The ladders of death (sic)
WHY NOT DO IT
ENGLISH TRANSLATION BY DAVID WINCH
I am proposing a few small hikes of varying degrees of difficulty, to let you see new things, get some fresh air and relax a bit. Don’t forget: doing nothing is bad for your health. Here’s hoping you have fun hiking in pleasant and sunny weather.
Take the A1 autoroute to Lausanne, then the A5 towards Yverdon and Neuchâtel. In the tunnel take exit 12 toward La Chaux de Fonds. Pass through Chaux de Fonds and head toward Belfort. Once at Biaufond, cross the bridge (border); there is parking at Biaufond (609 metres), the starting-point. Head toward Le Refrain; Les Echelles de la Mort (the Scales of Death, sic) are found by taking a yellow and blue marked path along the Doubs river on its left bank. At Le Refrain, you can cross the dam. Go toward Les Echelles and walk 100 metres on asphalt. Take a small road that descends steeply to the right marked with red and white (warning: very poorly marked both on the trail and in the book that I recommend below). It continues along the river in a forest where the soil and trees are covered with moss.
You leave via a paved road and continue straight on for 10 minutes to arrive at a large square: Le Refrain. Follow the path of Les Echelles de la Mort for 10 minutes (the overhead ladders you see at first are not the ones you will take, but that of the via ferrata). Climb the ladders to reach a lookout.
Return via the same route, for a total of 12 km in 3 hours and 230 vertical meters. Other variants are possible.
The so-called Scales of Death are actually stairs that are very easy to climb, but not recommended for people who suffer from vertigo.
For more details, see: Guide des Randonnées, Jura Suisse, EditionRother.
Also: an official map (1:50000) from the Swiss hiking federation (Office fédéral de topographie) 232 Vallon de St. Imier, is indispensable
Don’t forget to wear good hiking boots and weather-suitable clothing.