What a day. And what a night. Again I had to chase a horse away from my tent in the middle of the night. And when I was sleeping and dreaming peacefully the cows decided to make their way up the valley with their bells. I snoozed until 7 any ways.

Getting going was hard. I was a bit stiff this morning. Took me about an hour to get into the groove. Looking back into my valley of the night:

The first obstacle of the day was the Passage d’Orteig. I was already excited when I came across the corner and saw the obstacle that needed to be shifted around.

Views from this beautiful section. First the way down (if you don’t hold on to) and second the actual climbing section. @Binskäsito & @Schnukeido – I know where the next campo goes hiking adventure will go to 😉

I had a quick stop at the Refuge d’Arrémoulit (2265m) for a coffee and an weather update. Apparently there is a heavy thunderstorm expected in the night of Thursday to Friday. Better not to camp on a ridge that night. So I was looking at the maps in every break to figure out where I could / should be Thursday evening. Gavarnie seemed a good option – especially since my altimeter broke and doesn’t give me the altitude anymore. This really doesn’t help when you have to figure out where you are and how much more there is to climb. So maybe I can use the storm to find a new watch…

But to get there meant 4 sections (normal days) in two including two of the most or the most challenging passes on the trip. Not sure if that was possible. But off I went from the Refugio, took the wrong way and had to scramble up a rock face for 15 minutes to get back on trail 🤦‍♂️. Over the first little rocky pass the Col du Palas (2517m) which was still easy. And then the drama began. Traversing to the first of the difficult passes the Port du Lavédan (2615m) I first missed the trail, went down to low and had to scramble up again. Then I decided for the highest of all routes and ended up putting my poles away to scramble with both hands in the wall. At least the views where good.

On the final ascent to the Port du Lavédan I again opted for the wrong opening in the wall – if you ever want to do it yourself it is the opening on the right hand not on the left hand side. But there were also cairns on my route. I scrambled up a steep gully all the way to the end.

And then I was on the top. But at the end of the gully was just a straight drop down. So I scrambled up further on the ridge to the right where I expected the actual passage. I also mad it to it but was faced with a 20m straight wall down which was impossible to do with a backpack on and no ropes. So I climbed up and down through the wall for over twenty minutes using both hands on overhanging rocks and similar until I found a way out again. It was “limited fun” I have to say and a bit to sketchy. I was pretty happy when it was over. My knees were still a bit shaky on the way down… And all of that when I actually wanted to cover some ground today.

First snow on the trail! But only one little patch…


Well, down the valley which was beautiful. Many little lakes and the stream just became bigger and bigger.

At 3pm I was at the valley floor again. No break yet. My notes said 7 hours to the next Refugio (which would give me an updated weather forecast for the next day) and a very tricky pass with the Col de Cambalès (2706m). And I was sitting at 1700m at the moment. So I only fueled up and twenty minutes later I was on the trail again. No nap today… ☹️

Maybe it was the fear of not making it on time over the pass or maybe also just the normal pattern now that I always get a long and steep climb in the late afternoon with good legs. But anyhow. The pass was easier than expected since there was also not a single patch of snow left besides a bit of ice in the lake. But what a surprise in this heat…

On the other side there was just enough snow to do a little glissade down the first slope. Have I missed that. Last time on the PCT. You can still see my tracks on the top snow patch.

The rest was spectacular, tiring and long at the same time. 900m downhill again in about two hours. The lakes were the prettiest so far and I do regret a bit that I did not camp there.

But then I would have missed out on the weather update. So I made it down in the last rays of the sun.

My shoes can already tell the story of the Pyrenees! I hope they will last until the end…