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Fred - Tour de Pic du Midi d'Ossau May 2010


There I go for my next adventure. This time I want to explore the mountanous area west of the symbol of the Pyrenees, Pic du Midi d'Ossau (2,884 m), both in France and in Spain. Since it is still early in the season (May 29), I carry also crampons and pickel for the more steep snowfields higher up, but here at 1,400 meters close to the Lac de Bious Artigues they are still not necessary. This spot is also a starting point for an interesting and rewarding daytrip which attracts many enthousiasts in summer.
Tanya will drive back home, so it is 'goodbye' and 'I will call'.


There he is alredy, Pic du Midi d'Ossau (2,884 m), seen from the G.R. (Grande Randonnée = Long Distance Trail) number 10 at about 1,600 m just above Lac de Bious-Artigues. Note the forked top.


Again, but now from just under Lacs d'Ayous.


One of the Lacs d'Ayous (1,845 m), mostly frozen.


The same, just a bit higher up.


Lac Gentau (2,000 m), also still frozen, with Refuge d'Ayous on the right, still closed. The sign indicates Col d'Ayous (2,185 m), that is where I will go. But now it is also time to fix the crampons under my mountain shoes. Note the white/red flag on the pole, the waymark of a Long Distance Trail.


Up towards Col d'Ayous (2,185 m).


Looking back one last time, I notice the weather is changing. During the night and the next 2 days there was occasionally rain with mostly low clouds, unfortunately. On day 4 I encountered heavy fog on my way to Col de Pau at the French/Spanish border at just under 2,000 m., what made me decide to turn back, since I was not sure enough about the direction to take in a lot of snow.


Day 3. Close to Ibon d'Estanés in Spain. Snow on the 'Cuchet de Garay o la Mujer Muerta', I don't know what it means, but it all looks less friendly at this moment.


Ibon d'Estanés (1,750 m) with As Grabetas in the west.


Day 4. Lac d'Arlet with Pic d'Arlet (2.207 m), which I would climb the following day, but I didn't know that at that moment, yet.

Ossso 7

Refuge d'Arlet (1.986 m), also still closed. The little signpost indicates a watersource.


View to the east.

Cheminde L

'Le chemin de la liberté' (route to freedom), a memorial on Col de la Cuarde (1.980 m), for those who escaped to Spain during World War II (1939 - 1945) from by the German Nazi's occupied territory in Western Europe. A moment of reflection, for sure!

Gory s tablo

Day 5. At the border of the 'Parc National des Pyrénées', indicated by the white flash with in red the head of an 'isard' (kind of small deer) and the letters 'PN'.


Bivouac, and time for the first course of my dinner (soup with baked cheesesticks). It is also getting colder.


Day 6. Bivouac Achar d'Aguas Tuertas at the G.R. 11, with decor of Sierra de Bernera (around 2,300 m).

DarkBlue gory

Day 7. Cupula de Secus (2,430 m) seen from As Crabetas.

Lacke gory

Again, after some days, Ibon d'Estanés, this time from the Sierra de Bernera in the southeast, with Pic du Midi d'Ossau in the distance.

Lake Osso

Day 8. Ibon de Escalar (2,078 m).


Col des Moines (2,168 m) at the Spanish/French border, and again........indeed, now seen to the eastnortheast. Two people on a daytrip admiring the number on the borderstone.


Lac Casterau with the symbol of the Pyrenees for the last time this trip. We'll meet again.

Clouds mounta

Day 9. Early morning, still in nice weather, after a heavy thunderstorm with a lot of wind and grain the previous night. But ahead in the valley of the 'Gave de Bious' there are low clouds. Soon, when entering the clouds, fog will be all around. Later that morning again a thunderstorm would pass, but then I was already passing Lac de Bious-Artigues, direction the D 231 on my way to civilisation. I called Tanya the day before from the ski resort Candanchu, still in Spain, and agreed to meet in Gabas today at around 2PM.

Comin back Gabas

In Gabas (1,027 m), a small village at the 'Gave d'Ossau'. The end of this trip. Tanya arrives to pick me up, and what makes it extra special, she always brings a thermos flask with good coffee and something nice to eat.

Kof1 Kof2

Here the full tripreport:

Tour Pic Du Midi d’Ossau/Pyrenees – Mai 29 – June 6, 2010 (maps IGN no.3 Béarn/25 Anso-Hecho, both 1:50,000)

By car: - Miélan – Rabastens de Bigorre – D934 Vic en Bigorre – Morlaas - Pau – D938 Bizanos – D100 Jurancon – N134 Gan – D934 Laruns – dir. Col du Pourtalet, Gabas – D231 Lac de Bious Artigues – Parking well under barrage (1,350 m), since P at lake was already occupied.

Day 1. GR 10 Lacs d'Ayous 1,845 - Col d'Ayous 2,185; bivouac halfway to Refuge at border PN

Day 2. - Refuge de Larry 1,724 - Cabane Arnousse 1,500 - Plateau de la Gentiane 1,700 - Peyrenère, parking 1,450 - N134 sudouest, hairpin, parking 1,400; bivouac well before lake

Day 3. - Ibon d'Estanés 1,750 - HRP Cabane d'Escouret - Pla d'Espélunguerre 1,400; bivouac with view on Cabane Grosse

Day 4. HRP Cabane Grosse 1,623 - Col de Lapachouaou 1,891 - Refuge d'Arlet 1,986 - Cabane de Lapassia 1,800 - Col de Saoubathou 1,949 - Col de la Cuarde 1.980 - (Col de Pau 1.942) - Col de la Cuarde 1,980 - Col de Saoubathou 1,949 - Cabane de Lapassia 1,800; bivouac in hut

Day 5. HRP Refuge d'Arlet 1,986 - excursion Pic Arlet 2,207 - Col de Lapachouaou 1,891; bivouac close to old hut and abeam Cabane de Lurbé

Day 6. HRP Cabane Grosse 1,623 - Pla d'Espélunguère 1,400 - Puerto d'Escalé Aigue Torte 1,663 - Aguas Tuertas 1,620 - GR 11 Puente d'Os Chitanos 1,500 - Aguas Tuertas 1,620; bivouac

Day 7. GR 11 Col As Crabetas 1,929 - Ibon d'Estanés 1,750 - Pas d'Aspe 1,560; bivouac well before Pas (difficult crossing, meltwater)

Day 8. GR 11 Col de Causiat 1,630 - Candanchu 1,550 - HRP Puerto de Somport 1,632 - Astun 1,710 - Ibon de Escalar 2,078 - Col des Moines 2,168 - Lac Casterau 2,000 - Cabane de Cap de Pount 1,643; bivouac halfway to Col d'Aneou 1,900

Day 9. GR 10 Lac de Bious Artigues 1,417 - D231 Gabas 1,027
8 nights!


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 31st, 2011 12:39 pm (UTC)
impossibly beautiful! absolutely mind blowing! as well as the things Tanya cooks - if she brings at least a bit of nice food she shows us here - i would also pass mountains to reach it!))
Jan. 31st, 2011 06:11 pm (UTC)
Thanks, what is more, she also brings herself!
Jan. 31st, 2011 02:02 pm (UTC)
Really exciting, the greenery combined with the snow is something out of this world.
How did you manage not to get frozen with your bare knees (like here http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5205/5380659413_bd7420bbb0_z.jpg) ?
Jan. 31st, 2011 06:13 pm (UTC)
As long as I keep going, I can manage with bare legs. Realise, the temperature at this altitude and with sunshine is still well above zero. Thanks for comments.
Feb. 5th, 2011 10:54 am (UTC)
Вауууууу... Здесь вам не равнина, здесь климат иной...

А лавины там сходят, интересно ?
Feb. 6th, 2011 09:54 pm (UTC)
Лен - зимой лавины только так - но он специально в период - апрель - сентябрь уходит - стараясь не задевать те 4 дурацкие недели в Августе и Июле, когда весь мир в отпуске и людей тьма. Он сам.. вот такой он .. гордый орел да...

Но и летом можно хорошо шмякнуться или полететь вниз на вечном леднике или языке из снега - оно иногда тает "под" - а сверху не видно... снег как снег - а под ним щель !

- один раз так как провалилась .. (( неуютно мне было совсем!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )



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