mardi 21 août 2018

Flamisella adventure - Pic de Lleia

Sheri and Michiel had the urge to get into the hills and together with Susie and I we hatched a plan. Alun and Breezy were also game so the six of us set off from Ossese (980m) on Sunday morning bound for the Port d'Aliot.

Rather than follow the direct but vague path through the cliffs as Susie and I had done last year, I thought we'd follow the original path which crosses the river higher up the valley and cuts back under the cliffs to join the direct path higher up. A tricky river crossing got us into the upper valley and after the short steep climb to the Colette de la Portère we could see the path on the other side of the river at Fonta and also where it joined the other path high on the hillside - but in between there was nothing.

A long and very steep slog through bilberries and heather eventually got us to the path, not easy with big packs. We could now follow the red path markers to the Cabane de Bonrepos though there is no discernible path.

At Bonrepos we stopped for lunch before continuing to follow the red markers until the path crosses the ravine heading for the Cabane Marterat. Here we left the markers behind and started the 500m climb on compact rocks and scree to the Col d'Aliot (2552m). The clouds rolled, but we had occasional brief glimpses of the col above.

It was with some relief that we eventually gained the col. The wind was blowing but a few matres down on the Spanish side and we were out of the wind and in the sun.

The next task was to find somewhere to camp we checked out four lakes as we descended into Spain and decided the lowest was the best - Etang Flamisella.

The wind was blowing again but we found a relatively sheltered site for the tents and got on with dinner. Collectively we had brought a regal meal - courgette bhajis, dahl, Thai green curry, noodles, wine, chocolate and a whiskey nightcap!

Next morning Susie and I were first up and we made a tour of the lake before rejoining the others.

Breakfasted and packed, we were away by nine, heading back towards the col. We dumped our sacks a little below, then continued upward to gain the ridge 50m or so above the col.

On the ridge the French side was still patchy clouds, whilst the Spanish side was bright sunshine and we each had a brocken spectre.

The ridge is narrow without being too exposed and it was a lovely scramble to the summit of Pic de Lleia (2771m).

From the summit lovely views of Pic de Lasaugede, Montabone and Certescan cradling Lago Guerosso also called Etang Blanc.

We descended by more or less the same route to collect our bags and continue to Port de Materat. From my trip in Oct 2009 I recalled being able to get from one col to other without much difficulty and a spanish map shows a path. We somehow missed the path and ended up high above the Estany del Port staring down vertical cliffs. (In retrospect I ignored a path that seemed to be heading to the ridge just west of Pic de Marterat, but was in fact heading for a col that opens the route to the Pert de Materat).

We decided to descend to the lake and soon found an easy path through pines.

Lunch at the lake before a short climb to the Port de Materat 200m above us.

We crossed back in France, passed the Cabane de Materat and in 2 hours 30 minutes we were back at the cars. A well earned in beer in Ustou rounded off the trip.

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