Ascent of Mont Bessou on 2010-05-13

Climber: Lee Newton

Date:Thursday, May 13, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mont Bessou
    Elevation:3202 ft / 975 m

Ascent Trip Report

First find the small town of Meymac, then follow signposts to Mont Bessou (D36 north for about 4.5km, then turn left up the access road. Follow this, keeping right at the fork to the main parking.

From there follow a marked trail to the viewing tower, which claims to be 1000m high at the top (more on this later). The views are very nice but you are on the side of the mountain, not the top. Now face the tower looking uphill and take the path leading up through the woods on its left hand side. You will emerge in a little clearing at the edge of the fenced off area containing a massive communications tower. Thankfully (and remarkably) the trig point is just outside the fence on the west side of the compound. This is much bigger than a normal French trig, about 1m high. None of the 2 dozen or so people around the tower seemed interested in this point, presumably as there is no view but I was rather pleased to find the HP outside the fence for once.

The trig has a spot height of 976m. It is clearly around 10m descent to the base of the tower (my altimeter measured 12m drop ie 964m). The tower proclaims itsef to be 26m high (confirmed exactly by altimeter) with the top level at 1000m. The maths just does not add up. It is only 990m by my calculation plus or minus 2m at the most. So, either it was originally planned to site it on the summit, or the builders found a 36m high tower was too expensive and hoped no-one would notice...According to the following website, it appears to be the former.

Nevertheless it gives a fine view over the surrounding countryside towards the higher peaks of the Massif Central.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:117 ft / 34 m
    Extra Gain:16 ft / 4 m
    Round-Trip Distance:1 mi / 1.6 km
    Trailhead:Car park nearby  3117 ft / 950 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
Ascent Statistics
    Time:15 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:10 Minutes

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