Thursday, 1 August 2013

Posets by the devil

(Pico de) Posets - a Major, P1131, 3375m high, JMH Iberian prominence number 17.
I had my second haircut of this trip in a unisex hairdressers in the resort of Benasque. The first had been in a traditional barbers in Gibraltar. This was the opposite extreme – my hair was washed both before and after the cut, the cutting and styling was painstaking – no cut throat razors and it cost twice as much.

Then it was a  short drive to Eriste and up to the Pileta del Estallo carpark (1500m) N42.61408 E0.47847 to walk up to the Refugio Angel Orus (2072m) N42.62735 E0.45729 for an overnight stay. Shared a table at the evening meal with a family group from Toulouse and played a few games of dominoes with the two young boys in the family, before an early night.

Refugio Angel Orus
Breakfast was served at 6.00am so not quite as early a start as I had hoped. A few people set off before me – however not all of them were headed for Posets and I soon overtook the ones who were going that way. The path up from the refuge is generall quite obvious as it crosses rocks and boulders. There was one place that I went a different way on the ascent from the descent and neither way seemed to be right. 

Eventually the path reaches a bridge over the Torrent de Llardaneta – you will see in the picture that the torrent must have been too torrential for the bridge at some time – and then the terrain gets a bit easier. There is a key junction without a signpost at 2574m N42.63739 E0.44319 where it is advisable to keep right, although it is not difficult to get back on track if you don’t.

Canal Fonda
Although it was late July, Canal Fonda was still very much full of snow. So, it was time to put on crampons at 2685m N42.63925 E0.43991 and labour up the steep slope to Collado del Diente (2855m) N42.64362 E0.43796.
Diente de Llardana
As I was removing my crampons a young man caught up with me, shouted a greeting I did not understand and then he walked without any aids up the near vertical side of the Diente de Llardana. I am not sure whether he reached the summit as a cloud obscured the view – I did not see him again.
From the collado the ridge to the summit is scrappy with loose stone, scree, patches of snow and the occasional exposed scramble. It was also, for me, misty and there was a fierce cold wind – and I had not brought any gloves. 
Wind blown trigpoint
Posets poser - with windblown hair
By time I reached the summit trigpoint at N42.65462 E0.43524 my hands were freezing and there was no view. I was the first person of the day to reach the summit – however, I was glad to be soon joined by a man and his daughter and we descended as rapidly as we could to get out of the wind. As we reached the collado we began to meet several parties of people heading for the top – including my French family from Toulouse. I think some of them were surprised to meet someone already descending.
As we approached the refugio we began to meet marathon runners walking up the path. After I had collected my things from the refugio and set off to the carpark I met several hundred more – and it is only a narrow path.

15.56km 2796m total ascent

Overnight in the La Muria carpark (1397m)

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