Sue and Martin's Big Adventure
Day 15 - Monday 9 August 2004 - Stage 13
Hotel with hot bath to Refuge de Pombie
Fresh breeze for good walking, with lakes and marmots – 7.2 hours, 14 km, 1300m ascent
A decent hotel breakfast set us up for a long climb, but cloud means it is a cool one. Crossed back into
and saw marmots, including babies, at a lake beneath Pic du Midi d’Ossau. At our camp at Refuge de Pombie at over 2000
metres we saw isards, small deer, again with young. France
Diary Entry (by Martin)
Woke to sullen skies and rain in the air. Stuffed ourselves with breakfast at 8 am, after the rush of the coach party, who have to be away early on their full day. Leave Candanchu at 8.50. Now the coach party has gone, the place is dead.
But by the time we reach Col de Somport the information kiosk there is open. We ignore it and head up to Astun, another small ski resort with a couple of chairlifts working. Just past here, at 9.40, we stop to eat two delicious peaches sold to us by the nice El Bozo man. (Picture above.)
Then we move steadily up to another beautiful
del Escalar. By now I have recovered from my breakfast nosebleed and am
enjoying the cool day - at 17°C excellent for shorts and t-shirt. The ascent to
this lake was at 9 to10 metres per minute whereas earlier in the trip we were
only managing 7 to 8 metres per minute. (Suunto
Altimax watch provided this data.)
Sue changes into boots - Kate's discarded but trusty Reeboks are wearing out! There would be excellent networking at this lake.
So, on up to
Col des Moines, and border
stone 309 signals another return to . We get a day walker to take
photos of us with Pic du Midi d'Ossau in the background. Unfortunately it's
cloudy and the peak has its hat on. France
It did eventually clear, at 11.00. I ponder where all the organised HRP trips are, whereupon we meet a group of eleven French with packs who look as if they are exactly that.
Pass Lac Castérau, 11.50, and the Pic clears briefly. We have a long (12.30 to 1.30) lunch break with excellent cheese, tomatoes and baguette from (guess who?) just above Cabane Cap de Pount, with good views down the valley to the north east.
It was briefly warm and sunny. Just as well, as I spent 30 minutes on the phone, which had reception for the first time since before Arlet. So 3 days texts were sent to Kate, who claims to have the website up to 5/8 done, and a message to Jacqui in reply to hers. We are so still that family of marmots comes out to play noisily, without noticing us.
And so to a 650 metre ascent to Col de Peyreget ~ 2300 metres, which we fairly stormed up, passing a Frenchman with a white hat - he really did look English, perhaps he was pretending to be French. Stopping at Lac de Peyreget, we saw lots of marmots including some babies - I'd never seen them before. And again today, eagles soared gracefully in the cloudy skies. The route up was through meadows of spotted gentians, the first time we had seen them. We reached the col at 3.30 and descended to Pombie Hut, 1,000 feet below, by 4 pm.
|By Lac de Peyreget|
Didn't notice the sign "Aire de bivouac - 150 m" and camped illegally by the lake. We are just about hidden from the hut by a mound and hope we don't get moved on. (Been here 2 hours now.) It's been spitting with rain, but occasional sun means it's 27 degrees in here. Very cosy. But Sue keeps farting and is hot in her fleece.
15 km, 1400 metres ascent, 7.2 hours