For my first attempt at Puig Carlit, on Wednesday I optimistically set off from the campsite, probably o.k. in summer mountain conditions. But these are more like winter than summer conditions at the moment. So my new strategy was to drive to the foot of the mountain at La Bolloseta with winter gear and have another go.
The drive there was interesting, first off the sat nav thought it new a shorter route, it would have been if I had an off road vehicle, luckily the road was closed. So after ignoring the sat nav I was finally on the way. The second interesting / annoying part were the amount of wildlife on the road. The local cows and horses seem to have claimed it as their own. Some of them even seemed to weave in front of me; they must be a bit mad. After several encounters with cows and horses and 7 miles of narrow roads I arrived at La Bolloseta.
I got kitted up with a large pack, ice axe, crampons, spare clothing and all the other usual stuff, and then asked at the information kiosk what the snow conditions were like. She said she didn’t know and be careful. It was probably good to have her know I was on my way up on my own anyway, even if I didn’t gain any information.
So heavily laden with gear I made my way along and gently up the beautiful trials to the foot of Carlit. Luckily she didn’t seem to have too much snow on her, Just pockets that needed to be traversed with a bit of care. I got the axe out and did just that making my way across the traverse. Luckily a few others had been the same route, and so I could follow in their steps. It meant I did not need to use the crampons that I was carrying. There were a couple of tricky bits that required a bit of scrambling, 3 points of contact were definitely necessary. In summer this would be less daunting, the snow seems to add that bit of trepidation to the proceedings.
I made my way over these 2 tricky scrambles and hoped that these were the tough bits that the campsite manager was describing. It turned out that they were, and it was much easier, but still needed care, to reach the summit on my left. I had done it, I had reached the highest point in the area of languedoc roussillon. I descended via the couloir, seen in the picture left, as it was much easier in the soft deep snow, than it would be down climbing the tricky side of the arrete.
Puig Cqrlit is by no means the highest of the Pyrenees (they can reach 3,400m or so), but still I am pleased to have ascended one of the larger mountains in the range. The ascent took 2hours 15 and the descent 1 hour 30.