vendredi 18 octobre 2013

Pic de Barlonguere

Back in France and rather than wait until the work is done before going into the mountains (which has up until now resulted in no mountains), this time I have launched straight into a trip. Pic de Barlonguere has been on my list of unclimbed mountains for too long. I was planning on ski touring the peak, but a reconnaissance trip is always a good idea.

I started early (8.30) from Pla la Lau which is a lowly 926m so I knew I was in for a big a day of 1900m or 6250ft of ascent. Despite a very steep start through the forest to gain the hanging valley of Peyrelade I made good time reaching the tree line in an hour. On the way 2 wild boar and 3 betes rouges (piglets) crossed my path just 10m away...alas I wasn't quick enough with the camera.

Once out of the trees a very strong head wind for the rest of the ascent made for hard going. I've never been in this valley before and it was interesting to cover new ground hidden in an area I know like the back of my hand.

It's a steep haul most of the way. The Etang du Tuc du Mil 200m below the summit was still frozen and full of snow despite the excellent summer. The last few hundred meters to the summit are quite exposed -
a steep narrow ledge of a path crosses the steep rock face high above the lake. 4hrs 15mins to the summit.

 Etang du Tuc du Mil

 Looking back along the path of ascent

Views from the summit were great with Pico Aneto, Pico Posets and Vignemale noticeable on the horizon. Valier also shows it true size as Barlonguere is virtually the same height.

Pico Aneto highest in the Pyrenees from the summit 

Vignemale easily visible despite being about 100km away

Valier, Petit valier and Peyre Blanc from near the summit

On the descent I watched Griffon Vultures and a pair of Bearded vultures overhead, saw marmots and an isard far away on a tiny peak.

A pair of bearded vultures or lammergeiers

An Isard...very far away

I had an idea to cross the Port de Barlonguere and return via the Etang Long and Etang Rond, but I was tired when I returned to the cabane Barlonguere for lunch, so decided to return the same way. An 8 hour trip, sore feet and a sore knee from the long steep descent, but happy.

Cabane Barlonguere

The upper valley just below Port de Barlonguere

Autumn colours come early in the mountains

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