Carnet de route

Raquette: Taoulet d'Aouet

Le 25/02/2012 par Joe

Nos sorties raquettes s'internationalisent, aussi histoire de dépoussiérer vos dictionnaires, Jo (sur une nouvelle brillante idée de Valérie) vous compte la sortie. 

Having met most of the group two weeks ago during the climb of the Liset de Hount Blanque, Paule, Camille, Jean-François, Michelle, Jean, Valerie and myself (Joe) set off to conquer the Taoulet d'Aouet, (2 293 metres).
We stopped a little before La Mongie, strapped on our snowshoes, plugged in our Arvas and plunged directly into the snow. But what a difference in the weather from two weeks ago, as cold and windy as it was for the ascent of the Liset de Hount Blanque, today it was hot and sunny!
The path leaves the road by climbing alongside a stream before veering off to the left, soon after entering a patch of forest but we quickly leave the forest behind and enter into a sort of high and treeless plateau where we all stopped for a quick breather. From here there is a great view of the Pic du Midi though the Taoulet is not yet visible. Most of us put on some sun cream at this point but would soon be punished with the sweat washing the stuff into our eyes - ouch!
Jean - the "chief", guide and pathfinder - wasn't taking prisoners today and we had barely taken our jackets off before we were off again up the valley following in his tracks. We traversed some nail bitingly steep slopes and then the Taoulet appeared high above us and struck fear into the hearts of... well, me anyway!
From here on we pretty much had the mountains to ourselves and after passing a cabin the real ascent began and we zigzagged our way upwards for what seemed like an eternity. Nerves of steel were necessary crossing one particularly treacherous patch of steep icy slope and as Jean shouted back instructions, I did my best not to look down! Arriving on the other side we were rewarded with a magnificent panorama of the Pyrenees and five minutes later we were at the summit having climbed 1 000 metres, taking photos and discussing where to have lunch.
After deciding that the other routes were too dangerous, Jean and Valerie concluded to my dismay that we'd be best off going back down the way we came, which meant crossing that treacherous patch of steep icy slope again! Once we'd got that ordeal behind us and having had a bite to eat, Jean decided that an exercise was in order and had us sliding down the mountainside on our bellies with the aim of practising emergency stopping, weeee!
Reaching the cabin again, we rejoined civilisation with two groups of skiers and still having the afternoon in front of us we played a game of "hunt the Arva in the avalanche" near by. Obviously this had the serious side of teaching us what to do if some of our companions were trapped in an avalanche and as Jean explained, with him leading the way there was a good chance that it would be him trapped in the avalanche and therefore it was up to us to know how to rescue someone.
The rest of the descent was pleasant, and rejoining the vehicles we headed back to Campan and to the same bar as a fortnight ago, where, after a nice cold beer, I was somehow persuaded to write this account in English! Then we headed home, all of us tanned if not a little burned by all that sunshine.


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