Navigating the Lost in the French Maritime Alps – Ty Hathaway

Navigating the Lost in the French Maritime Alps – Ty Hathaway
Words by John Watson photos by Ty Hathaway

The French Maritime Alps are riddled with the remnants of man’s conflict of bygone eras. With the most recent being the Italian invasion of France in WWII. The Battle of France took Italian troops over these very mountains as they lay claim to Benito Mussolini’s demands for a ‘surplus population’. Or, in short, simply expanding the Italian empire.

As it goes with war, many souls are lost, leaving nothing but the roads, paths and man’s ruin…

Riding in the Maritime Alps

During this and the future battles of WWII, numerous roads, paths, tracks and trails were dug into these lands, both over passes and from below, as mine shafts breached knife-edge ridge lines and fortresses grew out from this harsh, unforgiving, yet majestic landscape.

Small towns were abandoned as new ones arose and all the while, a vast network of trails emerged in these mountains.

Decades later, the French Maritime Alps are wildly sought after by mountain bikers and hikers. Drawn to the geographic location and technical challenge, these mountains offer many challenges to even the most seasoned outdoorsmen. These challenges involve both bike control and the ability to navigate this unforgiving land. The latter being easy(ish) thanks to Sospel MTB and their trail cards. In these mountains, even modern mountain bike technology, relies on good old fashioned maps and instinct…

Tyler Morland, Ross Measures from SRAM, Ty from Golden Saddle Cyclery / Santa Cruz and Lyle from Mission Workshop / ACRE were joined by renown photographer Adrian Marcoux as they began to navigate the lost trails of the French Maritime Alps for ACRE. Meanwhile, Ty shot 35mm film with his trusty Yashica T4 camera. Found in this Gallery are a few selects…

For a more in-depth look at their journey, head over to ACRE for a selection of Adrian’s photos and words by Ross Measures. Also, don’t miss Bike Mag‘s coverage of this trip.


Follow Ty on Instagram and at his Tumblr. Oh and buy him a beer at Golden Saddle Cyclery!