Wednesday, January 27, 2010

2008 trip with Ellie


The August 2008 Pyrenean trip with Ellie focussed on 4 main areas:

1) We started at Torla with a 4-day clockwise hike along the GR11 to Panticosa, over the border to Pont d'Espagne in France, past the Vignemale to Gavarnie, then over the Breche Rolande, past the Refugio Goriz and down the full length of the Ordessa Canyon (again on the GR11).

2) The second area was Benasque in the rain, with one day trip out and back on the GR11 to some lakes.

3) The 3rd area was Espot, further east with a few scenic day trips.

4) The final area was much further east, based near Figueras at a Casa Rural, not far from the Mediterranean Coast. The hills here are heavily wooded with long approaches up dirt tracks.

1999 trip with Jeff

The 1999 Pyrenean trip with Jeff focussed on 3 climbing venues:

1) Ordessa Canyon, based at Torla. I nearly died on the Tozal del Mallo, which wasn't much fun. I was caught on the summit of this dramatic spire in the most horrific thunderstorm, with lightning striking the peaks opposite and getting pelted with hailstones the size of golfballs, until the entire landscape was ankle deep in fresh melting hail, with a very dangerous and exposed descent to look forward to.

2) Pic Midi d'Ossau. Picturesque location, but low quality climbing with a descent that took longer than the climb. We spent a day hiking right around the Pic Midi d'Ossau which was pleasant and enjoyable.

3) Riglos. Amazing conglomerate towers, complete with circling vultures and violent afternoon hailstorms. On our first day we had to rescue a smashed up Austrian climber covered in blood and suffering fractures to his skull and ribs, and precariously teetering on a ledge 80 metres from the ground. This was all rather traumatic and put us right off our climbing for a couple of days.

The 1999 trip ended on a bad note when I spun the hire car and crumpled it into a crash barrier on the drive to the airport.