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the Degree Confluence Project
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France : Midi-Pyrénées

4.0 km (2.5 miles) SSW of Gazost, Hautes-Pyrénées, Midi-Pyrénées, France
Approx. altitude: 1361 m (4465 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap world confnav)
Antipode: 43°S 180°

Accuracy: 220 m (721 ft)
Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: Failing GPS signal and battery #3: Panorama view to the North and East #4: View of Tarbes in the distance to the Northeast #5: Justin Perry #6: Alan Hart making an attempt on the hill #7: Our route, such as the GPS handset was able to capture it

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  43°N 0° (visit #4) (incomplete) 

#1: The degree confluence viewed from the North, looking uphill about 220m away

(visited by Alan Hart and Justin Perry)

02-Aug-2005 -- On holiday in Gazost in the French Pyrenees, Justin Perry and Alan Hart idly decided to make an attempt on the 43 N, 0 E confluence, as the only previous attempt had been incomplete, coming within 140m of the confluence.

On August 2nd, 2005, We drove to Ourdon and took the unmade road that turns off left just before you enter the village. The first 1.5km are a public road. We parked by a hay baler a little before the road becomes a forestry route - though it's clear that on the right day and time you might get away with (illegally) driving further, probably to within 240m or so of the confluence.

At the first major switchback of the forestry route, there is a footpath turning off to the left, marked with yellow splashes, which appears to return to Gazost. We continued on the logging road, eventually arriving roughly at 43 degrees 0 minutes 7.2 seconds North and 0 degrees East - the closest easy walking point below the confluence, about 240m away. The one-way journey must be about 8 or 9km in total, beginning with 600m of climb followed by more gentle undulations of 100m or so.

This being a rather spontaneous attempt on the confluence, we found ourselves very poorly equipped. Our borrowed GPS struggled with low battery and poor visibility of the sky due to tree cover. We also lacked suitable clothing or walking equipment. The confluence is up a steep hill from the road - about 35 degrees to the horizontal. I (Alan) made an attempt at walking up the hillside and managed perhaps 15m of the 150m climb, but without any kind of anchor, rope or walking poles, the hillside was treacherous (the best handholds were small and loosely rooted ferns!). Wearing shorts had also not been the best idea that morning and I was left with throbbing nettle stings for around 48 hours! A rational fear of ticks, no doubt laden with deadly spirochetes, was the final straw. My closest approach was about 220m from the confluence (horizontally speaking).

Those wishing to attempt this confluence point from this direction would be well advised to wear thick, long trousers tucked into socks, good walking boots, thick gloves, and carry spiked poles or similar. Crampons or similar shoe spikes would actually be a good idea if the hillside is muddy. And without a means to get a GPS signal through heavy tree cover, you may not get that all important photo. We couldn't even get a proper signal on the forestry road.

We were disappointed not to beat the previous record (140m from the confluence, approaching from above), but pleased to have come so close with no preparation. Although the confluence has since been reached, we felt some of our pictures and our route were worthy of recording on the site.


 All pictures
#1: The degree confluence viewed from the North, looking uphill about 220m away
#2: Failing GPS signal and battery
#3: Panorama view to the North and East
#4: View of Tarbes in the distance to the Northeast
#5: Justin Perry
#6: Alan Hart making an attempt on the hill
#7: Our route, such as the GPS handset was able to capture it
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)