The bordermarkers of the Pyrenees : all my trips
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- thursday 23 august 2018 -
Hard trip: redoing bm408-IV to 406

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Summary: one of 8 solo daytrips in the Pyrenees, in the area of Haute-Garonne near Bagnères-de-Luchon, in order to redo the bordermarker-range no. 331 to 417.

Today: climbing to cabane des Réchets, then via bm408 IV-I to bm408 and then along the borderridge from bm407 to 406, descending back on the GR10-trail. Much longer trip than expected.


Weather: in general fine

track-20180823.kml
(click to open this trip in Google Earth or copy link to Google Maps; click right on this link to download gpx-version). The gps-track has not been manually  corrected which explains the inaccuracy and misalignment at some points. For cartographic backgrounds: see the cartography-page

Gps-waypoints of all bordermarkers (most recent version):
kml:  esfr-bordermarkers-all-waypoints.kml
gpx:  esfr-bordermarkers-all-waypoints.gpx
According to Garmin Basecamp:

Distance: 22,5 km
Max-height: 2156m
Min-height: 537m
Elevation: +2597m -2597m
Total elevation: 5194m

Start 8:32  Finish 20:39
Total time: 12:07


Another climb up to Cabane des Réchets - done many times before - taking ± 1,5 hours.

This picture: in the beginning, passing under the high-voltage line.


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Last year I heard from Michel Molia the story behind this cross. 

A couple passed on this point, finding a coat or so from someone. While trying to hang it more visible on a tree branch, one of them leaned too far and fell to his or her death.


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Looking back to Fos.


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Part of the trail, showing that in the old days it was a much used and thus maintained and ameliorated trail.

Nowadays the trail gets overgrown in this part (the bend to Col Carrech) with fern in summertime.


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From about Col Carrech this view to the ridge to the south-west.


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Another view to that same ridge. See this page for more information on the undivided terrain of Bidaubus.


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Zoom-in to the approximate spot where the Ruisseau du Terme merges with the Garonne.


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Continuing in the beech forest.


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Arriving at cabane des Réchets, a fine cabane with a splendid view.


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This watertrunk is empty, the hose having become disfunctional since a few years.

But no problem, there is a stream cq source about 200m to the SW-SWW.


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The tidy cabane from the inside.


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I continue in the direction of bm408IV and come - after ± 150 SW - across this tiny stream.

I follow it upstream - waypointing it in my gps -


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and end up at this source of the stream which is 200m SWW of the cabane.


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I climb through the forest in the direction of bm408IV, it's a steep hillside to climb.

But there is vague trail here - found before on other trips - with the bended tree-trunk which you need to pass underneath.


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Having arrived at the tilted 'plateau' where bm408IV is to be found higher on.

Below bm408IV starts at a source a tiny stream which


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disappears in the deep beyond this edge as a sort of cascade.

The question is if this stream has a continuation at the bottom of this cliff.

It doesn't matter anymore in the bm408-submarkers discussion but I'm curious. Reason enough for a next visit next year.


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I climb towards bm408IV


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which is (zoom-in) behind this tree.


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It was found last year by Xabi Molia, the son of Michel Molia in an epic trip on 31 may 2018 to find the lost bm408III and 408IV.


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I'm back for new and better pictures.


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Bm408IV


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Bm408IV


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Then I climb to bm408III


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which is at the north-side  of a field of fern covering the lower part of the small stream which starts at bm408I.


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Bm408I


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Bm408I


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Bm408I


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Bm408I


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That stream is only - now in august - runnig in the upper part.


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I climb towards bm408II, the slope is rapidly getting steeper.


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Bm408II (zoom-in)


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Bm408II


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Bm408II


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Bm408II


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Bm408II


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I continue climbing uphill which becomes even more difficult on this very steep hillside.

Be careful, better not to be alone.


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Finally I reach the upper part where it gets less steep, to my relief.

That's where - at the beginning of the cascade-like stream - I  find


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Bm408I


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Bm408I


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Bm408I


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Bm408I


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Bm408I


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At this edge of the 'precipice', there is a sort of trail going south. I suppose it's a game trail.


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Then (from bm408I) climbing up - less steep - finding my way around rocky steep parts in the direction of bm408


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and in this case with a bend arriving SE of bm408.

From bm408I it's better to start climbing early, in fact before a steep rockface cq outcrop.


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Bm408 (zoom-in)


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Bm408


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Bm408


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Bm408


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Bm408

This pictures shows what is the best way to descend to bm408I downhill.


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So: about 15-20m to the north of bm408 a descent is more easy.


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Climbing from bm408 to the ridge, looking back.


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Having arrived at the ridge with to the NW Pic de Sacaube.


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Lookin the other way. I skip a search for the Bidaubus cross A downhill to the SE because of the undergrowth this time of the year.


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Instead I continue uphill towards Pic de Sacaube. The fern makes walking tough.

Although the distance to bm406 is ± 3km as the crow flies, it will take me 3 hours.

This picture: looking back with the route to take to get to bm408.


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Arriving at bm407


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Bm407


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Bm407


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Bm407 but now the former marker, built in the 1860-ies.

The new bm407 was constructed in the 1950-ies when all former markers (most of them having disappeard completely long before) from bm333 to 417 where replaced.


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There are a few other remnants left along the ridge between bm376 and 406 but this is by far the best preserved old marker.


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This is drawing of Robert Darrieumerlou of a picture by Jean Sermet from 1960 showing the Spanish weapon which was then still present.

It represents the 'collier de la Toison d'Or' with a ram hanging from a gold collar.

This drawing is to be found on Robert's extensive website on this page.
Bm407


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I head towards Pic de Sacaube.


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At the ridge there is a sort of trail.


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Getting along the ridge, clouds are drifting in.


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Having arrived at the Pic itself with a view of the steep descent to tackle.


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A wider perspective: the field in the depth to the right is where I will pass after descending from the Col d'Esclot d'Aou.

But that is still a long and tough way to go.


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I descend at the south side of the ridge, that seems the most safe route.

This picture: having descended and looking back uphill.


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About the same view. It seems that a more straightforward climbing is possible.


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But now the Pic in a more comprehensive view. I drew 3 possible routes to climb the Pic but I took the right one (south side)


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Getting along the ridge, sometimes descending a bit when the ridge get too sharp.


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The ridge gets flatter and the Col de Sacaube comes in sight


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with a herd of cows peacefully resting.


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To circumvent the next rocky part of the ridge, I descend and eventually take a route more south than needed. I should have sticked more to the ridge.

This picture: looking back.


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It means that I descend to much and have to climb again towards the ridge


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and to the hilltop with bm406


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Bm406

I haven't had a coffeebreak so far (and lost my hartkeks-crackers) but it's already 16:30. I decide to continue.


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From bm406, I descend along the ridge to the west towards Col d'Esclot d'Aou


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and joining the GR10.


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This is a bit further than Col d'Esclot d'Aou and that's where the GR10 descends.

It will take me 3,5 hours to descend to the the valley.


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Wayfinding gets easy now: just following the GR10-waymarks.


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It has gotten foggy


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with sometimes better views.


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This is a view (I think) of Col de Sacaube


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which seems steeper on this zoom-in than in reality.


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These are the Cabanes des Courraux, one of them is a hiker's cabin.


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I enter the forest


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and traverse a meadow with cabane d'Artigue


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with a basic interior. I can't remember seeing a source or stream nearby or any sign pointing to it.

So: if this is your planned overnight accomodation, then look out for any source or stream when descending from Col d'Esclot d'Aou.


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I end up at his gate


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and will arrive at this mountain road.

Soon I will be surprised: the GR10 takes another route than years before. Instead of a direct and steep descent along the ruisseau de Palarquère to the bottom,


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it descends east of the ruisseau in countless and effortless lacelets down a beautiful beech-forest hillside


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with in the lower part remnants of walls


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and barns.


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Finally I arrive at the bottom of the valley,


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the trail ending here it seems. But I missed a sidetrack a little before


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which brings you more gentlyto the road, a bit south of the concrete gully


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and well at his point.


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The last part is even more easy: along the canal,


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going straight along where the GR10 turns left (to the village of Fos).

That straight continuation is also the main route of the GRPdesBF.


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I spot yellow waymarks here


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and there which means that this road is not forbidden for walkers.


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At the end of the canal, continue along the dirtroad


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passing along an old barn and behind it the high voltage line from the very first photo of today.


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Beyond the barn is where the trail starts to Cabane des Réchets.

At this point the alternative route along bm406-408IV will join again with the main route of the GRPdesBF.


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Back at my car and 21:00 at the camping.

It has been 12 hours of walking and I'm tired and content. Although having entered my sixties, I can still manage such intensive and long hikes. But it seems that I'm getting more scared at steep and risky parts.

Tomorrow will be a resting day.


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