28th May acent of Bony de la Pica and Pic d’Enclar

 I bought a map at a local shop 1:40,000 with a guide book in French, Spanish and Catalan, again not ideal and planned my assault on my first Pyrenees Mountain. I decided on the closest one Bony de la Pica 2,402M and its neighbouring peak Pic d’Enclar 2,383M (left of post in picture left). As it turned out this mountain run assaulted me.(Andorra la Vella is at approx 1,000m)

I knew this was going to be a tough day but it turned out to be one of my toughest trips I have ever endured in the mountains. The weather was good all day, perhaps a little too hot. But it was my run of about 1 ½ miles to the start of the track where my malaise caught me out. Reading a map whilst running down a street full of 24 hour garages, I tripped on a small curb on the forecourt. I think it’s the only time I have tripped flat out on a solid surface; as an adult anyway. I used the map to slide my right hand along on but still badly grazed my left hand and clattered my knee and hip. But I was generally o.k. My knee was bleeding, but the embarrassment was the worst thing. Here I am about to take on a large mountain and I trip before I even get to its base, the shame.

Never mind I carried on. I struggled to initially find the trail. Eventually found it and made my way through the trees on a good track. Later on I emerged out of the trees just a few cairns marked the couloir, it got steep and very difficult with a loose surface. I knew that the battle to ascend would be matched by the battle to descend this rough steep route. I struggled my way to the top, thinking if Mont Blanc is anything like this tough I can forget doing it in 1 continuous effort. The top had a nice large wooden marker with the name and height on. The view was pretty good and just about worth the effort. I made the small descent and re-ascent to visit the top of Pic d’Enclar which was easy running. Then I retraced my steps to begin the decent.

It was a very steep skittery decent. I needed fell shoes on this; it was definitely not for the trail shoes I had on. I can’t remember slipping onto my backside and hands (not ideal with a badly grazed hand!) as much as that on 1 descent. So much so that I found the treacherous scree shoot easier and kept dabbling with it. Eventually I made it down to the relatively easy tree shaded route to the bottom. It was enjoyable but it did feel like a battle with the mountain, a draw I think. I picked up a graze on my elbow on the way down, not too bad considering how many times I slipped. It was then just a mile and a half back to the Hotel to cool off. I am going to try and find a less steep Mountain for Monday.



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