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Pyrenees mid September - likely weather conditions

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Pyrenees mid September - likely weather conditions

Postby nickw1 » Fri Jul 27, 2012 1:51 pm

Hi,

As a result of what, in the main, has been a very disappointing summer here (southern England) so far, together with a recent two-week trip to the Tirol which was beset by near-constant "unsettled" weather with cloud covering the mountains at 2000-2500m and a fair amount of thunder, I feel in need of getting some sun and some mountain climbing in before the summer's out.

I've got a week's leave in mid-September (15th to 21st) and was considering the Pyrenees, specifically the French side of the central section (somewhere in the Breche du Roland area, nothing more specific as yet) - in the hope that somewhere further south might get more reliable weather. Can anyone give me an idea as to the probability of settled weather there at that time of year? What I would not want to do is book it up then find I just get the same experience I did in the Alps.

I know that one can never guarantee the weather but I'd probably only go if the chances of persistent "unsettled" weather is less than 20%. I could cope with a couple of rainy days in a week, or the "Colorado-type" weather of sunny mornings followed by scattered showers/storms in the afternoon (with no low cloud obscuring the storm clouds), but what I wouldn't want is day after day of cloud covering the summits, with intermittent rain most days, which due to the unusual jet stream pattern is what I got in the Tirol this year.

Can anyone with experience of the area at that time of year give some idea on the chances of reasonably good weather?

Thanks,
Nick
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Re: Pyrenees mid September - likely weather conditions

Postby Gangolf Haub » Sat Jul 28, 2012 9:27 am

Was there last year from mid Sept through start of Oct and we had only one bad day - the last. No rain until the end. I think the Spanish side of the range has even better weather at this time of the year. It might have been exceptional luck but the guidebooks will tell you that autumn is the most stable time of year.
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Re: Pyrenees mid September - likely weather conditions

Postby Diego Sahagún » Sat Jul 28, 2012 1:38 pm

Two or less days in a week there will so difficult to happen in late September unless you don't attempt the Pyrenean high or mid mountains...
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Re: Pyrenees mid September - likely weather conditions

Postby nickw1 » Sun Jul 29, 2012 2:35 pm

Diego Sahagún wrote:Two or less days in a week there will so difficult to happen in late September unless you don't attempt the Pyrenean high or mid mountains...


OK thanks, am a little surprised I have to admit given September is reasonably settled more often than not even up here. Am really looking to summit some peaks in good weather so maybe I'll have to think again...

Any other recommendations for a good mountain area in western Europe to visit (easy access train/air) in mid/late September with rocky 3000+ peaks with likely good weather i.e. not much rain, not much low cloud, low chance of snow.... and not excessively hot (<30C daytime max in the valleys) ?

Thanks,
Nick
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Re: Pyrenees mid September - likely weather conditions

Postby Gangolf Haub » Mon Jul 30, 2012 3:57 pm

Hmm - as I said, we had only one bad day in two weeks which went through the beginning of October.

The second "worst" day was this here:
http://www.summitpost.org/a-pyrenees-classic/758257

and we climbed a 3000er during the day. You never know but from your original post I see you are aware of that.

We always take two or three weeks of vacation in September and we always end up on the south side of the Alps main ridge. Dolomites, Julian Alps, anything around Vinschgau / Val Venosta. So far I can only remember two vacations in which we had snow, 2001 in the Dolomites and 2007 in the Julian Alps. Bad weather we had plenty, but most of the times only short spells. To me it feels like the farther you are from any kind of sea the better the weather will be. Therefore central Pyrenees or central southern Alps, anything between the Rhine River and Brenner Pass (or a bit beyond) seems safe.
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Re: Pyrenees mid September - likely weather conditions

Postby Diego Sahagún » Mon Jul 30, 2012 4:51 pm

nickw1, click on the first PDF here (http://www.google.es/search?hl=es&q=pir ... =0#mip=s:0) for information about precipitation in The Pyrenees (in Spanish).

Gangolf, I think that you had good luck then
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Re: Pyrenees mid September - likely weather conditions

Postby nickw1 » Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:55 am

Diego Sahagún wrote:nickw1, click on the first PDF here (http://www.google.es/search?hl=es&q=pir ... =0#mip=s:0) for information about precipitation in The Pyrenees (in Spanish).

Gangolf, I think that you had good luck then


Sadly my Spanish is restricted to a few words but I did understand the rainfall graph :) ... and am getting the impression through a bit more searching round that there's rather too high a chance of rain and low cloud on the high peaks at that time of year, though the foothills might be sunny.

Gangolf - thanks for the pics, I was referring to Diego when I made my comments as I figured he might be local. A shame, as it looks absolutely stunning. Maybe next July?
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Re: Pyrenees mid September - likely weather conditions

Postby Diego Sahagún » Wed Aug 01, 2012 11:45 am

nickw1, perhaps there will be no problem for a British. We don't like rain nor fog because they are usually not here in Central Spain. Go to The Pyrenees and try to enjoy. If not, you could go to Sierra Nevada, it's something that we've done sometimes in mid September
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Re: Pyrenees mid September - likely weather conditions

Postby visentin » Mon Aug 06, 2012 8:04 am

Yes, this time of the year is perfect. September and October.
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Re: Pyrenees mid September - likely weather conditions

Postby nickw1 » Tue Aug 07, 2012 8:15 pm

OK thanks for all the replies, I think (as long as it's not too expensive to get there) I'm going to chance it - it does look beautiful and even if I only get 3 really sunny days out of 7 it'll probably be worth it.

I'll probably head somewhere like Luz and if the weather's any good, attempt a 4 or 5 day trek in the mountains up near the Breche de Roland and try some of the 3000ers and cross into Spain. Are the huts likely to be quiet enough that time of year that I can just turn up midweek without having to book? (want to avoid booking for a given date then find I get 3 days of rain then...) What about hotel accommodation?

Diego - yes I'm used to rain in the hills in places like Wales and Scotland. But 2012 has been the Year of Eternal Rain and I'd quite like a break ;-)
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