Gara splitboards present and future in the Pyrenees

Gara Pyrenees261

Czech Republic is green. The tractors are seen more frequently. Germany 10 points. Hay mowing is running all over. Highway is fast, very fast! Do not know why but France is closer to my soul in some way. Maybe because the radio station sounds better. Or maybe the views are less perfect, nicer in a way. Anyways… I can smell the country side from the highway parking lot. I hung the hamaca and fall asleep while the trucks are passing by full speed.

I can´t sleep so I hit the road early. When the sun comes up I can see how beautiful are the lands around. France is big country, green and there are white cows on the fields all around the highway. I pulled off to eat and get some siesta hamaca session. Unfortunately this jewel of a camper van is not mine, but at least I took this pic. On the road again. The bridges over the valleys are huge. Almost as big as a trafic jam in Toulouse. While heading down south the landscape is changing.

The very first village still in the french part of the mountains and I stay mouth wide opened. It´s hard to stop wondering as I go uphill crossing the border with Spain. On the other side of the tunel I find myself in the middle of the scary storm. I drive down slow. It´s getting dark and the clouds stay down in the valley when I arrive to Benasque. Strange feeling to be back in the place where I did my farewell to Spain years ago. Czech guy Jirka is picking me up. We go for a beer where we meet the other splitboarders who came all the way from Madrid. I am K.O. after the long drive so I hung the hamaca in the park and try to get some sleep. The stars are shining and the near by river is whispering into the night. By 2 AM the rain wakes me up, which really sucks! Time to prove my bivy-bag.

I close the air went in order to don´t get wet and sleep until the three caracter stay obove me. Get up, stand up, it´s morning and it´s beautiful outside! I could tell, buddy. We pack our stuff and ride up to the mountains which look familiar to me. It´s very windy, still we decide to give it a try. It´s me and my spanish friends. We are late on the approach. Mountaneers, already descending, are asking where do we go that late. Just to make some turns, no worries… Not a festival ride but still not so bad for a middle June turns.

When we wake up in the morning I can clearly see the first groups of the climbers going up with their had-lamps on. The place is way more busy compared to last night. We drink coffe. Make a quick visit to the eco-latrin and we are off to Maladeta.

I was right. By the sunrise we are on snow starting to skin-up. It´s crowdy. Mountaneers with the crampons are faster than us, but the way down will play an important role this day.
Sun is low and therefore the snow is still well conserved after the chilly night.
Watch closely. From this point was pretty obvious what awaited us on the approach to the last part of the ascent. One could call it the ants in a row. It was so cool to be up there with Jirka. He´s the one who knows the local conditions meanwihle being fun kind of a guy. You know, the one you want to be with up in the mountains.

After hours of skinning we took the splitboards off and stared at the “ants in the row”.
These guys at the “camp 2” were stoked about our splitboards. So for the very first time I felt like Gara amabassador explaining what is splitboard, how it works and that we are ordinary czech guys who try to build an extraordinary custom made splitboards.

When the steep and technical part got little more quiet we ascended the windy mountain top of Maladeta (3308m). The view from the top is epic. In front of us spreads the glaciar which is kinda ugly. Ugly to point that is beautiful. On the left we can see people on try to reach Aneto – the highest mountain in the Pyrenees.

We are right under the top. Ready to strap in. The stoke is high. The upper part of the descend is to my surprise very fast and smooth. Quick turns are changed for those large ones. When we stop I can not believe that riding in the middle of June in Spain can get that good. The rest of the ride down gets more technical yet fun splashing the spring slash around on the rocks.

Once off the snow we walk down quickly. Maybe it´s because we are still pumped after the epic ride we´ve just done or I was simply right and the descend on splitboards has proven my thoughts from the early morning.

Super happy to be back in Pyrenees.

And that was it. We were chilling, listening to Bob Marley, watching the other bands to come down, sipping Pislner Urquell beer (czech made). For us the very best way how to celebrate an epic day out splitboarding.

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