Guidebooks for walkers, mountaineers, trekkers, climbers and cyclists

Explore the Pyrenees with a Cicerone guidebook

Cover of Walks and Climbs in the Pyrenees
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Published
28 Jan 2015
ISBN
9781852847814
Edition
Sixth
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17.2 x 11.6 x 2.6cm
Weight
490g
Pages
416
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Walks and Climbs in the Pyrenees

Walks, Climbs and Multi-day Treks

by Kev Reynolds
Published by Cicerone Press

Guidebook describing 170 routes for walks, climbs and multi-day treks on both sides of the Pyrenees, including a circuit of Andorra's Frontier Peaks. The 3000m summits are within reach of any hill walker and offer a variety of terrain. The day walks range from 30 minutes to 9 hours and the multi-day walks from 2 to 12 days.

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November 2014

Refuge de Barroude (on routes 81 and 82)

Sadly this refuge was destroyed by fire on the night of 10/11 October 2014. A replacement is expected to be built on the same site, but no details are available as we go to print.

Description

Essential guidebook of walks and climbs in the Pyrenees, with over 170 day walks, multi-day walks, climbing routes and mountaineering ascents. Covers all valleys and peaks on both sides of the border with France and Spain, with through routes and peaks to bag, as an introduction to one of Europe's finest mountain ranges.

The active walker, trekker and climber is spoilt for choice. There are exquisite valleys and passes to wander and summits of 3000m and more within the reach of most hill walkers. The landscape is full of diversity and contrast, with Alpine-style peaks over 3000m, small glaciers, deep gorges and more than a thousand mountain lakes. The range is also known as the 'flower garden of Europe', and the wildlife includes various species rarely seen elsewhere on the continent. Since the first edition appeared in 1978, Walks and Climbs in the Pyrenees has become accepted as the authoritative guide to the range and has been continuously updated and in print. For centuries the Pyrenees were dismissed as holding little of importance to the climber and mountain walkers ignored them almost completely. But all that has changed and the Pyrenees have now become the focus of attention for mountain activists of all degrees of commitment. 

The guidebook divides the range into 21 sections, including Andorra, the Ordesa National Park, the Carlit Massif, Gavarnie and the Cirque du Lescun to name a few. Each area includes practical information on travel, accommodation and mountain refuges, as well sketch mapping. Between short, half-hour walks, to 12-day treks and 25 summits, this guidebook will help any walker, climber or trekker experience the best of the Pyrenees.

  • Activities
    walking, climbing, multi-day trekking
  • Seasons
    Winter stretches from November to April; summer activities between May and October, although snow may hold on into July; thunderstorms on hot summer afternoons
  • Centres
    Etsaut, Borce, Lescun, Laruns, Gabas, Eaux-Bonnes, Gourette, Arrens, Lac d'Estaing, Cauterets, Gavarnie, Torla, Bielsa, Gèdre, Héas, Barèges, St-Lary, Benasque, Eriste, Arties, Salardu, Bohi, Espot, Capdella, Àreu, Vicdessos, Andorra, Ax-les-Thermes, Porté-Putmorens
  • Difficulty
    from easy day walks to climbing and mountaineering routes of the Pyrenees' highest peaks, long-day and multi-day mountain walks
  • Must See
    multi-day tours and mountaineering ascents throughout the High Pyrenees; all valleys and peaks from France and Spain, with through routes and peaks to bag

Contents

Contents
Introduction
The Mountains
National Parks
Vegetation
Wildlife
Getting There
Weather
Equipment
Refuges, Gîtes and Camping
Maps
Emergency Services
Using the Guide
Information at a Glance
The French Pyrenees: Cirque de Lescun to the Carlit Massif
1 Cirque de Lescun: Routes 1–11
Route 1 Lescun – Refuge de Labérouat
Route 2 Lescun – Pic d’Anie
Route 3 Lescun (Parking Nabia) – Lac de Lhurs
Route 4 Lescun – Cabane de Pédain
Route 5 Cabane de Pédain – Cabane d’Ansabère
Route 6 Lescun – Cabane d’Ansabère
Route 7 Cabane d’Ansabère – Pic d’Ansabère
Route 8 Lescun (Pont Lamary) – Lac d’Ansabère – Ibón de Acherito
Route 9 Cabane d’Ansabère – Col de Burcq – Refuge d’Arlet
Route 10 Cirque de Lescun and the Frontier Ridge
Route 11 Lescun to Refuge d’Ayous via Etsaut
2 Pic du Midi d’Ossau: Routes 12–20
Route 12 Lac de Bious-Artigues – Refuge d’Ayous
Route 13 Lac de Bious-Artigues – Col de Suzon – Refuge de Pombie
Route 14 Lac de Bious-Artigues – Col de Peyreget – Refuge de Pombie
Route 15 Ossau Valley (Caillou de Soques) – Refuge de Pombie
Route 16 Col du Pourtalet (Anéou Pastures) – Refuge de Pombie
Route 17 Refuge de Pombie – Pic du Midi d’Ossau
Route 18 Ayous Lakes Circuit
Route 19 Tour of Pic du Midi d’Ossau
Route 20 Extended Tour of Pic du Midi
3 Balaïtous: Routes 21–35
Route 21 Ossau Valley (Caillou de Soques) – Refuge d’Arrémoulit (via Passage d’Orteig)
Route 22 Ossau Valley (Caillou de Soques) – Refuge d’Arrémoulit (via Lac d’Artouste)
Route 23 Lac d’Artouste – Refuge d’Arrémoulit
Route 24 Refuge d’Arrémoulit – Pic Palas
Route 25 Refuge d’Arrémoulit – Col du Palas – Port du Lavedan – Refuge de Larribet
Route 26 Plan d’Aste – Lac de Suyen – Refuge de Larribet
Route 27 Plan d’Aste – Refuge Ledormeur
Route 28 Plan d’Aste – Refuge de Migouélou
Route 29 Lac d’Artouste – Col d’Artouste – Refuge de Migouélou
Route 30 Refuge d’Arrémoulit – Col d’Arrémoulit – Refugio Respomuso
Route 31 Sallent de Gallego (Puente de la Fajas) – Refugio Respomuso
Route 32 Tour of the Balaïtous Region
Route 33 Lac du Tech (Vallée d’Arrens) – Lac de Pouey-Laün
Route 34 Refuge d’Arrémoulit – Balaïtous
Route 35 Refuge de Larribet – Balaïtous
4 The Gourette Massif: Routes 36–38
Route 36 Gourette – Lac d’Anglas
Route 37 Gourette – Lac d’Uzious – Lac du Lavedan
Route 38 Gourette – Lac du Tech – Arrens-Marsous – Gourette
5 Vallée d’Estaing: Routes 39–42
Route 39 Circuit of Lac d’Estaing
Route 40 Lac d’Estaing – Lac du Plaa de Prat
Route 41 Lac d’Estaing – Col d’Ilhéou – Refuge d’Ilhéou
Route 42 Lac d’Estaing – Lac du Barbat
6 Vallée du Marcadau: Routes 43–53
Route 43 Cauterets – Pont d’Espagne – Chalet-Refuge du Clot
Route 44 Chalet-Refuge du Clot – Refuge Wallon
Route 45 Pont d’Espagne – Refuge Wallon
Route 46 Refuge Wallon – Grande Fache
Route 47 Refuge Wallon – Port du Marcadau
Route 48 Refuge Wallon – Pic de Cambalès
Route 49 Refuge Wallon – Col de Cambalès
Route 50 Marcadau Lakes Circuit
Route 51 Refuge Wallon – Col d’Arratille
Route 52 A Tour of the Arratille Valley
Route 53 Refuge Wallon to Gavarnie
7 Vignemale: Routes 54–61
Route 54 Pont d’Espagne – Refuge des Oulettes de Gaube
Route 55 Refuge des Oulettes de Gaube – Refuge de Bayssellance
Route 56 Refuge des Oulettes de Gaube – Petit Vignemale
Route 57 Hourquette d’Ossoue – Pointe Chausenque
Route 58 Gavarnie (Barrage d’Ossoue) – Refuge de Baysellance
Route 59 Refuge de Bayssellance – Vignemale
Route 60 Refuge des Oulettes de Gaube – Col des Oulettes – Torla
Route 61 Refuge des Oulettes de Gaube – Refuge d’Estom
8 Vallée de Lutour: Routes 62–65
Route 62 Cauterets – La Fruitière
Route 63 La Fruitière – Refuge d’Estom
Route 64 Refuge d’Estom – Lac Glacé
Route 65 La Fruitière – Refuge Russell
9 Gavarnie: Routes 66–78
Route 66 Gavarnie – Plateau de Bellevue – Gavarnie
Route 67 Gavarnie – Hôtellerie du Cirque – Gavarnie
Route 68 Gavarnie – Refuge des Espuguettes
Route 69 Gavarnie – Refuge des Espuguettes – Piméné
Route 70 Gavarnie (Col de Tentes) – Pic de Tentes – Pic de la Pahule
Route 71 Gavarnie – Refuge de la Brèche
Route 72 Col de Tentes – Port de Boucharo – Refuge de la Brèche
Route 73 Gavarnie – Refuge de la Brèche
Route 74 Refuge de la Brèche – Pic du Marboré
Route 75 Refuge de la Brèche – Tour du Marboré
Route 76 Refuge de la Brèche – Casque du Marboré
Route 77 Refuge de la Brèche – Pic du Taillon
Route 78 Refuge de la Brèche – Refugio de Góriz
10 Estaubé, Troumouse and Barroude: Routes 79–82
Route 79 Barrage des Gloriettes – Cabane d’Estaubé
Route 80 Héas – Lacs des Aires – Le Cot
Route 81 Héas – Hourquette d’Héas – Hourquette de Chermentas – Refuge de Barroude
Route 82 Refuge de Barroude – Pic de Port-Vieux – Port Vieux – Refuge de Barroude
11 Réserve Naturelle de Néouvielle: Routes 83–94
Route 83 Barèges – Refuge de la Glère
Route 84 Barèges (Pont de la Gaubie) – Lac dets Coubous
Route 85 Barèges (Pont de la Gaubie) – Cabane d’Aygues-Cluses
Route 86 Barèges (Pont de la Gaubie) – Col de Madamète – Pic de Madamète – Lac dets Coubous – Pont de la Gaubie
Route 87 Barèges (Pont de la Gaubie) – Col de Madamète – Chalet-Hôtel de l’Oule
Route 88 Barèges (Pont de la Gaubie) – Hourquette Nère – Refuge de Bastan
Route 89 Chalet-Hôtel de l’Oule – Refuge de Bastan
Route 90 Artigues (Col du Tourmalet road) – Refuge de Campana de Cloutou
Route 91 Vallée de Couplan – Chalet-Hôtel de l’Oule
Route 92 A Walking Circuit of Lac de l’Oule
Route 93 A Circuit of Lac d’Aumar
Route 94 A Néouvielle Lakes Circuit
12 Lac d’Oô and the Cirque d’Espingo: Routes 95–97
Route 95 Granges d’Astau – Lac d’Oô – Refuge d’Espingo
Route 96 Refuge d’Espingo – Refuge du Portillon
Route 97 Refuge d’Espingo – Port d’Oô – Refugio de Estós
13 Vallées de la Pique and du Lis: Routes 98–102
Route 98 Vallée du Lis – Refuge du Maupas
Route 99 Refuge du Maupas – Lac Célinda
Route 100 Vallée du Lis – Lac Vert – Lac des Grauès – Vallée du Lis
Route 101 Hospice de France – Refuge de Vénasque – Port de Vénasque
Route 102 Hospice de France – Pas de la Montjoie – Pas de l’Escalette – Puerto de la Picada – Port de Vénasque – Hospice de France
14 Haute Vallée du Garbet: Routes 103–106
Route 103 Aulus-les-Bains – Cascade du Fouillet – Aulus-les-Bains
Route 104 Aulus-les-Bains – Étang de Guzet – Cascade d’Ars – Aulus
Route 105 Aulus-les-Bains (Le Garbettou) – Plateau de Garbettou – Étang du Garbet
Route 106 Aulus-les-Bains (Coumebière) – Port de Saleix – Refuge de Bassiès
15 The Carlit Massif: Routes 107–114
Route 107 Orlu (Pont de Bisp) – Refuge d’En Beys
Route 108 Refuge d’En Beys – Porté-Puymorens
Route 109 l’Hospitalet-près-l’Andorre – Refuge des Bésines
Route 110 Walking Tour of the Vallée de Lanous
Route 111 Porté-Puymorens – Pic Carlit
Route 112 Chalet-Refuge des Bouillouses – Pic Carlit
Route 113 The Carlit Lakes Tour
Route 114 Tour du Carlit
The Spanish Pyrenees: Ordesa to Andorra
16 Ordesa National Park: Routes 115–123
Route 115 Torla – Pradera de Ordesa
Route 116 Pradera de Ordesa – Refugio de Góriz
Route 117 Pradera de Ordesa – Circo de Soaso – Faja de Pelay – Ordesa
Route 118 Pradera de Ordesa – Faja los Canarellos – Ordesa
Route 119 Refugio de Góriz – Collado de Arrablo – Añisclo Canyon – Puente de San Úrbez
Route 120 The Spanish Canyons Tour
Route 121 Refugio de Góriz – Monte Perdido
Route 122 Valle de Pineta – Monte Perdido
Route 123 Valle de Pineta – Llanos de La Larri
17 The Posets Massif: Routes 124–132
Route 124 Eriste – Refugio Ángel Orús
Route 125 Eriste – Refugio Clot de Chil
Route 126 Benasque – Refugio de Estós
Route 127 Refugio de Estós – Pico de Posets
Route 128 Refugio de Estós – Pico de Posets
Route 129 Puente Nuevo de San Chaime – Ibónes d’Escarpinosa
Route 130 Refugio de Estós – Puerto de Gistain – Refugio de Viadós
Route 131 Refugio de Viadós – Collado de Eriste – Refugio Ángel Orús
Route 132 Tour of the Posets Massif
18 The Maladeta Massif: Routes 133–142
Route 133 Hospital de Benasque – Ibón de Gorgutes
Route 134 Hospital de Benasque – Forau dels Aigualluts
Route 135 Hospital de Benasque – Refugio de la Renclusa
Route 136 Refugio de la Renclusa – Pico de Aneto
Route 137 Refugio de Coronas – Pico de Aneto
Route 138 Refugio de la Renclusa – Pico de la Maladeta
Route 139 Refugio de la Renclusa – Pico de la Maladeta
Route 140 Refugio de la Renclusa – Pico de Alba
Route 141 Refugio de la Renclusa – Pico Forcanada
Route 142 Hospital de Benasque – Refugi Sant Nicolau
19 Aigüestortes West – The Besiberri Massif: Routes 143–154
Route 143 Refugi Conangles – Refugi de Besiberri
Route 144 Vall de Sant Nicolau – Aigüestortes – Refugi d’Estany Llong
Route 145 Refugi d’Estany Llong – Estany Redó – Refugi d’Estany Llong
Route 146 Refugi d’Estany Llong – Portarró d’Espot
Route 147 Estany de Cavallers – Refugi Ventosa i Calvell
Route 148 Refugi Ventosa i Calvell – Besiberri Nord
Route 149 Tour of the Agulles de Travessani
Route 150 Refugi Ventosa i Calvell – Montardo d’Aran
Route 151 Refugi Ventosa i Calvell – Coll de Crestada – Refugi de la Restanca
Route 152 Arties/Pònt deth Ressèc – Refugi de la Restanca
Route 153 Refugi Sant Nicolau – Port de Rius – Collado de Lac de Mar – Refugi de la Restanca
Route 154 Salardú/Banhs de Tredòs – Refugi de Colomèrs
20 Aigüestortes East – Encantados: Routes 155–159
Route 155 Espot – Refugi J.M. Blanc
Route 156 Refugi E. Mallafré – Gran Encantat
Route 157 Estany de Sant Maurici – Refugi d’Amitges
Route 158 Refugi d’Amitges – Agulle d’Amitges
Route 159 Capdella/Embalse de Sallente – Refugi Colomina
21 Andorra: Routes 160–170
Route 160 Grau Roig – Estanys dels Pessons
Route 161 Soldeu – Estanys del Siscaró – Pont de la Baladosa – Soldeu
Route 162 Soldeu (Pont de la Baladosa) – Collada de Juclar
Route 163 Soldeu (Pont d’Incles) – Pont de Bonavida – Port d’Incles – Étangs de Fontargente
Route 164 Soldeu – Canillo
Route 165 Ransol – Refugi dels Coms de Jan
Route 166 Arcalís – Estanys de Tristaina
Route 167 Arinsal – Refugi de Coma Pedrosa
Route 168 Refugi de Coma Pedrosa – Pic de Coma Pedrosa
Route 169 Les Escaldes – Refugi de l’Illa
Route 170 A Circuit of Andorra’s Frontier Peaks
 
Appendix A Useful Addresses
Appendix B Bibliography
Appendix C Glossary
Appendix D Route Index

Introduction

The Grande Aiguille d’Ansabère holds a number of extreme climbs (Chapter 1)

The 400km-long chain of the Pyrenees contains some of Europe’s finest wild landscapes, of immense appeal not only to walkers, trekkers and climbers but also to birdwatchers, butterfly- and flower-lovers, caving enthusiasts and those who gain a thrill from descending waterfalls and rivers – the sport known as canyoning. As an arena for outdoor adventure the Pyrenees fulfils so many dreams.

The Alps they are not, and it would be a mistake to attempt comparisons. These are mountains of another order, with summits in excess of 3000m that are within reach of most hillwalkers weaned on the heights of Snowdonia or the Lakeland fells. There are also vertical and near-vertical walls and pinnacles to test the stamina and expertise of the ardent rock specialist. There are valleys of sheer enchantment, tracts of semi-wilderness to answer the needs of the devoted backpacker, and acres of alpine flowers of such rich variety that the botanist could happily spend months of worthwhile exploration there.

This guide is an introduction to a wonderfully diverse range of mountains. It offers suggestions for walks, multi-day tours and moderate ascents of some of the principal summits in the region known as the Central, or High Pyrenees. Those whose ambitions lie in scaling the more extreme faces are directed to Rock Climbs in the Pyrenees by Derek L. Walker (Cicerone Press), and to various publications in French and Spanish on sale in Pyrenean resorts that describe routes outside the scope of this book.

Exposed strata of the Balcon de Pineta’s wall (Route 122)

Sample Route

ROUTE 1
Lescun (900m) – Refuge de Labérouat (1442m)
StartLescun (900m)
Distance4km
Height gain542m
Grade1
Time1–1½hrs

This walk follows the route of GR10 all the way from Lescun, and is waymarked with red-white paint flashes.

The walk begins in the heart of the village near the Maison de la Montagne, and climbs above it on a stony path between fields heading roughly northwest, soon joining the narrow road which serves the refuge. There’s ample parking space just before reaching the refuge, should you prefer to drive.

Follow the road to the right, but when it forks take the left branch. Soon after it bends note a waymark sending you into the right-hand meadow. The way progresses through a tree-lined gully, then up to a farm track from which you gain fine views of the Cirque de Lescun, the Pics Billare and Pic d’Anie.

Refuge de Labérouat, reached by a walk of 1–1½hrs from Lescun

The track brings you above a farm where you cut off to the right on a narrow path slanting uphill and onto another track above a second farm. Come onto the road once more at a hairpin bend. About 30m up the road break left on the continuing waymarked path which soon takes you across an open boggy patch, through a belt of woodland, then emerges to a broad grass path slanting uphill to the right. After passing through another belt of woodland come to a view of Pic Oueillarisse directly ahead. The path eventually makes a couple of zigzags before spilling onto the road for the last time. Turn left. The refuge is reached in another 200m or so (refreshments usually available). An orientation table names the high points in an extensive view.

To return to Lescun by the same route, allow 45mins.

Maps

Front Cover Lac de Rius, on the eastern side of Port de Rius (Route 153) The Vallée du Marcadau (Chapter 6) The Grande Aiguille d’Ansabère holds a number of extreme climbs (Chapter 1) Lac d’Aumar, backed by Pic de Néouvielle in the heart  of the Réserve Naturelle (Routes 93, 94) Lescun has a number of excellent walks and climbs Cabane d’Ardinet lies on the approach to  Pic d’Anie (Route 2) Refuge de Labérouat, reached by a walk of 1–1½hrs from Lescun The frontier ridge  near Col de Pau  (Routes 9, 10) Sunrise on Pic du Midi d’Ossau
MAPS

Sketch maps in this book are not intended to be used for route-finding. You will need to obtain proper maps at a scale of at least 1:50,000, of which there are many available. The 1:50,000 series published by Rando Éditions in conjunction with IGN provides excellent coverage, and will be adequate for most routes included in this guide. The series goes under the general title of Carte de Randonnées and covers the Pyrenees from coast to coast in 11 sheets (six for the region described in this book). Although primarily intended for the French side of the mountains, there is sufficient cross-border overlapping to enable walkers (if not climbers) to do without Spanish maps for all but a few isolated regions; but do study the requirements listed. Details of specific sheets needed for each area are given at the start of individual chapters. Each Carte de Randonnées has major paths marked in red; GR10 and the HRP are highlighted, as are mountain huts, gîtes d’étape and official campsites.

Lac de Barroude lies below the impressive Barroude Wall (Routes 81, 82)

For greater detail IGN produce their TOP 25 maps at 1:25,000 scale. As with the Carte de Randonnées series these have major trails, huts and so on highlighted in red. Details of these maps are also given at the start of relevant chapters.

Editorial Alpina publish a series of maps for walkers and climbers active on the Spanish side of the frontier. Whilst they fall short of standards of accuracy assumed by the IGN survey, improvements are slowly being made – buy the latest editions where possible. Most sheets are at a scale of 1:25,000, but some are 1:40,000, with contours at 20m intervals. Note Be warned: not all routes shown as paths on the maps are evident on the ground, and may be little more than wishful thinking on behalf of the cartographer. Each Pyrenean sheet is accompanied by a booklet (in Castilian or Catalan) which gives useful information about walking and climbing routes, accommodation and so on.

Editorial Pirineo, another Spanish cartographic company based in Huesca, has a series of six maps at a scale of 1:40,000 covering the south side of the watershed between Pic d’Anie and the Maladeta massif. Some of the accompanying booklets have English versions, which are worth seeking out.

Andorra is partly covered by Carte de Randonnées sheet 7, and by a dedicated sheet published by Editorial Alpina at 1:40,000. However, the official Andorran survey published by M.I. Govern has maps at 1:25,000 and 1:50,000, which show most main walking routes and the position of refuges.

For stockists in Britain, see Appendix A.

Viadós, below the west flank of Pico de Posets (Routes 130, 131)

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