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simon3
2013-07-30 09:54:50
"From S Ordesa valley: snow, waterfall and Breche de Rolande" from simon3 Expand pics
From S Ordesa valley: snow, waterfall and Breche de Rolande (Expand pics)
A Pyrenees Trip.
The Spanish side of the Pyrenees was the venue for an eleven day walking tour starting on 8th July 2013. It was arranged for a group of Irish Ramblers by Pyrenean Group Holidays aka Malcolm and Ann and coordinated by John O’Connor, a member of the Irish Ramblers Club.
The tour took in a series of classic point to point walks in an approximately anti clockwise circle starting from Gavarnie in France and ending in Bagnères de Luchon also in France. However most of the walking was in Spain. Many of the routes used were local classics however our guide also took us via seldom used routes, almost experimental at times.
Weather hugely affected this tour. When Ireland got heavy rain this winter the Pyrenees got huge amounts of snow that lingered on the high ground. Around Tues 18th June there were disastrous floods on both sides of the border in the high Pyrenees. To the locals this brought disastrous flooding, property destroyed and evacuations. (See http://elpais.com/elpais/2013/06/18/inenglish/1371580872_854896.html ) To us as visitors three weeks later it brought sights of destroyed roads, bridges, buildings with changes to daily routes and destinations and even an unplanned river crossing. We weren’t able to go over some cols because of snow and we could not use some accommodation because of closures. We were hugely grateful for having arranged the trip through a flexible local company. The only silver linings were that there were few other tourists competing for resources and plenty of anxious to please hotel owners.
The complete tour is recorded as a series of GPS tracks on the site. (Search for Pyrenees 2013 in mountainviews.ie/track/report/). As well as the GPS tracks and statistics there are comments on the magnificent flowers (Asphodels look like giant bog cotton from a distance), the panoramas, the day we got caught out on a snowfield at 2600m in sudden lightning and thunder. A few of the tracks show odd distortions such as sudden apparent changes of position. These occurred mainly when the GPS was struggling to find position in canyons – in time we will endeavour to find ways of filtering out such aberrations which are less common in Ireland.
The experience of walking some eleven days out of thirteen albeit ending each day in good accommodation is tough but exhilarating if a bit lacking in cultural context. Every day brings different sorts of views. Sometimes the formal granite landscape of the Posets, sometimes calcareous uplands with crazy cliffs such as at Ordesa, sometimes riotous flower shows, sometimes long stretches in the semi-managed woods. Mostly the walking is necessarily on existing paths such as the GR 11 and other local tracks so in that respect it is easier than typical walking in Ireland with its bogs, cold, winds and rain. For the record we walked around 190km, climbed 8850m, averaging 18.2km/ day with 804m climbing.
For much of the time that we were there the weather had a daily pattern. Bright blues skies from sunrise until around ten or eleven followed by gradually increasing cloud and finally thunderstorms with hail, rain and lightning around 16:00.
Much of the walking is in national parks. The Spanish ones were somewhat more restrictive with little camping, no hang-gliding, MTB etc little in fact other than walking. This suited us though the occasional outburst of excessive restrictive signage was off-putting. In contrast on the French side and not in a park near Bagnères de Luchon there were ski-lifts, paragliding and conventional gliders. The MTB fraternity (VTT) used the ski-lifts to do the heavy work before what must be an exciting 1200m descent. Youth is wasted on the young.
River crossing.
In avoiding a frozen pass we came down on a little used path above Es Bòrdes. We were relieved to have found a route at all during a descent through trees since although shown on some maps the path must have been 100 years in decay. Just when we thought we were in the clear we reached the bottom and found the river had changed course slicing through a short stretch of road leading to civilisation. We forded it. You can read all about it at http://mountainviews.ie/track/2250/
Two years ago I wr.. by wicklore   (Show all posts)


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Summit Comment
Knockowen: October 2016
davsheen 4 days ago.
View of the impressive Glanrastel valley from the side of Knockowen

  
Summit Comment
Cloghernagh: Picture
davsheen 4 days ago.
Cloghernagh Walk Nov 2016

  
Summit Summary
Robber's Pass Hill: Minor heathery lump. Overcivilised and underwhelming.
Collaborative entry Last edit by: simon3 a week ago.
This oddly named hill is more a very minor heathery bump incorporated into the system of tracks laid out by the Wicklow Mountains National Park. It can be reached from any of the western car-parks...

Summit Comment
Cupidstown Hill: Enhance this with a visit to Oughterard
Bunsen7 3 days ago.
Yes, perhaps this is not a very noteworthy hill. Cupidstown and Saggart Hill represent largely forest topped outliers of the Dublin/Wicklow range split from higher summits to the East by the N81. ...

  
Track
Route to Claggan NE Top
Onzy 5 days ago.
walk, Len: 8.0km, Climb: 2m, Area: Claggan Mountain NE Top, North Mayo (Ireland...

  
Track
Near South Cork (Ireland)
sean_debarra 4 days ago.
walk, Len: 0.8km, Climb: 15m, Area: South Cork (Ireland)

Summit Comment
Farbreague: from Arderin
ewen a week ago.
Walked to Farbreague from Arderin. There is a track that some kind soul has marked with sticks and ribbon. When I say track, it is really a worn down trough in the bog.The multicoloured pipe at th...

  
Track
Slievemore Circuit
Onzy 5 days ago.
Route over Slievemore descending over rough grouns to the SE for variety. walk, Len: 8.1km, Climb: 639m, Area: Slievemore, Achill/Corraun (Ireland) Sliev...

  
Summit Comment
Tonelagee: Fore!!!
ewen a week ago.
Did from the Wicklow gap car park following track 2378.This starts immediately opposite the top entrance to the car park next to the main road. 5 days before there had been snow but now the path w...

Summit Comment
Brandon Hill: Grand on Brandon!
MountainBoy a week ago.
Me and my Dad climbed this from the farm track off the Graiguenamanagh-Instioge road on 26/11/16. Right after we got out of the car, we were faced with the dilemma of whether to go straight ahead ...

  
Track
Knockchree
David-Guenot 2 weeks ago.
An easy one to bag, but a gate/fence to cross at the top and some cows in the field (hopefully no bull), so it may be ... walk, Len: 3.6km, Climb: 127m, Area: Knockchree, Mourne Mountains (Ireland) K

  
Summit Comment
Croaghmoyle: Easy walk up to great views
Fergal Meath a week ago.
Low lying cloud/mist/fog discouraged me from putting the effort into going up Nephin today. On the way home I parked at the start of the Croaghmoyle service road and followed it past a wind turbin...


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