Easy Gavanie Ice

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 pec 22 Jan 2024

I'm heading down to the Gavarnie Valley later this week, principally for skiing and ski touring, but I'll be there for 2 weeks so am thinking about possibly fitting in a day or two of ice climbing, conditions permitting.

I'll be driving, so taking the extra kit isn't an issue. The issue is that the only ice I know of is in the Cirque where the easiest routes are very, very long WI 4s. I only ever lead WI 4 when I was winter climbing at my best and that was a long time ago so I'm afraid I'm not going to be swinging any tools in the Cirque this year.

Does anybody know if there's anything easier in the area? I've done some googling but can't find anything apart from a few artificially created pitches at the top of the Pic du Midi du Bigorre that the guides take paying clients on. Ideally some single or short multi pitch WI 2s or 3s I could potter around on with Mrs Pec. Do the falls at the Pont d'Espania above Cauteret provide anything perhaps?

Post edited at 21:09
In reply to pec:

You are right about the cirque, it's not easy.

I enjoyed a day sport climbing on the crags around Lourdes on a rest day, not really answering your qn but an option to consider.

OP pec 22 Jan 2024
In reply to Ennerdaleblonde:

> I enjoyed a day sport climbing on the crags around Lourdes on a rest day.

Yes I've got the guidebook from summer visits and thought we might do that if we had a bad weather day in the mountains. So since we'll have ropes, harnesses, helmets and winter clothing (for skiing), taking axes, crampons and boots doesn't seem daft. It's just finding something easy enough to climb.

 nuevo 23 Jan 2024
In reply to pec:



Sadly there's almost no ice at the cirque at the moment, and temperatures are expected to be abnormally high this week.


There seemed to be some ice higher up, at the Taillon glacier


Also some AD - TD routes at the west and north faces of Taillon seemed to be in last week, but idk how the situation will evolve with the forecasted temperatures, so you might want to check when you arrive there. https://www.camptocamp.org/waypoints/39147/fr/taillon

Good luck,

OP pec 23 Jan 2024
In reply to nuevo:

Thanks for that information.

After I posted this I looked at the weather forecast and snow conditions and saw that the Gavarnie ski area was closed, it looks like a Scottish ski area on the webcam! Some of the ice higher up might be ok by the looks of the Cirque du Taillon photos.

The forecast isn't great but there's still quite a few runs open at the other ski areas, so with them, hopefully some touring, may be some ice climbing and some sport climbing down near Lourdes I'll hopefully be able to fill two weeks.

Thanks again.

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