:59pm

It is hard now in winter to realise how much one needs to drink in summer, stop or go home if you run out

I fancy cycling in the Alps or Pyrenees but I do not like riding downhill
Is it possible to get a bus back down?
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ianrobo
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Re: alps weather in july too hot?

Postby ianrobo » 31 Jan 2018, 8:47pm

OK my experience, been three times

2015 - on a organised trip one fo the hottest summers ever, 42C in the valley 27C at the top of the Galibier, I sufferred
2016 - Marmotte, perfect for me avg 19C, sleet at the top of the Galibier, interesting descent but great
2017 - well this !! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XB_mwqykSU miserable but soon off the mountain sunny and on the Alpe - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoWSTnz7ROk very pleasant

Basically as said above it can be anything but do not let the weather stop you, just adjust to it when you are there, but bear in mind the two valleys either side of a mountain like the Galibier can be vastly different !

ianrobo
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Re: alps weather in july too hot?

Postby ianrobo » 31 Jan 2018, 8:50pm

Cyril Haearn wrote:It is hard now in winter to realise how much one needs to drink in summer, stop or go home if you run out

I fancy cycling in the Alps or Pyrenees but I do not like riding downhill
Is it possible to get a bus back down?


in the Alps, well not really unless there is a ski resort like D'Huez is at the top, nothing say on Glandon, Galibier etc

However I used to be scared of heights etc and petrified of a descent but most you can go down, feathering brakes at average 35-40 kph comfortably just got to get the hairpins right and thats about technique. Best place to go for practice is the Bwlch in South wales, every alpine like but short descent of 5-7Km depending on which side. I practiced a lot on there when I used to work in Cardiff and massive difference between 2015 and 16

Cyril Haearn
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Re: alps weather in july too hot?

Postby Cyril Haearn » 31 Jan 2018, 8:58pm

ianrobo wrote:
Cyril Haearn wrote:It is hard now in winter to realise how much one needs to drink in summer, stop or go home if you run out

I fancy cycling in the Alps or Pyrenees but I do not like riding downhill
Is it possible to get a bus back down?


in the Alps, well not really unless there is a ski resort like D'Huez is at the top, nothing say on Glandon, Galibier etc

However I used to be scared of heights etc and petrified of a descent but most you can go down, feathering brakes at average 35-40 kph comfortably just got to get the hairpins right and thats about technique. Best place to go for practice is the Bwlch in South wales, every alpine like but short descent of 5-7Km depending on which side. I practiced a lot on there when I used to work in Cardiff and massive difference between 2015 and 16

Bwlch on the A40 near Brecon?

I braked too hard on the way from Trawsfynydd to Llanuwchllyn once, my front tyre exploded
Or maybe I should have used my back brake more :wink:

Saw an interesting recommendation for driving in the mountains, one should use the same gear whether ascending or descending
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ianrobo
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Re: alps weather in july too hot?

Postby ianrobo » 31 Jan 2018, 9:12pm

Nah the one that is on the way to Treorchy

I think the gear idea on bikes would work as most alpine descent very few you actually need to pedal if you do not want to as very few have false flats

pga
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Re: alps weather in july too hot?

Postby pga » 1 Feb 2018, 12:07am

In the past the weatherin the Alps was very hot, although even then you could experience snow and ice on the cols. The Brevet des Alpes was abandoned at least one in such conditions. These days the weather is more and more unpredictable,not just in the Alps, as recent Tour de France's have shown.

MarcusT
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Re: alps weather in july too hot?

Postby MarcusT » 1 Feb 2018, 5:12am

Dress for hot, prepare for cold and plan your trip without a second thought.
Ride!
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Paul Smith SRCC
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Re: alps weather in july too hot?

Postby Paul Smith SRCC » 1 Feb 2018, 6:50am

Can be a lottery, when I cycled up the Col Du Galibier with panniers to watch a 'Tour de France' stage it was quite warm but at the top cold enough for long sleeves and tights. The day before I rode it and it was so cold I wore nearly every item of clothing I had in my panniers; it was really, really cold.

My advice is if possible be prepared for both extremes. I was on touring holiday so had panniers full of a variety of clothing, but for those traveling light it can be difficult as it can be warm as you climb, especially the lower slopes, yet it can be freezing as you gain height and the descend the other side.

ianrobo
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Re: alps weather in july too hot?

Postby ianrobo » 1 Feb 2018, 6:35pm

MarcusT wrote:Dress for hot, prepare for cold and plan your trip without a second thought.
Ride!


perfect answer, sod the weather, if cold you just layer up but really I still went up in a sleeveless top and gilet because obviously you generate your own heat !!

It is a problem if too warm but the big climbs have the water available, for example with 10km to go at plan Lachet on the Galibier, two up the Madeline, two up the glandon etc.

brownie17
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Re: alps weather in july too hot?

Postby brownie17 » 20 Jan 2020, 10:07am

Despite the fact that this thread is 2 years old, the temperature in the mountains has not changed. Summer is just as hot. We need to dress for the weather.

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TrevA
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Re: alps weather in july too hot?

Postby TrevA » 21 Jan 2020, 6:48pm

Cyril Haearn wrote:It is hard now in winter to realise how much one needs to drink in summer, stop or go home if you run out

I fancy cycling in the Alps or Pyrenees but I do not like riding downhill
Is it possible to get a bus back down?


In July and August, a lot of the ski lifts are working. There’s one from the top of Les Deux Alpes, that takes you down to Venosc, so it’s possible. Descending Alpe d’Huez is quite stressful due to the number of hairpin bends, but descending the Lauteret is a pleasure as it’s fairly straight apart from a few gentle bends, though you have to be able to cope with the tunnels.

Best to take a thin windproof jacket or rain cape plus thin gloves and arm warmers, as it can get quite cold on the descents + there will be snow at the top of the highest climbs, even in July. My profile picture was taken near the top of the Galibier in late June.
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