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A weekend snowshoeing

With the fantastic snow in the Pyrenees at the moment, last weekend I took Isabel and Christopher on their first snowshoeing trip and also went out with Gustavo up Pelopin.

Christopher was desperate to go snowshoeing with me last winter, but his feet are too small for adult snowshoes. Fortunately, Father Christmas brought him some great TSL kids snowshoes that fit small boots perfectly!

We headed out of Piedrafita up towards the Ibon de Piedrafita. This is a lovely hike that we do a lot in the summer with guests. It’s beautiful with the little lake lying under the thousand-metre cliffs of the Sierra de Partacua. We didn’t make it all the way to the Ibon as progress was slowed by the kids throwing themselves into every bank of snow they could find!

 

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The snow was pretty deep and the cold temperatures meant that it was still soft powder. Ruby, the dog, kept on nearly getting buried in the snow. Fortunately, there were a lot of tracks from other snowshoers to follow, otherwise, it would have been hard work.

We didn’t make it all the way up to the lake but got to a pretty frozen stream with great views of the cliffs of the Sierra de Partacua above. The kids wanted to test to see if the ice was thick enough to walk on but I didn’t let that experiment happen – honestly Dad’s no fun! The kids really enjoyed it and want to go out again which is great – unfortunately we’ve now had a week of horrid weather and a week more to come so we won’t be out this weekend.

 

On Sunday, I headed out with Gustavo, Florencia and Alexis. The original plan was to do a route near the French border, but when we got up there it was really windy, sleeting and misty so we headed back down the valley in search of better weather. We ended up starting at Cotefablo – the pass between Biescas and Torla/Ordesa – and headed to the summit of Pelopin (2007m).

This is another route we often do with guests in the summer, often starting at Cotefablo and hiking all the way back to the hotel in Torla which is a really nice hike. Initially we went up quite steeply through woods, but when we left the woods on the ridge it was pretty windy and cold. Around the summit the wind had blown a lot of the snow away, leaving a lot of bald grassy patches. We said we’d have lunch on the summit but it was much too windy and cold for that and we ate in a sheltered spot on the way down.

This route usually has great views over all of the three thousand metres of the Ordesa National Park and into the Ordesa Valley, but the clouds and mist were right down over all the high peaks so we didn’t get as good views as normal. As we looked into the mist to the north we were glad we’d decided to change our route!

Despite not being perfect conditions, it was good to get out and do a high-ish peak on the snow shoes. It’s not that often that there’s enough snow that this route is able to be done on snowshoes. This latest big storm system has brought a lot of rain down in Biescas but I think plenty of fresh snow higher up so once it’s passed through I’m looking forward to getting out and having more adventures in the snow.

2 Comments

  1. SUSAN RUSTEN

    Our visit to your area was in September. We ran into sleet and snow one of our hiking days. Here in Vermont in the Champlain Valley (USA) we have recently gotten enough snow to enjoy snowshoeing and x-country skiing. Our mountains are not quite as awesome as the Pyrenees – but we have plenty of beautiful peaks and trails. Thanks for the photos to remind us of our trip to your part of the world.

    Reply
    • Phil

      Hi Susan, good to hear from you and hope that you are keeping well. Glad that you can get out and enjoy the snow in the mountains of Vermont – they sound great. Glad you enjoyed your walking holiday to the Pyrenees and hope to see you again in the future, Phil.

      Reply

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