samedi 24 octobre 2020

Souclem


A visit to the mountains around the Etang Souclem,  for the first time in 25 years when Ollie and I passed through here on the HRP. We left the house at an unholy 7.00am (still dark) and after a meeting up with Sheri to car share, arrived at around 9.00am. It was 3 degrees and with a strong wind blowing down the valley bitterly cold (numb fingers in gloves).

Susie's photo looking up the valley from above the Etang de Souclem

Eventually, we started to climb out of the valley and met the sun and suddenly summer arrived and we could remove some layers. Some verglas early in the morning and fresh snow above about 2000m.

Out of the valley and into the sun

One of many stone Orri on the route

We climbed up to the Etang de Roumazet and then through deeper snow to the Etang de Soucarrane for lunch.


Susie's photo of the Etang de Soucarrane

We had intended to head up to the Col de Bouet but Sheri had had a little or no sleep the night before and Susie was keen to get back for an online gaga session with Ohad Naharin so we headed back to the valley from here.


The return

Nice to visit somewhere other than the Couserans and see plenty of possibilities for new exploration.


 

mercredi 21 octobre 2020

Föhn wind




The south wind has been blowing strongly, melting the snow, loosening the leaves, dumping Saharan dust and turning everything golden! 

Wasn't sure which of the lower 2 photos to submit for the Olympus competition "autumn glow", opted in the end for the glowing leaf. If you're an Olympus user and like the photo, please vote for it on the "my olympus" website.

samedi 17 octobre 2020

Col de Pause, Cabin d'Areau, Cour Vic


After over a week of rainy cold weather the mountains finally emerged white and snow clad on Friday. Today we were free to get out, though after Susie had a bad night's sleep, "we" was Sheri and I. Snow started at the Col de Pause and once we passed the first cabin we donned snowshoes. There were traces of 2 ski tourers who had been up Tuc de Bignau yesterday and we saw 2 more today, although they had started very late and with the heat today, the snow was sticky and heavy after about 11am. They probably summitted at 2pm so doubt their descent was fun.



Snow was peeling off Lanet Clau 

Etang d'Areau not yet frozen

Ski tourers starting the final part of the ascent to Tuc de Bignau

Lunchspot on Cour Vic...

...and the view

From our lunch spot we saw a lot of avalanches peeling off Valier and Pomebrunet opposite. Descent in increasingly sticky snow direct to the Cabane d'Areau, keeping on the left bank of the couloir (not in skiable condition).

No wildlife today except a group of kites



A pair of fox holes just below the Col between Cour Vic and Pointe de la Banque.

Cuns d'Aula
 

vendredi 9 octobre 2020

Port de Materat

Decided to snatch a good weather day in the hills...it's been a while since a good length walk! We've gotten out of practice with early starts and it was nearly 10am before we left and further traffic delays meant that it was nearly 11.00 when we set off from Ossese for the Port de Materat (2218m).



Always lovely autumn colours in the valley Ossese and after the rain and snow of the last few weeks the streams and waterfalls were in full spate too.


Boots and socks off for the river crossing below the Croix de Portère, but the water wasn't too cold.


Croix de Portère




Not much snow remaining (washed away by the rain of Tuesday and Wednesday) and only after the source de Mariole did it begin to dominate. A steep section with some landslips was too much for Susie and I gingerly pressed on to the Cabane Materat, but with the late start and weather forecast to deteriorate I didn't bother with the last 50m to the col.






The disappointment was soon erased as on the way back when we stumbled across 4 ibex, 3 adults and a kid. The ibex have recently been reintroduced into the Pyrenees and this is only the second time we've seen them.


I also saw an adder and Susie a slow worm and this frog.



A grand day out (1250m denivilée).
 

mercredi 30 septembre 2020

Mont Ceint



A stroll up Mont Ceint from the Port de Lers this morning. Great to be out in the snow and sunshine! 5 people on the summit but no-one else all day. 




During a lazy lunch we spotted vultures far below us feeding on and scrabbling over the carcass of a calf or foal which had fallen down the south face. Could just about pick them out with the telephoto lens. Times like this I wish had the new zuiko 100-400 lens!




A little Merlin soaring over the mountains.



On the way back we got stuck behind the transhumance all the way from Le Port to Massat (about an hour in the car at walking pace) no other routes to get by the farmer bring his 50 or so cattle down from the estive.