The region around the 3355 m high Mont Perdu or Monte Perdido is located in the central Pyrenees in the French-Spanish border area. It was honored for its impressive geological formations, the large number of endemic plants and animals and the special high mountain culture of its residents.
Mont Perdu mountain landscape: facts
|Official title:||Mountain landscape of Mont Perdu / Monte Perdido in the Pyrenees|
|Cultural and natural monument:||Massif Mont Perdu-Tres Serols / Monte Perdido-Tres Sorores and Mont Perdu / Gavarnie; i.a. including Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park and the eastern part of the Pyrénées Occidentales National Park, total area 306.39 km²; Heights up to 3355 m (Monte Perdido / Mont Perdu); Settlement from 40,000-10,000 BC Chr.|
|Country:||France / Spain|
|Location:||in the Central Pyrenees on the France / Spain border, between Torla (Spain) and Gavarnie (France)|
|Appointment:||1997, expanded in 1999|
|Meaning:||exceptional geomorphological formations such as the Kar, a natural amphitheater, and a high endemism of flora and fauna|
|Flora and fauna:||more than 1500 plant species, 50 of which only occur here; Ramonda myconi and the saxifrage species Saxifraga longifolia and S. iratiana, Androsace pyrenaica, Borderea pyrenaica, as well as oak species such as Quercus ilex rotundifolia and Quercus faginea, pine, silver fir; Alpine marmot, ermine, roe deer and 800 Pyrenean chamois, insectivorous Pyrenean desman; Birds such as the lammergeyer, the snowfinch, the Alpine brownelle, the Bonelli’s eagle, the alpine chough, the rock ptarmigan, the capercaillie, the wheatear, the common redstart; Amphibians such as Pyrenean newt and common frog|
Grandiose elemental force with a backdrop of water and ice
The legend of the »lost mountain«, the Mont Perdu / Monte Perdido, knows no primary rock from the Upper Cretaceous and Tertiary, no geological folding phases and no erosion. All she knows about is a shepherd and a ragged beggar who repeatedly asks the shepherd for a few chunks of bread. But he waves it down hard-heartedly, whereupon the sky turns from blue to black. A thunderstorm front grows grumbling. “Hurry to my flock,” thinks the shepherd, over which lightning and thunder break in. He’s never seen again, damned by the mysterious stranger. This was none other than San Antonio, who had put a curse on the shepherd: “Because of your avarice you will disappear forever. And where you disappear, a mighty mountain will appear; a mountain as great as your lack of mercy.
According to internetsailors, a wild backdrop of water and ice surrounds the Perdido, which, together with the Cilindro and the Ramond, forms the Tres Sorores mountain range and scratches the sky between France and Spain. With its glaciers, canyons and grottoes, with its stone towers and cones and the vertical flanks, which fall hundreds of meters deep into the basin, nature shows itself of grandiose elemental force – and draws hikers and mountaineers under its spell in the warmer seasons. Snow storms rage in winter, and then abundance of water and streams freeze over. During this time, the national parks Pyrénées Occidentales and Ordesa y Monte Perdido recover from the flow of visitors.
The rock formations of slate, sandstone and limestone contrast with the color symphonies of the lower areas. Boxwood and sycamore maple, pasque flowers and crocuses thrive here. Otters and muskratos dive into icy waters. Chamois jump nimbly over rubble, and marmots quickly disappear into their earthworks as soon as an enemy approaches. Wild cats and foxes lie in wait motionless for their prey, while golden eagles build their nests in lonely, rugged places on the steep rock faces.
The ice age glacier flows have left U-shaped valleys, such as the wild and romantic Ordesa valley, the Spanish »hiking classic« on the side of the winding Aragonese village of Torla. The path leads steadily uphill towards the Monte Perdido massif and follows the upper reaches of the Río Arazas. The river gurgles and gurgles unmistakably as it plunges into the depths in multi-level cascades, shoots through natural channels and forms crystal-clear pools. Pine trees give off a bewitching scent and alternate with rose hip bushes, moss-covered stones and forest islands made of birch and beech. The wide end of the Ordesa Valley, which was once filled with glacier masses, opens up like a big screen – an amphitheater of nature, laid out with a light green pile of ground and all around constricted by threatening gray scree slopes and monumental rock flanks, which are partly covered by ice and snow. The rough high meadow carpet is interspersed with prickly bushes and the scattered knee-high offspring of pines. In between, boulders pile up, which appear to have been thrown into the distance by a Cyclops hand. Matching the horseshoe shape of the valley basin at the extreme end: the Cascada Cola de Caballo, the »ponytail cascade«. There’s nothing to shake about the name: The wall of water brushes the dark rock as a large, white tail. In between, boulders pile up, which appear to have been thrown into the distance by a Cyclops hand. Matching the horseshoe shape of the valley basin at the extreme end: the Cascada Cola de Caballo, the »ponytail cascade«. There’s nothing to shake about the name: The wall of water brushes the dark rock as a large, white tail. In between, boulders pile up, which appear to have been thrown into the distance by a Cyclops hand. Matching the horseshoe shape of the valley basin at the extreme end: the Cascada Cola de Caballo, the »ponytail cascade«. There’s nothing to shake about the name: The wall of water brushes the dark rock as a large, white tail.