BIKE, SAIL AND CLIMB: OUR MULTI-SPORT JOURNEY FROM CHAMONIX TO CORSICA
I wanted to go on a climbing trip in a different way. Instead of taking the car or the plane to go climbing, I decided to leave from home by Ebike. I wanted the adventure to start in Chamonix, as soon as I locked the door of my house.
The plan was to leave the Northern Alps and head to Marseille, South of France, where we would embark on a sailing boat before crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach the Bavella peaks in Corsica.
We did this trip in late May/early June and were terribly unlucky with the weather. It was probably the worst week of Spring and we biked through the rain (everyday), cold temperatures and even storms. Luckily, it got a bit better for the climbing part.
- Four days of bikepacking with three days of rain
- Two night’s sleep outdoors and two nights at the house of some people who became friends
- Kilometers done: 260km (162 miles)
- Elevation gained: 8000m (2624 feet)
- Hours on the bike: 31h
what i packed
- Extra Bosch Battery
- 2L Water bladder
- Ether Light Sleeping Mat
- Altitude AtI Women’s Specific Down sleeping bag
- Aeros Premium Deluxe Pillow
- 1 x Pair of socks
- 1 x T-shirt
- 1 x spare pair of underwear
- Rainproof and warmer clothes
- 1 x 1L First Aid Dry Sack
- 1 x Travelling Light Toiletry Bag
- Snacks and nuts
- Battery pack to charge iPhone, Go Pros, head lamps
- Multi-tools and gear for the bikes
- Small Ultra-Sil Pack Cover
- Dry Sacks—one to keep the changing the clothes dry, one for the food, of for the pharmacy and one for the electronic items
I didn’t really know what to expect from this trip. I just knew it would be a different kind of adventure and it would be full of new experiences.
I didn’t really have to prepare physically either. I do a lot of mileage in the mountains (I sometimes climb for 15 hours in a row) so my fitness was already adequate. I did not do anything special for the mental part of this trip either. I think when you are in the mountains you learn to adapt and be ready for any kind of situation. I went on this trip with the same kind of spirit—to be ready for every kind of situation and find a solution for every little trouble.
‘It was a total game changer. When we arrived at the Bavella peaks for some climbing, we were in a completely different mindset than if we would have driven or flown over.’
On the other hand, and looking back, I should have learnt more about handling my bike on technical terrain. We went to some places with steep and narrow trails with lots of rocks, roots and sharp turns and at first, I had no idea how to manage those. I could have also done more research into the mechanical side of things. We had a few mechanical problems and I was limited in terms of knowledge. Thankfully, I shared this trip with Léa, a cyclist, climber and long-time friend, who already knew enough things so we could always manage to keep going.
We decided to sleep either at people’s places who would have us for a night when it would rain and bivouac when the sky was clear and full of stars. Since we had Enduro Ebikes, we decided to ride light and use technical single trails. We mailed our climbing gear and only travelled on Ebikes with our bivouac gear, some clothes, toothbrush and toothpaste and an extra battery pack.
‘Sometimes it was really tough. We were soaking wet, very cold and we still had many kilometers ahead of us. But we kept our sense of humor.’
In the end, it was a total game changer. When we arrived at the Bavella peaks for some climbing, we were in a completely different mindset than if we would have driven or flown over. Travelling by Ebike brought us closer to nature and closer to people. Strangers invited us to stay at their place when it was pouring rain and we were absolutely amazed by the kindness of people along the way. Doing all these kilometers together with Léa grew our friendship and made us closer. I learnt to take everything one day at a time and to enjoy every moment of the trip.
Sometimes it was really tough. We were soaking wet, very cold and we still had many kilometers ahead of us. But we kept our sense of humor—even when we had to stop to pour the water out of our shoes.
We also experienced some pretty amazing and wonderful moments. Nothing feels as good as finally reaching a pass after struggling in the mud and steep trails. Sometimes you reach the top of a hill, the sky clears, the sun appears, everything calms down and the view is simply stunning. In those moments you’re totally in awe by how powerful and beautiful nature is—and so happy to be there to witness it.
ABOUT LIV SANSOZ
Liv Sansoz is a professional alpinist, skier and paraglider. Having climbed Mont Blanc at age 14 and won her first World Championship at 18 for sport climbing, Liv has amassed many international victories over her career. Also an avid sailor and, more recently, e-bikepacker, in 2017 she set out to climb, ski and paraglide the 82 summits above 4000m in the Alps. We caught up with Liv following one of her recent multi-sport adventures.
Published: December 2020