The adventure begins on the day of the 18th of July at the Espluges de Llobregat, where we had to fit 5 people, 5 back-packs, mountain equipment and food for 10 days in a renault clio - luckily we had a Thule. From Esplugues we took the national 2 highway in direction of Sallent de Gallego, where we arrived after lunch. Sallent de Gallego was where we started to hike, but our arrival was at the National Park of Ordesa, so we divided ourselves into two groups - three of us stayed to buy bread and look after the equipment, while Angel and I went to leave the car at Ordesa. Our intention was to come back by bus, but at the end, an elderly french couple brought us there by car.
It was then time to spread the weight evenly between us, the tents, the equipment and starting to hike. I remember that nothing more fitted inside my 90 litre back-pack, and on top of that I was carrying my mattress and my pickaxes, and some other equipment that was hanging from the top of my bag. It wasn't like we were carrying too many changes of clothes - I think we only changed once in 10 days - our back-pack was packed with food.
The first night (17/07/1991)
As you may imagine, after a whole day of car-ride, it was hard to load. After loading a few hours, when it started getting dark, we arrived at a lake - I think it was the Ariel alto. Once at the lake, we were so tired, that all our plans went out of the window... we sat down, opened our back-packs, and started eating some bread with chocolate, a bit of dried sausage. We didnt have energy for anything else. We ate about half the chocolate we were carrying.
And planting the tent...? We were out of strength, the night was starry, so we decided to bivouac. Our exhaustion helped us fall asleep, at the fresh breeze of the morning helped us wake up very early.
Day 2 (18/07/1991)
One of the first decisions we took was to be more disciplined with our food - as we would have to return in two days if we continued eating at the pace we did on the first night. So we split the amount of cookies and sips of milk each person was allowed to.
Once having cleared these points out, carrying our back-packs, it was time to start walking again, and this was now serious. We had to reach the Balaitous (3.144m), a solitary summit crowned by a sort of metalic structure in the shape of a pyramid and a geodesic point. Having made the first summit we were already exhausted. From the summit we descended in direction to the Gran Facha, which we did on the 19th. This night we did plant the tent and we could rest a little.
Day 3 (19/07/1991)
The third day, I recall hiking a lot - it wasn't that we was a lot of slope, but a lot of distance. The Gran Facha (3.006m) was quite quick to reach, we decided to leave our back-packs at the col, so that enabled us to get to the summit quickly and continue walking towards the Vignemales.
Day 5 (21/07/1991)
We had already spent four days walking and everything hurt. Some of us had many blisters on our feet, but the most interesting part of our journey was approaching us. On the 5th day we arrived at the refuge of Vignemale, we left our back-packs, went to hike the Petit-Vignemale (3.032m), which we did in only 30 minutes, we were quite strong. While we were descending we heard someone speaking in Catalan, and the voice was familiar.. it was Jordi Lòpez, a mate from GELS with his friend. It was a lively night, a storm with impressive electric storm. Each time there was lightning, the tent would light up, and the thunder would make it tremble.
Day 6 (22/07/1991)
Climbing the Vignemales from the refuge is rather quick, and it wasnt the first time climbing a glacier, but putting your crampons, pickaxes and wear a short-sleeve shirt is not very normal. Safety goes first and although crampon made us struggle a little, we climbed the most important summits of the Vignemales: el Grand Vignemale (3.298m), Cerbillona (3.247m), i el Pic Central (3.235m), and if that wasn't enough, we entred the coves (caves) de Russell. Once having made it to these summits, it was time to descend to go to the circ of Gavarnie.
Day 7 (23/07/1991)
During this day we climbed a summit of 2600 metres called the Pico de San Andrès. Days had passed since we had last ate some bread, and arriving at the port of Boucharro, there was no one, but on the floor there was a piece of bread, and without asking whether it was good or bad, we simply ate it. From the port, we could see some impressive views of the Roldan breach, we had to climb some more to sleep at the refuge of Sarradets. That night we slept at the refuge but we did not eat there as we did not have enough money.
Day 8 (24/07/1991)
From the refuge of Sarradets to the Roldan breach seams to be there, but the truth is that the breach is immense, precious. From the breach we climbed the Taillon (3.144m) and the Casco (3.006m) , and we visited the cave of Casteret. We spent the night at Goriz, but we slept in a tent. The blisters were hurting and Oriol had his feet covered with blisters so we decided to shorten our route and return after having arrived at the Mont Perdut. That night we ate at the refuge to celebrate, we were so hungry we counted the number of spoon-fulls of soup and when the people saw this, they offered their remains. One of our mates, in returning his tray, realised that people were leaving a lot of chicken and bread and so he put himself in the queue and collected the trays and took the bread and chicken that people were throwing away. Its a shame we didnt think of doing that before in the preious refuges we had stayed at.
Day 9 (25/07/1991)
The next day a couple approached us and offered us their spare marmelade... yes, the only thing we had was marmelade...
Our plan of the day was to climb the Tres Sorores, which include the Mont Perdut (3.355m), the Soum de Ramond (3.254m) and the Cilindro de Marboré (3.325m), and we did them... During our way back, we collected our tent at the refuge, descended by the grades de Soaso, got into our car and went home.
A unique adventure!