Backcountry Skiing in the Pyrenees

Personal log of a novice backcountry skier in his backyard

San Lorenzo (La Rioja) – 13 April 2013

Very often things don’t work out the way we’d like to. Last week, after my rainy skin day in Le Lioran I was amping for the next day, which was supposed to offer blue bird conditions for a last skin in the area… except that I spent a bad night with flu and, instead of enjoying a nice day in the snow, I drove back home to Donosti feeling sick and weak.

I must say I wasn’t too bummed, as the forecast was for a short -but heavy- snowfall for the weekend (last). “Saioa maybe?” I thought… It did really snow but it was short-lived with the April sun, and by the time I managed to escape to the mountains (Tuesday) there was hardly anything left.

Then out of the blue Andoni phoned a proposed a plan for Friday (yesterday) somewhere in France, not unlike the Col d’Aoube. “Cool…” I exclaimed, “…somewhere new and Andoni is a cool guy to go out with as we sort of like the same kind of places!”. Unfortunately at 5am on Friday (1 hour before we were due to meet) Andoni phoned to say he was not feeling well.

So that left me with today and the plan to hit San Lorenzo -and maybe ski the south side- with Putxi. You might remember that last time we didn’t quite summit the peak because of heavy winds and cloud cover. So with that in mind last night I drove to Valdezcaray where I hooked up with Putxi. We slept in our vans in the car park, and this morning we started skinning up way before they opened the lifts, right by sunrise. The skin up to the top lift was quite fast for me, but Putxi was struggling and not feeling very well. So we decided to just hit the summit and ski down through the normal route (not the South side). We were the first ones to top the summit today, and we met plenty of other rando skiers going up by the time we skied down.

So although the day didn’t go as planned (nor the week), I still had a good day in the snow… the 21st so far this season. We’ve got a week of unseasonably high temperatures ahead of us, which will help in stabilizing the snow in the Pyrenees. Let’s see what comes next.



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This entry was posted on April 13, 2013 by in Spring and tagged , , , , .
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