Friday, 4 September 2015

The Auvergne (5)

Our next outing was to Puy de Sancy, which wasn't far from Chambon - over the mountain pass, down into Montdore and up to the car-park for the cable car station. At 1886 metres (6200 feet), Puy de Sancy is the highest mountain in the Massif Central, part of an extinct stratovolcano.  4 minutes ascent  from the car park in the cable car brings you up a further 455 metres, leaving the final ascent to be made up 846 wooden steps, to protect the mountain. It's still a pretty steep climb, some of it is almost like a ladder. From the top you have a panoramic view in every direction - we even caught a brief glimpse of Mont Blanc in the distance.

view from the upper cable car station

This photo is actually from our second climb. I've inserted here because you can see the trail we took as our descent for the first expedition ; it runs to the left below a viewing point, and then along the ridges of the craters until it's time start the descent - or continue even further.

After descending from the peak, we took the turn towards the left at the Pas de l'Ane, and then at the next junction we took the right path, along the Val de Courre. I can't remember the distance; unfortunately I've deleted the photos I had on my phone which had details of the path we were following.

The summit, seen from the cable car station.

Looking down over Montdore

One of the crater lakes, similar to Lac Pavin

Near the end, a last, easy part of the climb.

Looking up towards the upper cable car station

I don't have a good head for heights, so some of this wasn't easy for me, but it was still very enjoyable. However, for the difficult parts I couldn't take any photos, as I had to concentrate on just looking ahead of me, trying to ignore the sheer slopes on either side. Once we got to the easy part when we were climbing down the mountainside rather than scrambling along the crater ridges, it was much easier and I was able to enjoy the scenery and wildlife. Again we saw a lot of birds of prey - near the peak we saw a raven and a black kite, and some sort of eagle as well as many buzzards. 
Near the bottom, we could hear a really unusual call. At first I thought it was a bird, but it was so loud that we paused to look and look - and were rewarded with spotting this little marmot. I've added a video - there's a fair amount of wind noise, but you can hear his call and how it echoed around the valley. They are quite small, and he was a long way away, so it's only a for-the-record photo. C was able to see him through the smaller spotting scope which we had brought with us.

1 comment :

  1. Oh, the heights would get me too, but not as much as my husband. What beautiful vistas. And what an active holiday you had. It looks like you picked a great time of the year also. Thank you for sharing your journey.