Spanish Pyrenees. 13-19 October 2008
Maxi METHS in Monte Perdido area, Spain.
Participants: Antonia and Peter (Up-the-Down) Tolhurst, Daphne (DM3) Martin, Mike (Mad) Petzold (leader), Rupert (Westface) Roschnik, Terry May, Josef Widmann. Verena (Muesli) Petzold joined us for the closing dinner.
Monday 13th All pitch up at the Albergue-Refugio L'Atalaya at Torla in time for drinks and supper. Dormitory accommodation.
Tuesday 14th Drive to Pradera car park. Interesting hike to the Goriz Hut (2160 m/7087 ft) via the Sendero de los Cazadores (Hunters' Path) in about 6 hours. Good weather, good views of the valley from the Mirador onwards.
Wednesday 15th The whole party left the hut at 8.20 and all reached the Monte Perdido summit 4 ˝ hours later (3355 m/11007 ft). One snowy patch caused anguish for some and the steep, frozen scree below the last shoulder before the summit required care, both going up and coming down. Fine weather, good views from the summit; the achievement was celebrated with whisky from a hip flask. Down in 3 hours.
Thursday 16th Left for the Brecha by the normal route, past a huge cave (where Terry turned into a Neanderthal), then boulder field and chain traverse. Mike dropped behind and said we shouldn't wait, so we didn't. (He did a small peak on Tobacor ridge as far as we could gather.) The rest of us reached La Brecha (2807 m/9209 ft), spent about half an hour there then continued to El Taillón (3144 m/10315 ft). More good views in fine weather. We went down the easy way discovered in 2006 and even managed to improve on it somewhat. Back at hut well in time for drinks, Scrabble, etc.
Friday 17th We again split into two parties. Mike was one of the parties: he did Collada Arrablo, Punta Custodia and ridge to Cuello Gordo and back. He was most impressed by its beauty and will propose it (in reverse) for next time we visit the Goriz Hut. The other 6 did the Tobacor circuit, at a leisurely pace, admiring views, soaring lammergeyers and izards. 6-7 hours round trip.
Saturday 18th Back down to Pradera, the first part in the rain, via chains (except for Mike who took the path bypassing them). Reached the car park just over 3 hours later. Crowds of people, car park full. Drove to Bielsa and settled in the nice rooms of the Casa Matazueras hotel. We all enjoyed a very necessary bath, the sanitary conditions at the Goriz Hut not having been very conducive to any form of ablutions.
Sunday 19th Rupert drove Mike back to the Petzold property in Masseube, France, then returned to Bielsa and the Pineta valley, where he found the other cars parked but did not have the courage to look for the group since it was pouring with rain. He returned to Bielsa. Mike and Verena reached the Pineta car park an hour later, by which time the rain had stopped, so they did a short walk. Meanwhile the other 5 did short circuit above the Parador. All 8 present for the final dinner at Casa Matazueras.
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