FIELD REPORT

Puy Mary

ADVENTURERS: Clément, Christopher, Nicolas, Louis, Guillaume

Puy Mary

ACTIVITIES

Trek in the mountains over 3 days to climb the Puy Mary Summit and hike around.

WEATHER CONDITIONS

Sunny during maybe 3 hours and after that, a real tempest

PACK

Mystery Ranch, Fjällräven, Tasmanian Tiger, Deuter

Field Report

Day 1: 8:00am – Breakfast

The day before our departure, the 5 of us met in a hotel to sleep near our point of departure. When we woke up we had a pretty good time to eat our breakfast outside! And what a breakfast! We found a small bakery selling blue cheese and potatoes cake. This meal put us in good condition to start.

After eating, we left to join Falgoux, our starting point and our theoretical point of arrival in 3 days.

9am, we put our backpacks on, and it’s off! We leave from the small village of Falgoux towards Puy Mary! the weather is mixed, the sky is cloudy but there is no rain or wind, the walk looks good.

We start by crossing a rather dense forest area which must bring us to the ridges of the Puy Mary massif. This first part of the day is very nice, the autumn landscapes are magnificent with a panel of colors worthy of the greatest painters! We are going through a real natural picture! We take advantage of nature, we observe the magnificent landscapes, it’s really off to a good start!

10:30am, we arrive on the ridge line. And there, it is not at all the same thing as during the crossing of the forest. We’re in the middle of the wind! The winds must easily reach 80km/h at times and to improve things, it starts to rain. Fortunately, we had planned the rain suit. We all sit for 5 minutes to equip ourselves and we resume walking. The next hour is going pretty well compared to the rest of the adventure. We suspected that the weather was not going to be terrible at certain times and we had planned waterproof clothes and bag covers. We managed to take advantage of the mountain scenery during this short lapse of time, we crossed the horse route, views of magnificent panoramas etc.

Unfortunately, the result is much less cheerful.

The weather has deteriorated to the point where it was almost impossible to move forward. We had to advance in the cloud layer with pouring rain and winds at almost 100km/h. A storm ! The temperature was probably close to 0°C, it was very difficult.

After about 1h30 of walking in these conditions, we decide to stop to take stock of the situation. It’s not engaging at all. We look at the map, and we make a decision.

The Puy Mary is not far away, and neither is our base for the last night. We decide to call the refuge keeper to ask if we can change our plans and come to the refuge from today. And he tells us that there are no problems and that, anyway, given the weather, we will be the only ones at the shelter. That’s to decide, we’re going to the Puy Mary and the bar at the pass.

This part is the worst of the day, we are soaked, it is cold, there is wind. We walk in peat bogs which are actually paths for cows and the peat is actually cow dung… We end up with peat up to the knees it’s nice! After a good hour’s walk in these conditions, we finally arrive at the pass which leads to Puy Mary! The bar is open! This is happiness! We sit for 45 minutes at the bar, we take the opportunity to dry ourselves, drink a good hot coffee.

The guard tells us that we will be the only ones at the shelter, that it is equipped with a shower, toilet, and a dormitory! It’s luxury, we didn’t want to sleep in a tent at all with this storm. We put our things down, we unpack the duvets which are wet, we install our beds for tonight.

Then we put our things to dry in the common room of the refuge in which there is a fireplace with a wood fire, it is comforting and it feels great to be able to warm up!

This is when we learn that in fact we hiked under a huge storm, the department is on orange storm alert since the previous evening. We understand better what we have suffered since morning.

The refuge is a 20min walk along the road, the carnage is finished!

We resume walking, towards the refuge. It’s the final stretch before our salvation!

We arrive around 3 p.m. at the refuge, the hunters who had reserved it for the day are packing their things, the guard is there and he is smiling! he understands why we wanted to come to the shelter earlier!

Outside, the storm does not weaken, it’s even worse and worse. We take advantage of the rest of the day to debrief on what we have done and what we could do the rest of the weekend but it is not easy to plan an outing with this time. We decide to leave the next morning to climb to the top of Puy Mary which is about an hour’s walk from the refuge and which takes us back to the bar where we warm up for lunch.

We use the rest of our day to tidy up, dry, discuss materials, hikes, a good time to share with friends by the fire.

At the end of the day, hunger begins to be felt, we did not take the time to eat at noon, it was impossible with the storm. And since we had planned a big meal in the evening, it’s time to prepare that! On the menu, Raclette! A typical French meal based on potatoes, cheeses and meat! All accompanied by a good bottle, a real meal as we like!

We spend the evening eating, laughing is one of the best hiking memories I have! A big moment!

It’s time to sleep, we go to the dormitory, under the frame of the refuge. The advantage is that you sleep dry, the problem is that the wind is getting stronger and the noise of it on the roof is horrible. We have a bad night but to think about it is still much better than sleeping in a tent!

The next morning after a good night after all, we take our breakfast together, we gather our things, we equip ourselves and we go up the Puy Mary. The ascent is easy, the path is paved. The weather is not as bad as the day before but it is still cold and cloudy but we have less rain.

After our little walk, we take advantage of the summit together to take a well-deserved group photo! We go down quietly to the bar to enjoy a good beer. We take advantage of this moment to decide what to do next. We check the weather and it’s not happy at all. The forecast is catastrophic and the weather is not going to get any better until we return.

We return to the refuge and we also wait for the guard. Once he returns to the shelter, we ask him if he can take us to the departure village so that we can collect the cars. We decide to hit the road to go home, the weather is really rotten. On the way back, we stop to see a beautiful waterfall and say goodbye. Everyone goes home.

The results of this story are quite mixed, we had a great time but unfortunately the weather was against us and that did not help. We also learned that having good equipment is crucial when doing this kind of outing. Without our equipment it could have ended badly. But let’s stay positive! And we are waiting for a new niche and good weather to complete this hike!

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