The final part of the climb to Grande Fache is scrambling. That’s quite common. The majority of the route is a bouldery climb with easy loose rocks and rough stones. You don’t need hands for it. When you reach the top you find a path extending along a ridge, a scrambling drop then climb to another small area of path. It’s a wonderful place. You can see Balaitous in the far distance in one direction, Infierno and Le Vignemale in another.

I don’t know the name of the peaks you see here which are situated above Wallon and the upper Marcadau. Behind them you find Lac Nere, Lac du Pourtet, the Embarrat lakes and a path leading to the Ilheou refuge. It’s a good route down to Cauterets. The quick descent down the Marcadau valley only needs two or three hours to get to Pont d’Espagne, from which place you can hitch. It’s a lovely walk but with no mountain interest as such. If you take the Ilheou path you divert into mountains for a few hours and finish with a section along Marcadau.

I was amazed at Marcadau. It was my third time there and it’s astonishingly beautiful. High mountains in the distance, vast rock faces, dense with trees, wild flowers, birds, with easy grassy paths and sparkling rivers.


Pyrenees Panorama: Grande Fache

Wednesday April 29, 2015