Pic Perdiguere

The dark of a January evening in front of the fire surrounded by a soggy Dartmoor it is easy for my mind to wander back to recent mountain adventures in warm sunshine. This is one such episode that will live long in my memory as a grand day (or so) out.

Lac d'Oo
Starting out from the Granges d'Astau an easy path (GR10) leads quickly up to Lac d'Oo and the Auberge. Continuing further up the valley we reach Lac d'Espingo and its accompanying refuge. At this stage the GR10 has turned off for Bagneres-de-Luchon and if you started late the crowds will have thinned.

Lac Saussat and Lac d'Espingo
After the third piece of water, Lac Saussat, the path starts to climb through the Cirque d'Espingo in order to reach Portillon where the fun begins.

Cirque d'Espingo
Refuge du Portillon is in a stunning position on the HRP and surrounded by numerous 3000m peaks.

Refuge du Portillon
It took us about 4.5 hrs and 1400+m to reach the refuge where we enjoyed a cold drink with our picnic lunch sat in the warm sunshine overlooking Lac du Portillon. Rested we now cross the dam and set off up to Collado Inferior de Lliterola, another 500+m at 2964m.

Approaching Collado Inferior de Lliterola
The col marks the start of our real objective to gain the ridge up to Punta de Lliterola 3116m, Pico Royo 3103m and Tuca de Lliterola 3080m. Initially the snow can be quite steep although this can be preferable to the broken loose ground lying underneath! but gaining the crest reveals good rock and plenty of opportunities for scrambling.

Gaining the Crest
Approaching Punta de Lliterola
Pico Royo with Pico Perdiguero behind left
The ridge is followed easily down to Collado Superior de Lliterola. An initial fairly steep scramble establishes you on Perdiguero (or as it is affectionately known to my wife "Jenga Mountain" due to the generally loose nature of most of the blocks on the North face), so exposed crest or loose blocks, neither are that bad.

After the initial scramble Pico Perdiguero

Pico Perdiguro summit view

Portillon far below
The route is now reversed to regain the col to head directly back to Portillon, firstly on a large fairly steep snowfield, followed by boulder fields festooned with occasionally useful cairns. As the way opens up in a more northerly direction a path becomes more evident which eventually rejoins our earlier path to the Col Inferior.

Collada Superior de Lliterola crampon moment
Reaching the Refuge at 7pm meant they were going to be busy with their guests so we passed without a celebratory beer and continued a little further to a bivy spot for the night.(2200+m positive/850+m negative)

Looking back from Portillon at 7pm
Lots of hot coffee and sandwiches for supper we watched the stars on and off through the night before the 4hr stagger out the following morning.

Comfy Pyrenees bivy

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