Sunday, August 7, 2011

Le Pouce II

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Another trek to Le Pouce Mountain, this time with some fellow tweeps. That was on last Sunday, the 31st July.
It was only 3 weeks before that I had climbed Le Pouce, hence the experience was still fresh in my mind. But this time I was better prepared, so climbing it should be a cinch. I mean, how hard can it be?

Once again, as it turned out, it was very hard. The mountain, the trail, the weather, the views - in a number of ways, it was exactly the same as the last climb, except for one thing...

 

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So here we were, ready to conquer the 811m of Mt. Le Pouce.

 

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It was a perfect day. Plenty of sunshine, few clouds in sight & not a single drop of rain, unlike the previous 5 days.

 

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Dew on the plant leaves.

 

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After a brief walk through the sugarcane fields, we reached the base of the mountain.

 

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Hmm... that doesn't look good, does it?

 

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Time on my watch: 10:21. In less than 2h, we would be on the summit. Should be quick ascent.

 

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Except it wasn't. While I was familiar with the climb, the terrain conditions had changed drastically.

 

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A new adversary had surfaced - mud. Loads of it.

 

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The pass few days of rainfall had done its job, turning the trail into a swamp.

 

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Flowing water, treacherous rocks & the slippery mud.

 

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My battered shoe soles had practically no grip, which meant most of my climbing was done clinging to the leaves & branches.

 

We reached the first viewpoint where we rested for a while.

 

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A closer look on Guiby Peak.

 

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When we reached the rocky flank of the Le Pouce (the Z part), there was a tiny rivulet going down it.

 

Another rest panorama…

 

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Looking back at the road to Le Pouce.

 

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Once we crossed to the other side of Le Pouce, the sun appeared & the trail became less muddy.

 

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But not less difficult.

 

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We took another pause under the watchful eye of Le Pouce.

 

The view from the flank.

 

A short video...

 

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Araucaria trees growing in the wild. Now, that's something you don't see everyday.

 

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The ascent before we reached the base of the summit.

 

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A short rest before attacking the summit.

 

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The visibility was slightly better as we could practically see up to Ile Plate.

 

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Pieter Both.

 

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The final climb was slightly harder because of the moist earth. Fortunately, it wasn’t too windy so it was less cold.

 

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Finally we reached the summit at exactly 12:00. Despite all the obstacles, it took us only 1h 40 mins to climb Le Pouce. Impressive.

 

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Needless to describe how the view from above was...

 

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Champs de Mars & the harbour.

 

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The panorama.
It took me weeks & hours of running my CPU at 100% before I finally found the best software for panorama stitching - PTGui. (Although, for simple panoramas, Microsoft ICE is the best.)

 

& the video.

 

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We spent 45 mins on the summit before we set off for the journey home.

 

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This was the part I was dreading because climbing down on a muddy slope isn't exactly easy...

 

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Made it to the base unscathed.

 

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Going down the flank.

 

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A last look at the summit with this underground stream coming out of the rocks.

 

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In around 30 mins, we had already reached the other side of the mountain.

 

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The tiny rivulet on the rock ledge had turned into a torrent… which meant my shoes were completely soaked.

 

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St Pierre. Should be there in a couple of minutes.

 

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The descent wasn't so bad after all. The mud looked dry, right?

 

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I was wrong.

 

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As it happened, on that day Le Pouce was pretty crowded with even a gang of bikers making the climb. Unfortunately, that meant the trail had turned into a path of sludge.

 

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A natural toboggan, the likes of which I hadn't seen since Black River Gorges.

 

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It was a nightmare, because the mud has finally triumphed over my shoes. All the glue had dissolved, the soles had come off & I was slipping consistently, only the branches were keeping me from falling over.

 

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Oh yes, the trail was coming to an end...

 

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But before that there was this marsh.

 

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How do you cross this? Just like what I've been doing all day, powering through the plants on the side.

 

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Finally the ordeal was over!

 

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Jeans & shoes. Utterly ruined.

 

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After a brief rest, we went through the sugarcane fields until…

 

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Civilisation, at last!

 

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It felt so good walking through land that wasn’t sloping up or down, that didn’t have rocks &, most importantly, didn’t have mud that was trying to topple you over.

 

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So, Le Pouce... Twice I climbed it. & both times, it was a totally different experience.

 

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Despite all the adversities, the mud, my ruined shoes, the hot weather, the rocks... mountain-climbing is still fun. :)

 

 

Le Pouce GPS Map Trail

The trek map. Gpx of trail can be downloaded here.

 

Related:

3 comments

mauricianismes

"Despite all the adversities, the mud, my ruined shoes, the hot weather, the rocks... mountain-climbing is still fun."

Apparently some people even pay to undergo that kind of ordeal. Crazy world...

carrotmadman6

@Mauricianismes
I suppose you mean those "adventure parks."

Anonymous

You're talented. Beautiful pics

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