The far peak front right is Infierno which is in Spain. A few years ago I spoke at length with a Spanish chap about the Pyrenees. Infierno was a mountain to aim for, he said, alongside other places such as Ordesa, Posets, and Aneto. I don’t know the reason for the name but I assume the connection is with fire, dryness, and hell. He’d been walking the Pyrenees for about twenty years and was surprised with my interest.

After Grande Fache I went down to refuge Wallon and sat with a German lady at dinner. There’s a tradition for Englishmen to climb the Pyrenees, she said, in her thick accent. She was probably thinking of Henry Russell who was born in Toulouse actually with an Irish father, and French mother. He walked the Pyrenees extensively, some of it pioneering, and wrote two books called Souvenirs of a Mountaineer and Pau and the Pyrenees. I don’t know the extent to which we have walked the Pyrenees. I’ve always met British people on my trips. On one occasion, 2009, I met a party of about six some of whom lived near to me.

The peak on the skyline left is Le Vignemale. I’ve been there three or four times and climbed Le Petit Vignemale twice. Le Vignemale was Henry Russell’s favourite. He went there a large number or times, carved out caves on the slopes which still exist, and on one occasion held a dinner party at his favourite place. He came from so called nobility, which means he was wealthy and had the leisure to pursue his eccentric but understandable passion.

My favourite mountain is Posets. I like the Esera valley, Bujaruelo, the Viados area, Midi d’Ossau, the Balaitous area, the Anayet Lakes…the Pyrenees is a vast mountain range with much to enjoy. Last year I was astonished at the beauty of the Aspe valley as I hitched from Oloron to Lescun. It was my third journey down the valley with four car rides obtained with the use of my thumb. In 2009 a kind gentleman noticed my distress at the Oloron train station – I’d missed the last bus – and took me all the way to Lescun because, he said, he had nothing else to do. He remarked that the area on the left was very beautiful. It meant nothing to me. I’ve now visited that area three times and agree. It’s where you find Midi d’Ossau.


Pyrenees Mountains: Grande Fache Panorama 4

Monday April 27, 2015