The bordermarkers of the Pyrenees : all my trips
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- 4 september 2012 -
A fraudulent bordercross

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

Summary: part of a 2-weeks-trip to the Pyrenees with a lot of targets, most of them reconnaisances of routes for the GRPdesBF.

Day 9: a circuit from Gavarnie to cover the fake bordermarker 316 and try an ongoing route from bm315 via this fake bm to bm316.

Weather: cloudy in the morning, bright skies in the afternoon
For explanation of the gps-coordinates and other cartographic backgrounds:
cartography page

Start:9.15, break h, finish: 18.30, net walking time: 9h
According to the gps-tripteller:
Distance: 27,2 km
En route: 9.19h
Total ascent: 1453m
Maximum height: 2496m

According to visugpx
- distance : 26,3 km
- cum. elevation gain :  1451m
- cum. elevation loss :  1451m
- total elevation:  2902m

- altitude maxi :  2506m
- altitude mini :  1478m
- altitude average :  1929m
From Lourdes (my favourite Hotel d’Annecy) I drive to Gavarnie and park nearby Refuge La Holle.
I pick up the GR10-trail (after some difficulty finding it) and follow it W until cabane de Lourdes.
In the far distance, the Vignemale is visible.

On this zoom-in the glaciers of the Vignemale.
In the distance the Cabane de Lourdes.  To the right of it, I will climb up the valley.
There are no trails and I climb W up the grassy slopes towards Port de Pla d’Aube with bm315.

But I arrive 650m too far NNW of that Port at the borderridge by some strange gps-dysfunction.

This picture: looking into Spain from that spot. I have to go S along and under the ridge to reach
the real Port with bm315.
Bm315, looking into France
Bm315, looking into Spain
A strange case of mirror writing,we see that more often. As if the engravers couldn't write and didn't recognize the characters they had to engrave.
Then it’s a half ellipse to Col de Lourdes (a toponym not show on the IGN-maps).

First a bit descending into France,

then bending to the right and traversing to Col de Lourdes,
shown on this zoom-in.
 On my way to Col de Lourdes and looking back
to - zoomin - to Port de Pla d'Aube
I am close now to Col de Lourdes.
The fake bm316 is easily found on the N-side of the pass.
Zoomin of the previous picture.
bm316fake. It’s only painted, not engraved. Who does the re-painting now and then, I wonder.


Probably painted by Spanish shepherds in an effort to legalize their border-crossing via this Col. The bordercrossing of spanish flocks was restricted to other cols. See also the curiosities-page.
Then the next curve (S, then E) is in Spain to Col du Cardal with the real bm316.

That curve is easier than I thought although the descent is quite steep. One hint: stick to the grass strips while descending.

This picture: I've just started the descent. In the far distance:
Col de la Bernatoire where bm417 is.

Approaching Col du Cardal.

At the Col is up the hillside:


Bm316, the 3 is in mirror writing


Bm316, looking into Spain.

From bm316 descending back into France to Lac du Cardal. That’s a nice bivouac spot with streaming water from the lake to down below.

Parallel to that stream I descend to the trail that leads to Col de Bernatoire.

It’s a bit of wayfinding in the last steep part of this descent.

I spot a lot of marmottes.

I'm back at the GR10 and look again towards the Vignemale.

With this zoomin, I can even spot the refuge de Bayssellance
Then along the GR10 back to my car which is a long & long journey.

This is another view back.
Then returning to Lourdes to my hotel and visiting at night the candles procession.
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