Sunday, 5 September 2010

Pyrenean Assault: North to France

There is only so much eating, drinking and sunshine lassitude that Jungle can bear, before the urge to drive further into the wilderness becomes all consuming. She donned her plimsolls once more and headed determinedly south.

Binder raced to catch her up, in time to steer her in a northerly direction towards the Col du Somport. An easy stroll followed up to the deserted cafes and hotels of Astun. He called a halt at a cafe that threatened to open as the sun started to burn down onto his thinning pate.

Jungle facing northJungle takes on a hearty breakfast before the climb

The next section was a bit of a blur for poor old Binder. A vertiginous clamber up to a turquoise lake in the hot morning sunshine with just one walking pole for support as high altitude gear failure had affected his second pole. He was a pathetic sight as he trudged wearily behind the refreshed, rejuvenated Jungle.

Jungle Pointing Towards France Jungle, stripped for "Ascent Mode", pointing North.

You will note from the above photograph, that at this point Jungle was carrying the map. How we found our way to the border, heaven only knows but she scampered off at regular intervals sans pack to scout the route.

Jungle returns from Scouting Expedition Jungle, returning from Scouting Expedition.

We crossed over the border back into the bosom of La Belle France in glorious weather. Apart from the time taken for the team's record photographs to be taken at this portentous moment, no Lassitude was allowed and so, lunchless, poor Binder was whipped onwards.

Border Crossing Pic du Midi Ossau France catches up on Jungle. The Border. 

Mercifully for Binder, the next section was downhill into France and his aching limbs were grateful for the respite.

Downhill into France Downhill into France

After the glorious downhill amble amongst beautiful alpine meadows with pretty little flowers and nibbled springy turf, there was a short and sharp little ascent over a rocky col and then down to one of the most wonderful spots Binder had ever encountered in his illustrious mountain stravaiging; Refuge d'Ayous.

Pic du Midi Ossau from Refuge d'Ayous Pic du Midi Ossau from refuge d'Ayous

Beers were taken to stabilise Binders dangerously low alcohol count, as Jungle once more tried to establish the mysterious whereabouts of "North".

IMG_2245b Donning Compass Needle clothing, Jungle attempts to establish "North"

It's a magical spot. Binder & Jungle retired, giggling, to their quarters in Wanda after taking the expedition's record photographs and mandatory bottle of red.

Pic du Midi OssauEvening cloud inversion, Pic du Midi Ossau


  1. Now then, I've only just caught up with all this silly nonsensence.
    I've been suffering from Bummelling Lassitude.
    The medical supplies are missing. Have they Wanderered off?
    I see that Shute has returned from the Rockies in better form than Last Time!
    Three Times the height of Everest - that's impressive Mr Binder...


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