Aneto is the highest mountain in the Pyrenees at 3,404 metres. Posets is the second highest at 3,371 metres. I considered Aneto a few years ago if the conditions were good. That meant suitable for climbing without crampons which is not usually the case. You have to get up a large glacier. It wasn’t possible. Less so in sandals. I wasn’t bothered because apparently it’s not a notably scenic mountain. Posets is another matter. It’s nearly the same height and people say it’s the most beautiful Pyrenees mountain. I climbed it in 2010 and nearly did it last year using a different route from the Estos valley. It’s beauty I want. It’s generally true the higher you are the more dramatically beautiful it is, but not always. In 2011 I think it was, I’d been walking a few days not getting onto summits. I decided to go off route, leaving my rucksack at a col and climbing a relatively easy peak. There was no path and it wasn’t described in the books. It was slightly unnerving. My reasoning mind fought to overcome instinctive panic. I felt that once on the summit of Great Gable. It was winter, snowy, and the sun was setting. As I climbed the Pyrenees ridge a vast panorama opened. I gazed across distant mountains and my mood, which wasn’t good, changed accordingly. This is what I want, I thought, and I haven’t been getting it. I was excited this year at Grand Fache. I got beautiful photographs and video in which I said, speaking to the camera, this is one of my best mountain moments. As with Posets I walked around finding all the photographic possibilities. A few people arrived and left, none of them lingering as I did. A day tripping couple from refuge Wallon, he with a small rucksack and she with none. I stayed here for forty minutes and didn’t want to come down. For most of the time I was alone. Robert Macfarlane described the mood change as the heart buffeted open. The feeling is unmistakable, he said. The heart does open but it starts in the head. Your mind opens and expands into geography. The heart follows.


Pyrenees Photography: Le Grand Fache (2)

Saturday November 1, 2014