lundi 30 septembre 2019

Mont Valier from Col de Pause

I haven't been up Mont Valier in 5 years so a visit was long overdue. It's also a good test of my fitness in comparison to the many previous trips (over 10). Last time was my second fastest round trip from the Col de Pause (3h45 up, 4h10 down) so I was particularly pleased that this time I was quicker (3h45 up and 3h35 down).

Susie has dance classes Tuesday to Thursday so she wasn't up for a big mountain day so I went solo (with a bell tied to my rucksack so I didn't surprise any bears). I set off from the col de Pause at 7.35 and was a bit surprised that the sun hadn't come up yet. I immediately met three walkers descending but saw no-one else until the very end of the walk.

I made the Port d'Aula in 1h15 then crossed over into Spain. The weather was perfect - clear sunny but not too hot. Many, many isards including some quite large herds of 20+

Eventually I crossed back into France and then followed the ridge with some scrambling and exposure to reach Petit Valier then after a descent to the Col Faustin, Mont Valier.

Fantastic views in all directions.

After a 25 minute lunch on the summit I started my return, carefully over the tricky sections on slightly tired legs.

More isards and marmots on the return through Spain and then on the Port d'Aula 20 or so vultures made a low level flypast for an excellent photo opportunity.

On the descent form the Port d'Aula Etang de Prat Matau and Etang d'Areau were both a lurid green

vendredi 27 septembre 2019

Chaux Chanvre

Last two days spent putting chaux chanvre on the external wall of the kitchen. Would have been much easier if I'd done it before installing the central heating, but everything was rushed then.

jeudi 26 septembre 2019

Pic de Turguilla

We (Susie, Jasper and I) had a plan to go up Mont Valier, but a late night and late start put paid to that, so we headed up to Gerac again, this time to climb Pic de Turguilla. After the ladder section down through the quarry we made swift progress up past the lakes and the Cabin Turgilla to the Etang de Reglisse. From here a cairned route heads east to reach the Etang de la Croisette, then climbs more steeply before attaining a path that links the cols on either side of the mountain. We headed for the col 2426m then followed the ridge eastwards to the summit at 2527m.

The ridge to the summit

Just above the first col, Point de la Rabassere in the background

After lunch we descended northwards until we picked up the traversing path once more. At the col 2316m  we followed the ridge northwards to collect another 2 peaks the first with a large cairn and the second called Pic de la Croix des Lauzes (climbed with Ruby and Jordan about 5 years).

Etang de la Croisette

 A straightforward descent back to the car, spotting this little frog on the way.

mercredi 18 septembre 2019

Pic Seron traverse

One of Susie's old students Saskia popped in for a visit whilst on her summer break from London Contemporary Dance School. Saskia had never climbed a mountain so we took a quick afternoon traverse of Pic Seron. Ascending by the West ridge and after a late lunch on the summit descending by the North ridge. The path which is cairned on the west flank to regain the track from the Col de Cerda is now almost gone, though the cairns mostly remain. In dense cloud we lost the track and took a direct course back to Gerac across the huge boulder fields (felsenmeer). Not too difficult but slower work then we'd imagined. 

William is now ram apron no 4, having trashed early versions made from tarp and canvas, he's now on his second leather one fastened with studs to the belt!

Watching the storm clouds gathering from Joubac

mardi 10 septembre 2019

Bergerie and sheep

First snows snows of autumn on the mountains overnight.

The Bergerie is nearly complete, just the backs on the hay feeders to finish

William is sporting an apron to prevent him from mating with the ewes this autumn. He shredded the first one but the second I made more robust and it seems to be surviving. The grass is regrowing on the land we cleared on the Pla d'Artigue so something for the sheep to get their teeth into at last, plus some apples and pears which they love!

Juvenile green woodpecker on the lawn