Thursday, 1 August 2013

To seek Turbon

They were delicious
El (Castillo de) Turbon – a Major, P1022, 2492m high, JMH Iberian prominence number 28.
I had read in a couple of places that the start from La Muria to seek Turbon is hard to find. Not sure why, the village is signposted from the main N260 road. When you reach the village there is a left turn just before it which leads to a carpark and what looks like an abandoned picnic site (1397m) N42.44994 E0.53685. However, there is a definite sense that the area around it is GOML country.

A signboard shows two routes to the summit and I  decided not to drive any further up the pista as the two routes diverge quite soon. There is a chain on this first stretch that looks like it may sometimes be padlocked. If you are going to go and return by the same route it is possible to drive as far as Partida de Selvaplana (1488m) N42.44157 E0.54076 and take the risk that the chain is not locked on your return. The marked path enters the trees and then rises steeply to a meadow and then it looks like everyone makes their own way as the path disappears.
Collado de San Adria
At the top of the meadow the two routes meet up in the Collado de San Adria (1898m) N42.43907 E0.51751 where there is a fingerpost and a fine view of Turbon. And it is clear from here why the ascent route does not continue up this end of the ridge.
North ridge of Turbon
The path drops for a while into the Coma de Sant Adrian – although it is probably feasible to walk the ridge on the left instead. The coma offers a range of landscapes including meadows of Edelweiss, stony paths, walking between huge boulders that have fallen in geological terms quite recently from the neighbouring mountains (you can still see the scars in the rockface), and scree. 
Between the boulders
At La Portella (2253m) N42.41453 E0.51276 the path meets a route that starts at Vilas de Turbon – this is probably a much shorter and possibly easier route, but would have involved a lot of extra driving to get to the start. The path then rises relatively gently around the head of the valley and on to the summit ridge to end at the trigpoint at N42.41692 E0.50533 and a fine view of the high Pyrenees to the north.

On the descent I cut the corner a bit and missed out La Portella. When I reached the Collado de San Adria I decided to have a go at the alternative route. Initially, there wasn't much evidence of the path and I think I didn’t follow the main path even when I was following a line of cairns. The solution is to find the border stones that look like mini trigpoints and follow them. 
Puerto de la Muria
Anyway, by a mixture of skill and luck I managed to get to the Puerto de la Muria (1602m) 42.45016 E0.51085 where there was another fingerpost. And a path marked with yellow/white dashes. 

Beware – the yellow/white dashes become misleading further along the path. There was a junction at about 1560m N42.45300 E0.52000 where the yellow/white marks quite definitely indicate take a left turn which, I eventually began to realise, takes you away from the carpark. Keep right and follow what looks like a dry stream bed – however, cannot be as it sometimes goes uphill – after a while I concluded that it is/was probably a canyada/ cattle drove road. When it reaches the valley near the pista the path virtually disappears – I could not work out how the start could be found if ascending this way.

23.27km, 1770m total ascent

Overnight at La Muria carpark (1397m)

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