samedi 12 juin 2010

Pic de Soune, Pic de Coulliac and Pointe de Rabassere

The weather forecast doesn't look great for next week, so Ben and I (plus Ben's friend Rob from Australia who was visiting) decided to grab a day in the mountains despite a dodgy forecast for the afternoon.

We set out from Gérac above Guzet with the plan of traversing numerous peaks before tackling the ENE ridge of Pic de Certescans. There's some easy rock climbing and a 15m abseil so I brought a half rope.

After crossing the outfall of Etang de la Piède and climbing the Pointe de la Hillette we descended to intersect the path leading from the Etang de Hillette to the Port de Couillac. With plenty of snow above the Etang de Hillette we decided to make a long rising traverse in crampons leading directly to the col to the east of Pic de Soune (2555m). There was a dusting of fresh snow above 2400m. We ascended the peak then descended on the far side to just beyond the col where things start to get exposed.
Ben descending to the col after Pic de Soune, Pic de Certescan
is on the skyline to the left, Pic de Montabone to the right

Rob wasn't happy with the terrain/exposure and with the summit of Pic de Certescans in and out of rainy cloud we decided to make a plan B.

We reversed our route over Pic de Soune then continued on the frontier ridge over numerous peaks to Pic de Couillac (2601m) with great views to the Lac de Certescans below us in Spain and still frozen.
Lac de Certescans

After lunch at the Port de Couillac we continued steeply up Pointe de Rabassere (2568m) before descending the NW ridge to the col at 2291m where we were engulfed in the low cloud and deteriorating weather.

Pointe de Rabassere, we ascended the ridge on the right then descended
the ridge on the left to reach the col on the far left of the picture

Rob descending from the col at 2291m

Another descent on névés lead eventually to the Etang de Réglisse, from which we soon reached the Cabane Turguilla and from there followed the normal route past the lakes and up the short via ferrata to Gérac once more.

Etang de Réglisse

A long day - 8 1/2 hours of walking and over 1800m (6000ft) of ascent. With the heavier than normal pack and this the first full mountain day of the summer, I was feeling it in my legs by the end of the day.

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