Friday, 11 January 2013


Twice this week we have made it 'up high', determined to make the most of the glorious weather while it lasts. On both occasions, the snowshoes were left in the car, such are the conditions at the moment.... the south-facing slopes in particular are bare of snow right up to 1700m. On Monday, we headed up to Luchon and walked up to the Lac d'Espingo (1967m) via the Lac d'Oô. I regretted not taking trail shoes and microspikes as it was hard work in B2 boots! Our starting point was the Astau Valley at 1100m ....
... although the forest track soon led us up to the lake at 1500m which was bathed in sunlight. After a quick bite to eat we headed on up the twisty turny path. Lovely views back down to the Cabane at the head of the lake. 

Heading on up ...
As we got higher, we crossed 2 lots of wet slide avalanche debris on our path - thankfully the slopes had purged a few days ago and it was now safe for us to carry on!

Eventually, we could see the Col d'Espingo up ahead....

... and then 'wow'!

We were surrounded by 3000m peaks which we must come back to explore in the summer. It was simply stunning up there and surprisingly little snow - we had only needed crampons on the last section of the walk, from around 1800m. All this may change next week however when more snow is forecast at higher levels.

In the meantime, we got out again this afternoon, up to the Col des Ares which is just 20 minutes from us and headed for the Pic du Gar (1756m), this time choosing the 'fast and light' option, trail running shoes with the microspikes in the pack just in case..... much more comfortable! We were able to reach the Pic in 2 hours (6kms/1000m+), only needing to don the microspikes once we emerged from the woodland into the open. It was a stunning run out. The photos say it all.

The pooch was delighted to stumble across a deer carcass on our descent and even more delighted that we brought part of the leg back home with us as a treat!
We were back at the Col in just over an hour - what a cracking afternoon! We'll have to see what the weather brings over the coming days, but next week is not looking fantastic.