Gareth Evans

In May do as you please up the Cabaliros

May 2023.

In France there is an expression that says that you should not discard your warm clothes in April.  However, they say that "en mai fais ce qu'il te plaît.  Translation : "In May do as you please".  The Spanish go even further.  They say  "Hasta el 40 de mayo no te quites el sayo."  Translation : "Before the 40th of May (in orther words, the 9th of June!), don't take off your tunic!"  Another expression of theirs that is very fitting for 2023 is  "si en marzo mayea, en mayo marcea."  Translation : "If in March the weather is like in May, in May the weather will be like in March!"  Maybe our Spanish firends feel the cold more than us....or maybe they are wiser or more mistrusting when it comes to the weather

In any case, this year we were out on our balconies in March and in May it was very cold.  

I even continued with my snowshoe hikes, like this one where we went to camp on the summit of Cabaliros, a 2236m high mountain straddled between the Val d'Azun and Cauterets.  The toponym "Cabaliros" refers to the fact that this is ancient grazing land for horses.  

Cabaliros looks very easy from below, but one should really not underestimate it with snow underfoot.  The normal route in summer involves lots of tracks cutting diagonally across potentially dangerous slopes.  One should absolutely not follow the red-marked paths on the local maps.  You should wait until there is very little snow on the lower part of the mountain for easier access and then work out the rest according to the conditions and by interpreting the map's contour lines.

As I have climbed Cabaliros many times I know that the view from the top is totally breathtaking (it's cliché but it's true...).   Few accessible summits around Argelès-Gazost can rival it in terms of its panorama.  Except that this time round we got to travel to Scotland without getting on the plane.  To celebrate the marvellously thick mist, soft and white as a cloud (because it IS a cloud!), the best thing to do was to open a small bottle of whiskey and drink a toast to new adventures in the Pyrenees.  Because this was also what adventure is all can't have the postcard view promised by commercial websites every time.  We need to learn to savour the experience and find beauty in the small things, even in the mists of May.  




Gareth Evans

International Mountain Leader in the French Pyrenees
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+33 (0)7 81 51 04 60  
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