We lost the trees a few miles and about a thousand meters ago, the tough, battle-weary grass losing its quiet war with the terrain not long after. Now it’s just lichen and rocks, the top of this mountain a bare tooth in the jaw of the world, biting into the clouds. Those clouds are dragged low, wreathing the view in soft crowns of fluff, blurring the edges of the landscape.
This far up, there are no birds, and the shy marmots we saw earlier—podgy little mountaineering beavers that they are—don’t bother with these elevations, mainly because there’s nothing to eat but gravel, and you can’t survive winter on the fat of pretty vistas.
It’s quiet. And it remains so as I crawl the car up past the official ‘top’ of the Col de Sommeiller at 2,993 meters above sea level, and drive it up what can only be described as a convenient hump through a gap in the fence. It’s at this point that we breach the magic 3,000 meters, and become a legend in our own lunchtime: We have just driven up the highest drivable pass in Europe. And we’ve done it in a pure electric car.