Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Los Pireneos 2010 – Part 6

5 Jan 10 – 2300 Local
Location: Mountain Hut outside of Gavarnie

Sabinanigo was not great, to say the most. We couldn’t find wifi anywhere, the locals were shifty and the bus schedule did not favour us. We ended up just walking around the industrial district looking for a place to stay. Eventually, we found an abandoned barn, on the outskirts of town, to sleep in. We took our ice axes off our bags that night, just in case anyone barged in on us.

Figure 1: Glamorous accommodations in Sabinanigo.

Figure 2: An interior shot.

The next morning, we caught the bus at 1100hrs to Torla. Torla was a very, very, small town. We bought some bread and tried to hitch a ride. After an hour and a half we gave up and started walking. After about 500m, a couple stopped and picked us up. They were very nice and took us to the Bujaruelo trailhead. From there, we walked the 8km to Bujaruelo. The refuge was really nice and it had a great view. Unfortunately, we couldn’t admire it for long because we had to get to France. We walked hard for a few more hours and eventually made it to an old cattle shed. It reeked of manure, but had a fireplace and was shelter from the winds.

Figure 3: Walking towards Bujaruelo.

After a night in the manure dump, we started our push into France. It was slow and hard moving through the pass. Intermittent storms kept visibility minimal and the slopes were steep and prime for avalanches. After a morning of skittering across the tops of cliffs, we made it to the pass and proceeded into France. We quickly descended into the valley and headed towards Gavarnie. Along the way, we saw the Cirque de Gavarnie, which has the best ice climbing in Europe. It was quite beautiful.

Figure 4: Climbing towards France.

Figure 5: Still climbing towards France.

Figure 6: Looking into France.

Figure 7: Cirque de Gavarnie.

We finally arrived in Gavarnie that afternoon. It was a ghost town. It was too early in the ski season to be bustling the way our research indicated. So, we bought a really expensive sandwich, dried our socks and started back into the mountains. We walked about 8km this afternoon and arrived at a mountain hut in the pitch darkness of night.

Figure 8: Drying out and eating in Gavarnie.

Figure 9: En route to Vignemale.

Figure 10: Vignemale approach.

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