Although slightly shorter in distance and climbing than day 13, this was the hardest day of the trip so far. The steep grades up and down and the rocky trails made for slow progress. No rain, but mist throughout the day, only lifting for brief periods midday, and turning to drizzle at times in the afternoon making the rocky trail slippery. I left at 7:45 and reached the gîte in Gourette at 5:30. Climbed to 2465m today, but the views were limited.
The day included a cliff traverse on a narrow trail. A cable pinned to the rock face provided a welcome hand hold. The drop below the trail was at least 100m, but in the mist I couldn’t see it, probably just as well!
There were also snowfield traverses. Normally you follow established tracks in the snow, but on one very large snowfield there were no tracks where the tail ended at the edge of the snow and I didn’t like the fact that a stream was emerging from beneath the snowfield. I went around the field, crossed the stream, then worked my way along the edge of the field which I hoped would be solid. The snow was solid. Later in the day there were smaller snowfields with tracks, but the mist was so thick that I couldn’t see across the field. Each time I set out hoping to find the trail again at the end of the tracks and each time I did.
Gourette is a ski town and the CAF (French alpine club) gîte was quiet. Good food and a fireplace in the main room that was cheery on a damp foggy day.