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| | |-+  Samedi Mai 16, Puigmal, Pyrenees
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Author Topic: Samedi Mai 16, Puigmal, Pyrenees  (Read 1849 times)
James Wells

Posts: 488

Samedi Mai 16, Puigmal, Pyrenees
« on: 05/19/09, 06:46 AM »

From building sand castles along the Costa Maresme to the snow capped Pyrenees in a few hours drive, who would have thought. 

I asked my sister, who lives in Barcelona, if she knew any BC skiers, and sure enough her friend Xavier, whom she had met going up Kilimanjaro, was an enthusiast, so I threw my beacon, AT boots and some other items into the luggage.

Xavier was eyeballing a try on Aneto, the highest mountain in the Pyrenees, but the weather was bad all week, so we ended up with part of Saturday left and some good weather.  On Friday Xavier helped me get fixed up with some gear at a really awesome shop VERTIC in the area, then picked me up at 5 AM in Saint Cugat and we headed inland for an hour and a half, past dark outlines of mountains, through a 5 km tunnel, and emergend into a valley surrounded by snowy mountains.  The snow line appeared to be about 2000 meters on north aspects, which was good news because the trailhead at Puigmal was at 2100 meters.

After driving into France (no real border any more) and out of town up into the hills, we got to the base of the recently closed ski area at 7.  Sure enough, the snow started a few yards up the road so after a very short carry and a stream crossing, we were skinning on nice hard snow, just slightly icy.  We were joined by Jordie, who we met in the parking lot and went with us most of the way up.

The climb was 850 meters to an altitude of about 2950 meters (about 9000 feet).  Glorious views were had all around, then a fun and easy descent on softening snow, we had timed it just right.

After a quick shower at Xavier's ski place in the valley, we headed back, now in daylight and able to see all the great scenery.

A great way to get May turns, and it shows that there is always a good trip going if you remember to ask around.

« Last Edit: 05/20/09, 10:10 AM by Travertine » Logged

Posts: 926

Re: Samedi Mai 16, Puigmal, Pyrenees
« Reply #1 on: 05/20/09, 07:49 PM »

Nice work!  I'd love to ski in the Pyrenees or Dolomites.  Good climbing out there too.  Any caves?

"The mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are the cathedrals; the houses where I practice my religion." - Anatoli Boukreev

Posts: 266

Re: Samedi Mai 16, Puigmal, Pyrenees
« Reply #2 on: 05/20/09, 10:13 PM »

>>Any caves?<<

I recall hearing that after Paris was sacked by the Nazis, France moved it's military aircraft poduction into caves in the Pyranees.

Good hiking, fun hamlets, watch for lightning in the afternoon. 
James Wells

Posts: 488

Re: Samedi Mai 16, Puigmal, Pyrenees
« Reply #3 on: 05/21/09, 01:00 PM »

The Pyrenees have some of the great caves of the world, including Gouffre Berger, the first cave ever to go 1 km deep.  I had to choose one or the other; I chose skiing.  Perhaps both next time.
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