After a comfortable night on Aliva Meadows, we decided to do ‘the best route in the eastern massif’ – the south ridge of Picu Jisu. Only first we had to decipher the location from Seb’s old Cicerone guide, which kept referring to named cols not marked on its maps, or indeed even within the area covered by said maps!Once we had ourselves facing the right way, and located the peak of the Picu in question from a map in the refugio cafe, we set off, following the written approach description. After a couple of hours steep scree walking we surmised that the feature we spied from the Meadows was not the ridge in question, and we were on the wrong side of the main ridge entirely. Suddenly the book approach made sickening sense, and after a relatively simple but time consuming navigation we found ourselves looking at the (huge) route that we had spent the best part of our day searching for. By then it was far too late to start, far too hot on a south face, and we had drank much of our water. Chalk it up to experience, enjoy the walk and think of getting mountain-fit. We sat in the shade, watched dogs herding goats by themselves, and vultures coasting on thermals.
Then we ‘Norwegian Power-Walked’ our way back to our stashed bags on Aliva Meadows and raced to el Cable for the last car down (which turns out not to be at the advertised 7pm, but more like 6.30, or whenever the staff just fancy knocking off…worth knowing if you are going to rely on it.)