This blog describes my 24-day traverse of the Pyrenees from Atlantic to Mediterranean, July 2011.
The Pyrenean Haute Route is around 800km with 42,000 metres of ascent.

Map of the route | Schedule

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Day 20 - Refuge des Besines to Refuge Ulldeter (almost)

20th July 2011

HRP - Day 20

After a rather short 'recovery' day yesterday, I knew I had some catching up to do today. It is always more difficult to make an early start from a refuge, but I was away by 6:50am.

I had no intention of climbing Pic Carlit, so took the easier GR10 alternative to reach the Barrage des Bouillouses. A fantastically scenic and popular spot.

Next came a long section of trails through forest, where I was almost asleep on my feet, head nodding and walking like a drunkard. I just about maintained consciousness to arrive at Bolquere where my plan was to do a quick shop and then press on towards the hills beyond Eyne. However this plan was scuppered when I reached the shop at 2.15pm only to discover it wouldn't re-open until 4pm. My only option now was to visit the next door hotel, grab a decent meal and relax for the next 1.5 hours. Once the shop was open again, I bought a few more provisions then followed the road all the way to Eyne.

Having lost a couple of hours, my initial plan was to camp somewhere near the head of the Vallee d'Eyne, however I was making such good time, and keen to use the full daylight hours, so just kept going up to Col de Nuria 2683m, and by the time I reached Pic de Noufonts 2861m, it was just after 8pm so I knew I had just over an hour's daylight to complete the traverse above Nuria and find somewhere to camp. This helped to focus the mind, and to get a bit of a move on.

Luckily the wands were out for the Olla de Núria Sky Race, which made the route finding a bit easier in the failing light. Plus this section is also on the GR11, so I vaguely recognised the route from last year. I managed to descend to about 2400m and find a patch of flat ground and was in the tent by 9.45pm.

View HRP - Day 20 in a larger map

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