Punta Del Pacino

Elder flowered orchids in the PyreneesI was hiking up Punta del Pacino at the weekend which is one of my favourite peaks in the valley – not high at 1965 metres but with a fantastic position right in the centre of the valley and you get superb views in all directions from the summit. The lower sunny slopes are covered in elder flowered orchids and spring gentians.

Summit views from Punta del Pacino

Summit views from Punta del Pacino

This is the view looking south west over Embalse de Escarra to the Sierra de Partacua. Still a lot of snow higher up but most peaks around 2000 metres have only patchy snow. Higher than this there is still a lot of snow – particularly along the route of the GR11.

Peak du Midi d'Ossau

Peak du Midi d’Ossau and Peyreget from the summit

It really was a treat for flower lovers with a few clumps of early purple orchids and truper gentians out too. Higher up the snow has only recently melted and alpine snowbells (soldanella montaña) had sprung up – these flower immediately after the snow has melted and only flower for about a week so it’s a real treat to see them.

Alpine snowbell

Alpine snowbell – soldanella alpina

Trumpet gentian

Trumpet Gentian

It was a great to get out after some really poor weather this spring – hopefully we’lll get some more sunshine soon!

Sallent de Gallego

The village of Sallent de Gallego with the peak of Tebarrai behind

5 thoughts on “Punta Del Pacino”

  1. Hello Phil,

    This summer I am going on a hike in the Spanish Pyrenees with four friends. We are planning to go backpacking around Puigcerda, along this trail:
    http://alltrails.com/tracks/track-may-16-05-49-pm
    Due to finals we will only able to be there between the first of June and the thirteenth of June. However, after reading your blog post we are doubtful about the snow conditions, since some parts of the trail are over 2500 meters high. Do you think the trail will be reasonably snow-free by then? We have previous alpine experience, but only with minor snow patches. If not, could you suggest another area in the Eastern Pyrenees that is more accessible in that period?

    Thanks a lot in advance!

    Regards,
    Jeroen

  2. Hi Jeroen,
    I’d expect you to find a substantial amount of snow on that route at the beginning of June. I doubt the route will be passable without crampons and ice axes – conditions will be fairly serious and that’s a high part of the Pyrenees. I’m getting quite a lot of emails about conditions and am going to write a post this week about conditions on the GR11 and HRP.

    It’s currently snowing down to 1300 metres (I’ve just come in from hiking) and although not much is settling lower down due to the ground being warm higher up it will be settling and adding to existing snow. The border here at Portalet was only passable with snow chains this morning and that’s at 1800 metres. Cold conditions are expected to last until next weekend when finally it looks to be getting sunny.

    Also if it does warm up avalanches are still a problem – I heard that two people died in an avalanche in the Pyrenees in Cataluyna last week or the week before.

    Conditions are very variable and changing all the time – I’m not in that area of the Pyrenees so it’s hard for me to suggest an area that’s snow free. Slightly further south in the Cadi Moixero around the Pedraforca area will perhaps have less snow (and Pedraforca’s a fantastic mountain) although as I say without seeing the area for myself it’s hard to judge. My advice would be to seek out a guide local to that area and hire them for the week – they will be able to keep you safe on the snow covered terrain and choose a route that will suit your ability and be free of avalanche risk.

    Hope that helps – have a great trip to the Pyrenees – it’s a fantastic area,

    Phil

  3. Hello Phil,

    Thanks you very much for your useful reply. We will check out the Cadi Moixero area. I am looking forward to your next post.

    Regards,
    Jeroen

  4. Hi Phil,
    Im starting the HRP on june 13th, atlantic to med, and was wondering what snow conditions are looking like in your area/ along the whole route, and if there is any local expectation regarding melt or longevity of current snow levels.
    you mentioned in a comment above about a blog post regarding this, i dont know if this has been posted and I havn’t found it, apologies if so for yet another query.
    Many thanks Oliver

  5. Hi Phil, I’m starting the HRP just a week after Oliver – I’d also be interested in any snow/weather update you can give us if you have the time. The alpine flowers in meadows below Pic Midi d’Ossau look beautiful.

    Cheers

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