I’ve seen Le Vignemale in bright sunshine, miserable gloom, a storm, and as you see here, with passing evening cloud. The sculpture of the mountain is obviously dramatic. I remember seeing it for the first time. Walking from Wallon you descend a very steep slope which makes you go slowly. I kept stopping to gaze at the unfolding view. I’ve been here a few times now and I like the refuge, Oulettes de Gaube, which is friendly and looks out to this view. It’s not my favourite place to camp however. The ground is hard and stony and the area is cold at night. I think cold air must drop from the mountain on which you find a small glacier. The other side of Le Vignemale you find a large glacier. The evening at the refuge was pleasant again, a young lady entertaining us with guitar and song which I captured on video. The night was disastrous. I couldn’t find my tent in the inky black, then mist filled night, despite searching for over an hour. My tent was lost, I realised I might get lost, so retreated to the refuge aiming for a barely visible light. Everyone was in bed. I found a mattress and blanket and had a terrible night with no sleep, discomfort, toilet noise, no wash, no teeth cleaning, panicking about my tent because a storm was forecast. I imagined it ripped to pieces, blown away, torn open and everything soaked. The next morning it was absurdly easy to see and intact. I had coffee at the refuge then breakfast reunited with my tent. I wasn’t exactly perky but didn’t feel too bad. Usually a night like that makes me weak, dizzy, and ill.

 

Pyrenees Photography: Le Vignemale

Saturday November 8, 2014