This was one of my toughest days in the Pyrenees, largely because of a meagre breakfast and inadequate dinner. I wondered what I was doing there. I wanted it to stop. You don’t always know what the problem is when it’s hot and you’re carrying sixteen kilos. Your energies drain if your mood drops. Your mood drops when your energies drain and the pleasures vanish. There is however a close link between energy and food, obviously, and this day it was very clear.

These views to Balaitous are impressive and distinct. It’s a huge sprawling peak, apparently difficult to climb because of scree. I’ve never considered it. The Respomuso refuge is down below at the base of Balaitous. I’ve ate and camped beside the hut on three occasions. In 2009 I walked back to France and the Wallon refuge, which is to the right of this view. In 2014 I did the same again. This view is from 2013 when I mostly walked the Spanish GR11. It was possibly my best Pyrenees trip.

The book suggested two and a half hours to climb to Cuello de Teberrai at 2782 metres. I think it took me six. Once you reach there it’s a relatively short climb up Pico Infierno. I didn’t have the time for it, the energy, or the food. I went down to the beautiful Ibon de Bachimana and then Panticosa for the night. The refuge is at the end of a road. I asked about transport and considered hitching my way to the next section. It would be difficult.

As it transpired I had a good, simple dinner with plenty of soup, second and third helpings of rice, beans, cheese, salad and dessert. Breakfast was good too so the next day I felt marvelous, climbing strongly in the morning then down to Bujaruelo which is a favourite place of mine.


Balaitous Panorama

Saturday April 25, 2015