Spring snow

My family and I spent last weekend with a bunch of folks from Ruth's host lab in a gîte in the French Pyrénnées below the Cirque de Gavarnie [map]. It snowed enough to allow the kids to do a bit of sledding and construct some bonhommes de neige. Another product of the snowstorm was this titanic avalanche in the cirque.


This photo was taken from the deck of the gîte. The rumble arrived a second or two after. I'd been shooting down the valley and missed the beginning of the slide. If it had occurred fifteen minutes earlier, I would have had a front row seat (sans camera); I had just returned from a run to the base of the cirque. I haven't seen reports of injuries, but the ascending hikers I passed on my way down must have had quite a shock.

A few minutes later there was a second smaller slide.


Being an utterly amateur photographer, I muffed the exposure of these shots. Cascading snow clouds in flat light is probably a difficult subject even for the pros, eh? I did finally remember to flip the camera and zoom in a bit as the second slide poured into the bottom of the cirque.


That's more than one thousand meters from the starting zone to the base of the cirque. Kaboom!

We can't get enough of this region and are going to Pau in July to watch some stages of the Tour de France. 16 is the seventh Luchon-Pau stage, passing over the Cols de Peyresourde, Aspin, Tourmalet, and Aubisque. 17 is a return along the route to the 2nd ever finish at the Col du Tourmalet. To reach Gavarnie we traversed a stretch of the routes – the D921 between Argeles-Gazost and Luz-Saint-Saveur.


Re: Spring snow

Author: Mike

Stunningly beautiful! I've familiar with the summer appearance of the Pyrénnées (sadly only via television), from the Tour de France's annual visit. Stages 16 and 17 should prove wonderful to view in person.