The bordermarkers of the Pyrenees : all my trips
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- 26 august 2010 -
Finding shortcuts

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Summary: part of a 11-days backpacking trip from Cauterets to Loudenvielle ‘doing” bm315 to bm330. Day 2: a tough day from bm415 to bm418, tiring descending and climbing in the afternoon.

Weather: a warm day, at the end it gets very windy, the sun disappearing behind the clouds.
For explanation of the gps-coordinates and other cartographic backgrounds:
see my cartography page

Start: 8.30, break: 13.45-15.00, finish: 19.15, net walking time: 9,.30h
According to the gp-tripteller:
Distance: 17 km
Time moved: 6.34h
Time standing still: 4.12h
In total: 10.46h
Total ascent: 1585m
Maximum height: 2448m

According to visugpx
- distance : 16.73 km
- cum. elevation gain : 1363 m
- cum. elevation loss : 1391 m
- total elevation:  2754

- altitude maxi : 2434 m
- altitude mini : 1625 m
- altitude average : 2135 m
Climbing from my camping-spot, it’s not so obvious where to go. Close mapreading gives the clue: there are two half-bowl shaped steep valleys with in the middle a grassy ridge which leads to the Port de Pla d’Aube.

There, on the south-side of the pass, is bm315 (the numbers are in  mirror writing).
I descend on the French side and try a shortcut to bm316. That’s easy: follow the slope to the right to a sort of hill-ridge with a kind of pass in the middle.

Move the mouse over the picture to see my (approximate) route.
After the pass you’ll reach a lake (Lac du Cardal). From that lake, head to the right.

A path (with cairns) appears parallel to a mountain-ridge at your right hand (on this picture on the right).
to bm316 (Col du Cardal)..

Again: in mirror writing
Descending back and trying another short-cut: well before the lake, bend to the right towards the stream which flows from the lake downwards. Follow the grassy slope to the right - the path leading to bm417 already visible in the distance at the end of the valley.
You can spot that trail on this picture.

Stay high - just below the rocky top part of the slope - until you get closer to where the steep ascent of the trail starts and you can descend to that trail.
Climbing to Col de la Bernatoire with bm317, on the west-side, horizontally but somehow difficult to find.
Looking back into the valley.

Move the mouse over the picture to see my (approximate) shortcut-route.
From the pass looking at this Spanish lake.
Descending (steep, fatiguing) into Spain.
Break in between against this boulder.
At the end of the descent, there’s a cabin. Perhaps you can cross the stream behind it, I didn’t try.

Anyhow, a bit lower in the eucalyptus-forest, the trail descends to the dry stream, crosses it and descends further.

We're looking to the north on this picture.
But I climb back uphill on the either side of the stream. There are cow-trails, they cross the stream.

Back to the other side and a trail climbs zigzag to an electric transmission tower which you can see on this picture at the right pass.

Don't forget to enjoy nature
From that point climb into the valley to the left in front of you (the electric line entering a valley to the right). There are no trails but one appears as you approach a pass at the top of the valley.
After that pass you descend in another valley.  The electric line reappears further on and you can see where it passes a sub-pass, giving access to a lake.
Looking back in the valley, I came from the right side.
The path climbs under and along the electric line to the lake with the borderpass now visible.
A strange construction I've seen  more often in the mountains.
Col de Espécières with bm318.

On the French side I find a camping spot near the lake with a view on the borderpass.
Strong winds start.
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