lundi 9 novembre 2015

Mountains and digging

The beautiful weather continues with temperatures peaking at 29 degrees in the afternoon. A trip to the mountains was in order!

As is often the case when I plan a day off, I overslept! I had planned to climbed Mail de Bulard by the North ridge but as I didn't wake up until 8.00 I needed a plan B. I headed for Pla de Lau (the starting point for Mont Valier) and left the car at 9.40. Mont Valier wasn't my objective though, instead I headed on GR10 climbing towards Tuc du Coucou. I stormed passed several walkers and one lady said "vous avez un moteur?", "oui, mon coeur" I replied. I had the bit between my teeth!

A little before Tuc du Coucou I turned left heading for Port de l'Esque. It was hot and so wanting a little breeze I left the path and climbed by a steep gulley to gain the ridge just after Cap de Raspe. Spooking some Isards on the way.

There was a light breeze and a fantastic view of the wall formed by Pic d'Orle, Pic des Cingles and Mail de Bulard.

I followed the ridge Southwards and at Pale des Aigles, a vulture flew overhead!

Continuing on the ridge over Tuc de Portillou (2427m) with great views towards Mont Valier.

Ahead, Pic de Barlonguere and Pic de Cornave were still holding snow.

The air was clear, the sun warm and views impressive!

After Tuc de Portillou the ridge becomes increasingly narrow and exposed, and the section before Port de Cornave requires great care as the exposure is great and the rock poor! Did I really solo this in winter with a big pack after climbing the Couloir de Cornave 14 years or so ago?

Looking back along the ridge towards Tuc de Portillou

The the port I descended directly to Cabane de Trinque, and from there followed the path which descends via Peyrelade to Pla de Lau. The steep path through the woods was treacherous as the path was buried under about a foot of dry beech leaves. The leaves masked roots, rocks, holds and were also very slippery - not great for aching legs and knees. 6 hours for the trip and only 1500m of height gain, but enough after the strenuous last few days.

Today I've been digging out the barn floor, there's 15-20cm of stiff clay and rocks to dig out. 8 hours of digging today and I'm only about 70% of the way through! A visit from Ian broke the day.

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