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- 10 september 2009 -
Exploring a shortcut to bm313

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(click to open in Google Earth or copy link to Google Maps;
click right on this link to download gpx-version

Part of a 5-days trip from Col de Somport to Cauterets, exploring bm305 to bm314. Day 4: from Port de la Peyre St. Martin to near Refuge Wallon, exploring in between a short-cut to Port de Marcadau with bm313.

For explanation of the gps-coordinates and other cartographic backgrounds:
see my cartography page

According to my watch:
Duration: 8.30-18.45,  in total 10.15 hours, break 1.15 hours

According to my gps:
- walking: 6.43
- standing stil: 3.34
- in total: 10.17
- distance: 20.4 km
- average speed while walking: 3,0 km/h

According to visugpx
- distance : 17.85 km
- cum. elevation gain : 1295 m
- cum. elevation loss : 1661 m
- total elevation:  2956

- altitude maxi : 2665 m
- altitude mini : 1937 m
- altitude average : 2296 m
It's been a cold night, ice on the tent.  Bright stars, a clear half-moon.


Descending back to the grass near the lake and walking to that distinct rounded hill.

Near the hill, there are signs pointing to Col de la Fache.
And that's a long and nice climb.

Finally, I arrive at this lake, just underneath the Col de la Fache.

From bm312 to this Col takes  about 2 hours.
From the Col looking back, in the distance  the  reservoir of
Embalso de Respumoso.
While descending, I look carefully if there's a shortcut possible along the two tiny lakes at the right to Port de Marcadau.
It seems not and I descend further along the trail to Refuge de Wallon.

Later that day, I will discover that shortcut.

Move the cursor over the picture to see trails etc.
Descending untill a little bridge, 15 minutes left from the Refuge.

Descending is not my cup of tea: from Col to Refuge  takes 1 hours according to a sign. It took me to that bridge 2 hours.
Time for a break.

On this picture: while descending the  Refuge Wallon visible in the valley.

After the break I climb to Port du Marcadau on a well waymarked and fine trail.

When approaching the Port and curving into the last 'cirque'  to the pass (which is not the final pass but a lower one before, as I will discover later), I spot to the right a trail branching off the main trail.  A shortcut to Col de la Fache, I presume.

At first the trail climbs and then continues on a sort of hillridge parallel to the mountain-ridge in NW-direction, sufficiently  waymarked by cairns.
Then the trail descends along a rock-face and I loose the cairns in a large rock-slide.

This picture: apparently the spot where the shortcut starts but I'm not sure.

But I see to the right down below a lake I've seen before when I descended from Col de la Fache.
That means I'm right.

I find my way (without a trail or cairns) to the path coming from Col de la Fache. From there I have an overview how this short-cut can be.

Hereunder: my description of the shortcut.

- coming from Col de la Fache you'll reach a grassy part after the rocky descent. To the right you'll see a lake below. A bit further, the trail passes left along a hillock
- now leave the trail to the right, going right along that hill and descend along a little stream (streaming to the lake) untill about halfway that stream.
-then you are more or less at the same level as the diagonal passage along that rockface. Now head to that passage, passing some rock-slides and climb that passage

Move the cursor over the picture to see trails etc.
This is that hillock, mentioned above. The main trail - to Refuge Wallon - goes left along this hillock.
So: at this point you should leave the path to the right.

Move the cursor over the picture to see trails etc.
Back to the description:
- after that diagonal passage, pick up the cairns-trail which will lead you to the trail to Port de Marcadau
- this shortcut between the two trails takes approximately hour
-start and end of this shortcut are on the IGN-25k maps.

I return to the trail to Port de Marcadau - content with finding this shortcut - and climb to the Port.
From Col de la Fache to Port de Marcadau is 1 hour.

Bm313, looking into Spain
Bm313, looking into France
Bm313 from some distance (the rockpile at the left)
Meanwhile, it's 5.15pm and in 1 hour I descend to 
this camping-spot, about 15 minutes from Refuge Wallon.

Camp: N42 48 56.8 W0 12 16.0 H1932m
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