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If Carlsberg made campsites

Sat 17 Jul 2010 16:30 » Jon

For the last three days we’ve been in the Vall d’Aran. We saw three villages there, and a remarkable proportion of each one looked new – very tastefully done so that it fitted in with the old buildings, but quite obviously new. It turns out that there are two reasons for this: the first was a tunnel that connected the once-isolated valley to the rest of Spain, and the second was the ski resort at the end of the valley, Baquiera-Beret. The locals seem very proud of the resort: they’ve told us that it’s the most important in Spain, and that it’s where the king skis.

Today we passed through the outskirts of the ski area as we left civilisation behind and headed back into the high mountains. We climbed 1500m today, over a couple of summits around 2600m and ended the day at 2400m.

It’s great being back on the trail, but my legs don’t feel nearly as energetic as I’d hoped after 3 days off! I don’t know whether it’s the weight of the food but I definitely wasn’t on top form today.

The Marines’ mountain training course involves technical training and also a ‘daily beasting’ to keep them fit. We don’t have any technical training, but today’s daily beasting would surely have kept them happy. The guidebook simply said “climb to the summit”, but the climb was about as steep as is possible on grass and boulders. With a bit of GPS & altimeter wizardry we calculated that the slope was 78%!

It was all worth it though, as we’re now camped by Estanyet de Marimanya d’Isavarre, one of the nicest lakes in the universe, and home to possibly the best bivouac site ever (you might be able to make out the tents in the centre of the photo below). The lake is warm enough that I swam right across it (around 5 minutes) then had a proper wash when I got back so I’m now feeling lovely and clean. We’re at 2400m, miles from anyone, and the only sound is a little stream trickling out from a small patch of snow near the lake. It doesn’t get much better than this.

1 Comment »

  1. [...] we began the climb up to Port de Baiau (2757m). This was similar to the 78% climb I mentioned a few days ago, with one vital difference: that was on grass, while this was on a combination of boulders and [...]

    Pingback by sedgely » hrp » The Perfect Storm — August 21, 2010 @ 2:46 pm

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