When you leave Arremoulit for Respomuso you find yourself in a confusing area with a large snow field. I walked a little with a group of other people but then struck off on my own. They were picking their way up the side very slowly trying to avoid the snow. I went directly across it in my sandals. You reach a high col with a steep rough slope the other side, down into Spain. As in 2009 I went straight down and found myself in a rough area of loose stones and occasional scrambling. There was no path. It was unpleasant but not particularly dangerous. This year I noticed the path, or rather distant people walking it, as a meandering easier descent. I’m like that sometimes. I want to go where I want to go. When I reached the lakes at the bottom there was more snow. You feel relief from the difficulty but then there’s more of it. It took a long time slithering across this. People seem afraid of snow. I’m not. In the Swiss Alps I went off route one day, climbing higher for a photograph. I suddenly realised the huge area of snow on the ridge above me might be unstable. It was around 4,000 metres and I was climbing up to it. More correctly I didn’t realise this, I felt it. I had no knowledge or experience of such matters. I’ve since learned about snow cornices in Scotland. The winter before last skilled climbers died at Glencoe. Their last experience would have been a cloud of unstable snow dropping down to the valley.

 

Pyrenees Photography: Aratille Lakes Snow

Thursday October 23, 2014