The bordermarkers of the Pyrenees : all my trips
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- 27 august 2011 -
A French shepherd in Spain

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Summary: part of a 3-weeks trip to the Pyrénées to 'do' the ± 60 remaining bordermarkers. All done as daytrips from campings.

Day 12: two trips, the main one to bm278 &279 and a short one to bm306-307. Basecamp is Urdos.

Weather: in the early morning drizzle and mist, later clearing up to a fine summerday.
(click to open this trip in Google Earth or copy link to Google Maps; click right on this link to download gpx-version)

Trip1: to cover bm278 and bm279 which went remarkably swift.
For explanation of the gps-coordinates and other cartographic backgrounds:
see my cartography page

En route (±): 8.30 - 14.00 (5.30h)

According to the gps-tripteller:
Distance:  18,3km
Cum. elevation gain : 1113m
Total elevation: 2226
Maximum height: 2102m
Time: 5.46h

According to visugpx

- distance : 17,0km
- cum. elevation gain : 1044m
- cum. elevation loss : 1041m
- total elevation:  2085m

- altitude maxi : 2094m
- altitude mini : 1285m
- altitude average : 1772m

Start from Forges d’Abel. I tried to drive the last rocky dirtroad to the parking but that was too much for the exhaust pipe. It let loose and I had to fix it with a rope and drive the car back to safer grounds.

Then the ascent to Refuge d’Arlet. This picture: passing Cabane Grosse.

The trail is the HRP-trail (waymarked red-white-red) and it took me  2 1/2 hours to the refuge.

The sign at the parking - 3 1/2 hours - must be a misstake.
Short break in the refuge for a coffee and a sandwhich and then the short and easy climb W to Col d’Arlet. There is a cairns-trail but without it you’ll get there as well.

This picture: looking back at Lac d'Arlet with the refuge.

Bm278 is another example of hardly noticeable crosses in rocky surroundings.

Despite an accurate waypoint and a large cairn, it took some time to recognize it. 
With some chalk, it looks better.
It’s position: at the ridge some 40m NW of the pass itself.

Bm278 with the cairn, looking to the pass.
View from the pass to bm271.
The views into Spain are gorgeous.
Then on Spanish grounds traversing to Col de la Contende.

That’s not difficult: descend S (there are some cairns) and after descending along a sort of ravine, traverse SE on cattle tracks while remaining on the same level.

If you descend too much, nothing is lost: the Col is still SE and the climb easy.

A bit further.
The Col is very obvious in the ridge, the final climb easy though there are no trails or cairns. 
Bm279 is a solitary rock
On the Spanish side I meet a French shepherd with his flock. He tells me that it’s agreed with the Spanish communities that he may let graze his sheep a bit on the ES-side of the pass.

Then the descent, mostly along a cairns-trail but that is not necessary.

Having arrived at the dirtroad (a part which is not yet on the maps), I descend further towards the cabanes and join the HRP-trail again. Then back to the car.

Note: after the descent in the forest, there’s a shortcut-path to avoid the lacelets of the dirtroad.
(click to open this trip in Google Earth or copy link to Google Maps; click right on this link to download gpx-version)

Trip 2: a short stroll from Col de Somport to redo bm306 and bm307.
For explanation of the gps-coordinates and other cartographic backgrounds:
see my cartography page

En route (±): 16.45 - 17.45 (1h)

According to the gps-tripteller:
Distance:  1,8km
Cum. elevation gain : 100m
Total elevation: 200m
Maximum height: 1687m
Time: 0.55h

According to visugpx

- distance : 1,6km
- cum. elevation gain : 53m
- cum. elevation loss : 54m
- total elevation:  107m

- altitude maxi : 1679m
- altitude mini : 1631m
- altitude average : 1658m

Access of bm306 on the path behind the ‘deneigement’ or ‘Ponts et chaussures’ - building, as described on 7 september 2009

From bm306 I continue on the trail.

This picture: looking ahead and showing the access to Col Mayou -> it's a climb through the bed of a stream, arriving at a flatter part which is followed by the final climb N to Col Mayou. From the Col you can proceed eastwards to bm308.

Note: on 7 september 2009 I didn't climb as far as the Col but traversed from the 'flatter part' in a semi-circle NE underneath bm408 and finally climbed SW to it.

After bm306, there are three successive ‘valleys’ at your right hand. Enter the third one and go through

this corridor between two hillridges.

At the end you’ll see to the NE a next valley with at the NE-edge a rocky outcrop.

There you will find - with a few meters climbing - bm307.


The rocky outcrop with bm307

Zoomed in

and again.

If you can't find bm307 with all this help, you'd might consider switching to another hobby.

Through that fourth valley, descend back to the trail. I spot one cairn but nothing more of a path or cairned trail up that distinctive ravine. But you can't miss it.

Back to my car, back to my basecamp in Urdos.
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