21 May: Canigou now accessible without crampons

May 21st, 2017
 
Canigou as seen from above Ria, where I was walking today. The snow on the western face is clearly visible, as is the ridge which runs from the Porteille to the summit.

Canigou as seen from above Ria, where I was walking today. The snow on the western face is clearly visible, as is the ridge which runs from the Porteille to the summit.

Information from the Facebook page of the Cortalets Refuge updated by Thomas Dulac, the manager of the refuge, who climbed up to the summit today Sunday 21 May 2017.

From the Cortalets, no snow until you get to the fontaine de la Perdrix but the west side of the peak (Vernet)  is covered in snow. It is possible to climb the ridge which goes  directly from the Porteille to the summit (easy rock climbing) with classic mountain walking boots.

It is also appears to be possible to climb to the summit from the Cortalets via the Barbet, Porteille de Valmanya and the Cheminée, without crampons (not checked).

From Mariailles, no need for crampons (no snow on the Cheminéee).

Pic des Sept Hommes (Canigou massif)

April 20th, 2017
 
Unmanned hut (refuge forestier) at Mariailles

Unmanned hut (refuge forestier) at Mariailles

 

When I stayed at the unmanned Pla Guilhem hostel last year, I said to myself I would come back when the vast plateau was covered in snow. Yesterday I was there again. Read the rest of this entry »

Dog and lamb

April 11th, 2017
 
Jazz, patou by trade, and a very young lamb

Jazz, patou by trade, and a very young lamb

Normally dogs need to be kept away from lambs. But here guard dogs, known as patous, are brought up with the flock. They think of themselves as sheep and will defend the flock from intruders.

Bears and the Pyrenees, the official report for 2016

April 4th, 2017
 
Goiat, released in Catalonia in 2016

Goiat, released in Catalonia in 2016

The DREAL, the government agency responsible for sustainable development, has just published its annual report on the reintroduction of bears in the Pyrenees. As in previous years the main problems are concentrated in Ariège, Haute-Garonne and Hautes-Pyrénées, principally in Ariège. Read the rest of this entry »

GR10 still snowbound

April 3rd, 2017
 

If you are thinking of walking the GR10 at the end of Spring, beware! Yesterday (2 April) 40cm of snow fell on the La-Pierre-St-Martin ski resort and Gourette was only accessible for those with snow chains. This is unusually late so snow will probably persist on the high passes well into June.

Circular walk on Cap Béar

January 8th, 2017
 
Topo de randonnée du Cap Béar

The circuit – 14km, 650m ascent

Port Vendres is at the very end of the Pyrenees. Walkers on the GR10 normally dip their feet in the Mediterranean at Banyuls but Cap Béar just to the north is worth a visit. Read the rest of this entry »

Bearded vulture returns to the French Pyrenees

December 17th, 2016
 

Bearded vultures (Gypaetus barbatus, also known as the lammergeier vulture) are coming back to France helped by an initiative of the Ligue pour la protection des oiseaux (LPO, the French equivalent of the RSPB). Read the rest of this entry »

If your feet ache, walk on your hands

December 7th, 2016
 

source : wikipediaI have just relearnt how to walk at the age of 62.

Recently, I was struggling to keep up with a friend striding down a hill; when I looked carefully I realised she was walking differently. It’s Trekking 2.0, she explained. It was new to me, and to judge by what I saw in the Pyrenees this summer, will be new to many people. I learnt the technique in a couple of hours and practised it over the following weeks. As a result I no longer have problems with my knees. 800km of testing seems pretty conclusive to me. Read the rest of this entry »

Trekking 2.0: or how technology has revolutionised walking

November 13th, 2016
 
On the moon, treading lightly: Buzz Aldrin sets a good example

On the moon, treading lightly: Buzz Aldrin sets a good example

 

I’ve only just noticed. Trekking – hiking, rambling, walking, call it what you will – has been changing over the last few years. An accumulation of little things, which together add up to a quiet revolution: Trekking 2.0.

Yet Trekking 2.0 is not just about electronic gadgetry. It includes what we wear, what we carry, and even what we do with and to our bodies. Read the rest of this entry »

Diversions on the GR 10 near Superbagnères and Le Perthus

November 7th, 2016
 
Diversion of the GR 10 west of Superbagnères

Diversion of the GR 10 west of Superbagnères

 

Coming back home for a rest from the exertions of the Pyrenean Haute Route (HRP), via a leg of the GR10, I got lost. Despite a big, clearly labelled arrow, I walked round in a circle. From the Col de la Coume de Bourg (2271m) to Superbagnères, instead of skirting along the hillside, the route now drops into the valley and then climbs out again on a freshly-made path.

 

Diversion of the GR 10 east of Le Perthus

Diversion of the GR 10 east of Le Perthus

 

A rather older diversion further east is also worth noting. Immediately after passing under the motorway at Le Perthus the GR 10 now climbs back into the forest (passing absent-mindedly into Spain) before re-joining St-Martin-d’Albère. A great improvement: previously it followed the road for many kilometres.

map of GR10

 
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