Snow reports for walkers in the Pyrenees

Cet article est également disponible en: French

From mid-July to September, apart from occasional showers, the only snow in the Pyrenees is the icing on the glaciers. But for the other nine months of the year walkers need to take into account the possibility of drifts and avalanches.

So when and where can you hike in the Pyrenees this winter without crampons or snowshoes? Please help me to reply by filing snow reports below.


* indicates the first high ground encountered on the GR10, HRP and GR11 trails where snow may be a problem, between 15 October and 14 June

* indicates the first high ground encountered on the GR10, HRP and GR11 trails where snow may be a problem early and late in the trekking season


If you stick to the very ends of the mountains – from Hendaye as far inland as Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port at the west end or from Banyuls as far inland as Batère in the east – you can walk all year round without special equipment. Elsewhere, as long as you stay below 1700m you don’t need to worry either.

If, however, you are fixated by the heights or wanting to thru-hike one of the three classic routes – the French GR10, the Spanish GR11 or the Pyrenean Haute Route (HRP) – things get more complicated.

In general expect snow until mid-June above 2400m on sheltered north-facing slopes; at 2800m it will persist another week or so. At the other end of the hillwalking season the cut-off date is mid-October.

One strategy for thru-hikers is to start at one end and walk as far as you can inland until blocked by snow and then go to the other end and do the same. By the time you get back to where you left off the snow should have melted.

First obstacle Height (m) Walking day Usually snow-free
GR10 W–E
Hourquette d’Arre* 2465 15 14/6–15/10
GR10 E–W
Coll de Coma d’Anyell 2476 9 14/6–15/10
GR11 W–E
Collado de Tebarray 2750 13 21/6–15/10
GR11 E–W
Pic Superior de la Vaca** 2800 9 21/6–15/10
Around Arrémoulit 2460+ 13 21/6–15/10
Pic Superior de la Vaca** 2800 9 21/6–15/10


*Avoiding the Hourquette d’Arre will give you four more snow-free walking days

** Avoiding the Pic Superior de la Vaca will also give you four more snow-free walking days



The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft a-gley.

Robert Burns – To a Mouse

Read: no matter how carefully you plan things can go wrong.

The hard winter of 2012/13 not only left snow on the hills much later than expected but also resulted in flooding. I was hiking the GR11 at the time. I arrived at the end of the Canal Roya (Day 10) on 23 June. Although the pass was only 2250m there was so much snow that all the walkers without crampons turned back.

Two days later the Collado de Tebarray (2766m) was very white. We walked the whole day with crampons on our feet.


Near the Collado de Tebarray 25 June 201325 juin 2013

Near the Collado de Tebarray 25 June 2013


The next day there was more snow to cross.


Ibón derro Brazato between Baños de Panticosa and Bujaruelo, 26 June 2013

Ibón derro Brazato between Baños de Panticosa and Bujaruelo, 26 June 2013


But snow was the least of my problems.

“I hurl the biggest rocks I can carry into the water in the hope of creating stepping stones. But although this creates some footholds the stones have the effect of damming the river, channelling it deeper and faster. I destroy my engineering and, leaving my rucksack on the bank, test out the waters. It’s too cold and uneven to take my boots off. The water comes above my knees and I have to lean into the current to maintain balance, grabbing hold of submerged rocks to avoid being swept away. But the test is conclusive. I rescue my rucksack and plough across. My feet are freezing and even wringing out my socks makes little difference. They immediately soak up the water from the boots.”

Crossing the river Batanes, Extract from Footprints on the Pyrenees [26 June 2013]

And so it continued. Two weeks later on 11 July, walking between the Respomuso and Ernest Mallafré refuges, I still had crampons on my feet.

Weather forecasts for trekking in the Pyrenees

For France I use Méteo Ciel extrapolating from the nearest village, in combination with Méteo France.

For Spain I use AEMet

Webcams in the Pyrenees for walkers, skiers, and climbers

Note: some of these webcams only work in the holiday season



Vue sur Canigou
Les Cortalets (when the hostel is open)
Font-Romeu Pied des pistes 1777m
Font-Romeu La Calme 2050m
Lac des Bouillouses 2010m
Col de Quillane 1717m
Col de la Llose
Porté-Puymorens 1900m


Mont d’Olmes




Pic du Midi de Bigorre
St-Lary-Soulan Ski resort
Gavarnie (view of Cirque de Gavarnie)





Enclave de Llivia (Carlit)
Vallter 2000 (Ulldeter) 2300m
Port del Comte 1620m
Baquiera (near the Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park)
Amitges (Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici)
JM Blanc (Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici)


Benasque (village)

Federación Aragonesa de montañismo (hostels in Aragon, conveniently on one page) : Benasque 1100m – Casa Fumenal – 1170m – Pineta 1240m – Linza 1330m – Bujaruelo 1338m – Gabardito 1400m – Lizara 1540m) – Casa de Piedra (Panticosa) 1636m – Biadós 1760m – Pourtalet 1794m – Estós – 1890m – Vértice de Sierra Casa (Ordesa) 1944m – Renclusa 2140m – Ángel Orús – 2150m – Respomuso 2200m – Bachimaña 2200m – Góriz – 2200m – Llauset 2425m




Grandvalira Els Cortals

Map of webcams in Andorra



Please file your snow reports below. The information will help hikers assess whether crampons and an ice axe are necessary (or whether it is snow-shoeing is back in season). Thanks.

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115 Responses to “Snow reports for walkers in the Pyrenees”

  1. steve says:

    30 March 2018: The automatic meteorological stations at Luz-Ardidan and Port d’Aula report 3.62m and 3.18m of snow respectively. This is the second greatest depth of snow recorded for 30 March in the last 23 years. The record was in 2013 when the figures were 3.91m and 3,38m at the same date. Source : @GaetanHeymes. The GR10 passes through the Luz-Ardidan ski-resort and not far from the Port d’Aula if you take the alternative route from Esbintz to Rouze (Ariège).

  2. steve says:

    Follow me on Twitter @enmarchant for more snow news…

  3. BOUSQUET TOM says:

    Hello steve, thank you for the website you made with precious information. In 2013 do you know when was the good time for the pyrennees treks ? It will be similar this year i guess.. I m planning to do the a mix with HRP, GR10, GR11, the whole walk. Starting beginning of july is reasonable ?
    Thx a lot for your help

  4. steve says:

    Hi Tom
    Yes starting at the beginning of July should be fine. By the time you get high the snow should have gone. But you may still need to change plans slightly according to the amount of snow. In 2016, not an exceptional year, I used my crampons on 15 July on HRP (though if I’d waited later in the day the snow would have been soft enough to take them off)!

  5. Simon says:

    Hi Steve, I’m going from JSPP to Etsaut first week in June. What’s your best guestimate for the snow levels around La Pierre-St-Martin towards the end of the first week? Crampons, spikes or normal?


  6. steve says:

    Hi Simon

    You may only have snow for a few hundred metres and you may be able to go around it. But I’m pretty certain you will have snow on the north side of the pas de l’Osque. Although it is only 1900m the cliffs will likely shade any drifts and the approach to the pass would be tricky if frozen. (And rerouting around the Pas de l’Osque is tricky). I’m a cautious type. I would take crampons.

    Beware, by the way, there are lots of sinkholes in the karst around La-Pierre-St-Martin which may be covered by snow.

    I hope this helps. Please post your experiences here for the benefit of others.

  7. steve says:

    Snow report 17 April 2018

    Luz-Ardidan 3.6m at the top; 1.5m at the bottom of the slopes. Cauterets 2.5m/1.5m (ski resort open until 22 April); Gavarnie 2.1m/1.3m. Grand Tourmalet 1.5m/1.0m ; 3.5m at 2400m on north side.


  8. Paul says:

    Hi there.

    I have plans to do some hiking in Pyrenees from May 10 to 20.

    Do you think the easternmost sections of GR10 and GR11 will be manageable without crampons until Coll de Coma d’Anyell or Pic Superior de la Vaca? Or do you refer to early June there?

    What the day and night temperatures should I expect around that time?


  9. steve says:

    I’d be surprised if the approach on the east the Pic Superior de la Vaca was practicable for your dates, though you could go down to the Coma de Vaca refuge and then across to Núria. As for the Coma d’Anyell, the problem there is likely to be the descent after it to the west. But it could be OK if you are prepared for a scramble over rocks.

    Please let us know the conditions when you are actually there. Thanks.

  10. Damian Tow says:

    Hi Steve,

    I am leading a group from Germ to Fos from 22-26th June. From what I can see of present snow conditions it looks like we can expect snow on the passes. The riskiest section looks to me to be from Lac d’Oo to Superbagneres over the Hourquette des Hounts-Secs and col de la Coume de Bourg where there are north facing slopes which could well hold snow. Do you the section/have any thoughts on snow conditions there? I am happy to provide updates here or on twitter when actually hiking.

    Many thanks,

    Damian Tow

  11. Sara says:

    Hi there Steve, any update on the snow situation. We’ll be heading out from Hendaye june 22nd………Thanks

  12. steve says:

    Hi Damian
    Yes, that’s the riskiest section. My hunch is that you will get through. There could be snow on the slopes above but they are steep (50°) so will have self-purged – see my page on safe snowshoeing. Unfortunately this snow may have come to rest on the path. However this part of the GR10 is well used and there should be footprints to walk in. I suggest you ring the Bureau des Guides de Luchon or the Espingo hostel when you arrive in Germ.

    Keep safe

  13. steve says:

    Hi Sarah

    So you will arrive at the Hourquette d’Arre (2465m) about 7 July. Although it is due to snow this weekend (30cm at 1500m) in certain parts of the Pyrenees – very late – 7 July is three weeks after the normal ‘safe’ date so you should be OK. If not, avoid the Hourquette by heading north from the Cabanes de Cézy, amost as far as Eaux-Bonnes and then turn east.

    have fun

  14. Tim Gillespie says:

    Hi Steve,

    A friend and I will be arriving in Toulouse on June 7th and will be on the trail through June 23rd. We would like to pass through some parts of the second stage but are worried about the current amount of snow. What would you recommend? We could start in Hendaye but were hoping to get to higher altitudes to see some better sites and we’re planning on camping as we traverse the trail. Thanks for any advice you can give us!


  15. steve says:

    Hello Tim

    At that date, and particularly since you are camping I recommend starting in Hendaye. It will be cold up high. Check out the webcams listed above (be careful to check that they are being updated) before you set out. Some of the passes may well be difficult. Whatever choice you make, please post a snow report here when you are on the route. Follow me on Twitter for updates.

    Have fun

  16. steve says:

    19 May 2018. Still 60cm snow on the side of the tracks of the Artouste Narrow Gauge Railway at 1900m above sea level. This is on the opposite side of the valley from the Clots de Cézy between Gabas and Gourette on the GR10.

  17. Marcus says:

    Hi Steve,

    I am planning to start on the GR 10 from W to E in Hendaye in 1st of june 2018 and wanted to hike the whole trail with rather light equipment. I am a trail-/ ultra-runner, and I`d try to travel rather lightweigt. On the other hand I do not want to miss any necessary equipment.

    Do you have any current information on snow situation at Hourquette in that period?
    Should I carry an ice axe and gaiters or not?
    Do you know where I can get more precise information on the current wheater conditions, especially the snow up there?
    Any sites/ webcams you can recommened?

    Thank you for your help.


  18. steve says:

    Hi Marcus

    The video linked just above shows the conditions a couple of days ago at 1900m on the Artouste train line. This is only 5km from the Hourquette d’Arre, which is at 2458m. So if you were there today you would be happy to have crampons. However, you won’t get there until 9 June at the earliest, unless you are really running. You can look at the webcams (also listed above) for an idea of snow – but some are no longer up to date. I would have said that your best bet was to ring the CAF refuge in Gourette just before setting out but I have just discouvered that it is closed until December 2018. Instead, try ringing up the Bureau des Guides in Cauterets; they will also be able to tell you about the Hourquette d’Ossoue.

    Hoping this helps. Please let us know how it turns out. Even if you can’t do so until much later the info will still be useful for next winter. Thanks.

  19. Jeffrey Haltiner says:

    hi folks; my wife and I are planning to do day hikes in the high pyrannees from June 16-28, 2018. It seems like there has been abundant snow this year, and i’m wondering if we will be able to get into the higher mountains with summer hiking gear, and or if we will need crampons/yaktrax etc. We will be hiking in Luchon (Col d’espingo), Gavernie (Gavernie to the refuge de la Breche), Ordesa Park (from Torla):Pradera de Ordesa to Circo de Soaso) and Cauterets (Marcadau Lakes Circuit. any input on likely conditions is appreciated.

  20. steve says:

    Hi Jeffrey

    I’ve never got on with yaktrax. The pair I had fell apart on the first day of walking on a mix of snow and rock. So I would take crampons. At that kind of date I think you would be better to do the Col de Espingo from the Granges d’Astau rather than on the GR10. Gavarnie to the Saradets (refuge de la Brèche), there will probably be snow on the N side of the col de Sarradets, maybe the échelle would be easier as far as snow is concerned. Ordesa will be fine. I don’t know the Marcadau Lakes Circuit so perhaps someone else can give an appreciation.

    Please let us know how it turns out. Thanks

  21. Iona says:

    Hi there! I am hiking the catalan part of the GR11 from 4 June on, starting in Cap de Creus. This means I will reach Núria around 12 June, and Baiau around 20 June. I’ve been told the hike from Ulldeter to Núria should be fine with crampons, but I am concerned about the way up to the refugi de Baiau. Any idea how strenuous the hike is, going up from Arans? Thanks!

  22. Kate Z says:


    I’m planning to begin the GR10 with a group of two others on June 5th from Hendaye. We’ve been doing as much research and planning as we can however we’re still a bit concerned about the snow. Does anyone know if the GR11 is less snowy than the GR10 at this point in time?

    Thank you!

  23. steve says:

    Hello Iona

    Between Ulldeter and Núria, after the Tirapits hut you will be climbing a north-east facing slope, almost certainly with snow, but with crampons and an ice axe you should be OK. I am a little concerned about the south-west side of the Pic Inferior de la Vaca, which comes next, because the track is a narrow cut in a 30° slope and if it is full of snow it could be awkward. But, in any case the manager in at Ulldeter will be able to advise. And you always have the possibility of going via the Coma de Vaca hostel and on the spectacular Camí del Enginyers.

    From Arans to Baiau, after the Comapedrosa hostel it is not the going up which is the most likely problem but going down after the Portella de Baiau where the slope is 40°. When I set out from Baiau, walking the GR11 in the other direction with someone I met in the Baiau hut, we looked at this possibility. It was 2 July 2014 – not a particularly snowy year – but the way up to the pass was covered with snow. So we went via the Estanys Forcats, a variant. I had crampons and so it was fine though my companion had to scramble over rocks. You could stay in the free hut at Pla de l’Estany (beautiful situation).

    One other thing you need to know. The Portella de Engorgs may have a corniche of snow just before the top that is difficult to traverse. The alternative is to go south from the Estany dels Aparellets up the steep scree to a point (2772m) just south of the Bony del Manyer peak and then head west on the path to the ridge between the Manyer and Roca LLicà. After that you can head NW back to the GR11.

    Please let us know how much snow you encounter. Thanks in advance.

  24. steve says:

    Hi Kate

    I don’t have any news on this point but the sticking points are normally about the same distance in from the coast. The advantage of the GR10 is that if you anticipate being stuck at the Hourquette d’Arre there is an alternative, whereas the Collado de Tebarray is more difficult to go around. Try looking at the webcams listed above for more of an idea.

    Anyone else have any info?

  25. Iona says:

    Thanks so much, Steve! I’ve noted these points on the maps I’m taking. Will inform you on the snow and state of the routes when I am back. Cheers!

  26. Alberto says:

    Hi Steve,
    Thanks for providing this valuable information. Here are two webcams for huts in Aiguestortes, which may be interesting to your readers:
    Refugi Amitges:
    Refugi JM Blanc:
    May-June time lapse of the Amitges webcam from 2014:

    I’m arriving in Espot 21 June for a make-my-own way circuit through Aiguestortes, ending 28 June at Refugi Restanca and then Vielha. I’d been hoping to avoid bringing crampons/axe, but given snowpack and my schedule it’s looking more and more like a good idea. Any other insight on Aiguestortes in late June would be appreciated.

  27. steve says:

    Thanks Alberto, I’ve added the webcams to my list. I don’t have any specific info for this year but when I walked from Restanca to Malafré on 11 July 2013 after the hard winter of 2012/13 I was glad to have crampons/axe. The winter of 2017/8 hasn’t been quite as hard but it seems they might be useful.

  28. Sage Engberg says:

    Hi Steve,

    I’m planning on starting the HRP from Hendaye around June 25. I was hoping not to bring axe/crampons and just use microspikes. The previous two summers I’ve completed high routes in the USA (Sierra Nevada and Wind Rivers) with microspikes alone, even walking for days through snow (at times steep). I really don’t know how to gauge whether this would suffice for the Pyrenees. Any advice?


  29. steve says:

    Hi Sage

    Given your experience, if you are happy with microspikes then go for it. You may have to set out a little later in the day to allow the surface to soften at bit. But you won’t see continuous snow because the HRP and other tracks (GR10, GR11 in Spain) all go up and down a lot.

    have fun

  30. steve says:


    Danger: only walkers with snow experience should attempt this part of the route at present.

    I have just rung the Bayssellance refuge (+33 (0)9 74 77 66 52) to ask about conditions. There is snow from 1800m. Hikers coming from the Oulettes de Gaube need crampons and ice axes to access the refuge (over the Hourquette d’Ossoue).

    On the Gavarnie side, there is snow from after Barrage d’Ossoue upwards. Again, crampons and ice axes are recommended but snowshoes and skis may get you through. In any case the normal summer route can’t be used. You will need to follow the valley. Beware of snow bridges which may collapse.

    At present, some nights the temperature will descend below zero making a good crust, but this depends on cloud cover. The man I talked to thought that there would be snow until the start of July 2018.

    See also the refuge’s Facebook page

  31. Sam Lee-Gammage says:

    Hi Steve,

    I have an opportunity for a last-minute walking trip from about 9th June until the 18/19th.

    I was thinking Chamonix, but it is too early in the season there, realistically, so I thought of the GR10 and you blog.

    If you had 10-days on the route, which section would you choose? And will it be passable?

    Thanks so much for your advice.



  32. steve says:

    Hendaye to Etsaut, because higher up you are likely to have problems on some passes.

    Have a good trek.

  33. Doug says:

    Hello Steve, thanks so much for sharing your experience and insights. I am heading to the Pyrenees for the first time and I am hoping to hike the HRP/GR10 from Astun to Torla, stringing together Refuge Respomuso, Col de la Fache, Refuge Wallon, Col d’Arratille, Refuge Oulettes de Gaube, Baysellance, past Cabane de Lourdes, and over to Torla via Col de la Bernatoire. We are heading out on July 6 or 7. From what you’ve seen and heard, do you think we will hit significant snow? It sounds like there has been more snow this year than usual. We don’t have crampons. Thanks for your thoughts!

  34. steve says:

    Hello Doug

    It is a magnificent route in theory. Wild, mineral, beautiful… and high.

    There are lots of high passes on the route you are proposing and, given the situation today, you are likely to encounter snow on several of them. As you will have seen above, to get to Bayssellance today from the Oulettes de Gaube you would need crampons and an ice axe. The webcam at Respomuso is pointed towards the col de Tebarray but the Col de la Facha will be similar (on 15 July 2016, after a ‘normal’ winter we were glad of crampons – though if we’d waited the crust would have melted).

    Yes things are going to evolve but you don’t know the Pyrenees and it sounds as though you don’t have much experience on snow. And you shouldn’t just buy crampons and an ice axe and improvise, though there are useful videos on how to self-arrest on the internet.

    My advice is to look at the webcams, follow the Refuge de Bayssellance on Facebook and have a plan ready for a lower-level walk.

    Keep safe

  35. montysep says:

    Hi Steve. Would like to travel from Barcelona to backpack or hike in the Pyrenees next week. Traveling by bus or train. Can you suggest a good town to stay in with numerous hikes leaving right from town? Or would prefer a 4-5 day backpack loop. Can bring crampons & axe. Thanks!

  36. steve says:

    Hi Monty

    If you are experienced with ice axe and crampons go to Vielha and then catch the bus which goes round the Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park. A good loop, staying in hostels is the Carros de foc. You need to be able to navigate – any waymarks will be invisible under the snow in places.

    If you have little experience with crampons and ice axe – but do know how to do a self-arrest – go to Canfranc and then catch bus/taxi to Candanchú and walk the Senda de Camille.

    Other circular routes in the Pyrenees.

    Please let us know what conditions you encounter. Thanks.

  37. Simon says:

    As a member of a party of 3 we did the Pas de L’Osque. Two members did OK with just approach shoes or boots and a pole each. The third member struggled with microspikes and snow poles slipping badly twice. The snow was very steep in places and very rotten down to several centimetres. As the 3rd member I wish I’d had proper crampons and an axe. Saying that, more experienced people would probably be OK. One thing that should be noted was that the route marking was sparse due to the snow levels. GPS was essential in some areas. I would also strongly recommend that it is best done as a group.

  38. steve says:

    6-7m of snow on the Pic d’Estats yesterday! For pictures see my Facebook (link at top). The GR11 and HRP pass close by.

  39. Marie-Noelle says:

    Hi Steve,

    I am heading for the complete HRP on June 20, starting at Hendaye. I am bringing an ice axe and crampons since the snow situation… I am from Canada, and have hiked extensively for weeks in the Rockies, but have little experience on snow in the mountains. This is my first time in the Pyrenees. I’ll be taking a class in the next few days on some mountaineering skills -self arrest, etc- …

    Any advice? With your experience, what difficulties should I expect and where? Any part I should especially plan to reroute?

    Thanks for all your insights. It’s appreciate tremendously!!

  40. steve says:

    Thanks Simon, this is really helpful to know. When did you walk this section? Thanks for the info.

  41. steve says:

    Hello Marie-Noelle

    It seems to me that after your course you will be fully equipped for the HRP. There are many passes where you might encounter snow this year. It may only be for 50m each time but it is great to have crampons. In some cases walking on snow with the right kit is much easier than scrambling over boulders. See also my pages on the HRP in 2016 for where I encountered snow; and ways to avoid potential problems after Baiau (reply to Glenn and Jayne) and before Engorgs (though snow is likely to be gone by the time you get there).

    My only general advice that the HRP is not a fixed route, so look at the alternatives (including, but not exclusively GR10 and GR11) near high passes. TopoPirineos is great for seeing alternative possibilities. As there are no HRP-specific waymarks a GPS is extremely useful. And ask people coming in the other direction what the conditions are like.

    Please let us know how it works out.


  42. Simon says:

    steve says:
    10/06/2018 at 8:59 pm

    Thanks Simon, this is really helpful to know. When did you walk this section? Thanks for the info.

    Hi Steve, we did the Pas de L’Osque Thursday the 7th. For what it's worth, I can't really see the snow melting for a couple of week at least.

  43. steve says:

    Daniel is running the GR11 at present, heading west. he started in Andorra, at Encamp on 14 June if I’ve calculated correctly. Lots of snow at the Port de Baiau see but he had crampons.

  44. steve says:

    Latest news on central #Pyrenees #snow conditions. For the Port de Venasque crampons and ice axe still necessary.

  45. Laura Ruetsche says:

    Hi, Steve. Thanks for this tremendous resource.

    More Canadians, hoping to walk the GR10 from Mérens to Planes, starting 25 June. What should we expect by way of snow conditions? We have limited experience at *alpine* snow travel. Do you reckon microspikes and trekking poles would get us through safely, or should we be thinking about an alternate route?

  46. Iona says:

    Hi all! Currently on the GR11, resting in Tavascan for the day. There is lots of snow still. It’s possible to avoid the corniche at la portella d’engorgs by scrambling up (or down) another wall close to it. Baiau is full of snow (the way up, but apparently not too bad on the way down). I avoided Baiau by going up the portella de Sanfons and down via the town of Tor and Noris from the refugi de Comapedrosa. Bon courage!

  47. steve says:

    You may have to scramble over rocks to avoid snow. Take microspikes! Good luck. Steve

  48. Iona says:

    Also, at Comapedrosa they recommended me to not go via the estanys forcats alternative to Baiau, because there is a lot of spring snow (and an avalanche has destroyed part of the open refugio there)

  49. steve says:

    Thanks Iona, good to know this. I was at Bordes de Graus near Tavascan on Sunday. I met a man doing his version of the Mountains of Freedom. He said he had encountered deep snow on the Port de Guiló (between Aulus and Certascan) and Salvador at Bordes de Graus also told us that you would need crampons an ice axe for the Port de Marterat.

  50. siwema says:

    The official advice for Hourquette d’Arre (GR10) is still to avoid it and take the variant via Eaux-Bonnes. Path not always visible under the snow cover on both sides of the col. Going east, the last 150 meters to the height are a steep snowfield.

  51. steve says:

    Thanks Siwema

  52. Ross Jervis says:

    Hi Steve,

    We are hoping to walk part of the Pyrenean Haute route from Gavarnie to Salardu beginning on the 20th of July. Can you advise about the snow conditions we are likely to encounter on the mountain passes. I’ve heard that there are currently large amounts of snow still lying on the ground. many thanks.


  53. steve says:

    Hi Ross

    It’s rather difficult to predict as yet. I was in Tavascan last weekend and met a walker who was doing the Mountains of Liberty. He said there was lots of snow and that on the Port de Guiló (between Aulus and Certascan) he was glad of his crampons and ice axe. Salvador who manages the Bordes de Graus hostel told us that the Port de Marterat was impossible without crampons. These are a bit east of your end point. I think it is possible that you will encounter snow on the north side of passes above 2500m. At that date it will soften quickly in the morning and there are likely to be tracks you can follow. On the other hand it may be slippery. And there could be wet-snow avalanches. The best idea would be to ring up hostels a week before setting out.

    The HRP isn’t supposed to be a fixed route so you can always use alternatives if planned in advance.

    I’m going to Lescun tomorrow and then Gavarnie on Wednesday. I’ll report again on snow conditions when I get back.


  54. Ross Jervis says:

    Thanks Steve, that’s really helpful.

  55. steve says:

    Hi Ross

    I’ve just come back from Lescun and Gavarnie. We failed to climb the Pic d’Anie because of snow (we’d left our crampons in the cars and were blocked by a snow drift at a critical point at 2100m).

    We also climbed up to the Brèche de Roland yesterday, from the Col des Tentes. There was snow all the way up from 2400m. OK with crampons and ice axe but we were careful to get back down by 13h00 as it was getting slushy in the sun.

    I met a couple in Gavarnie who had come over the Hourquette d’Ossoue. They said there were footsteps in the snow and they used their crampons.

    I hope this helps.

  56. Ross Jervis says:

    Hi Steve,

    Really helpful information. Helps make an easy decision. One final question, will we need sleeping bags at the manned huts or are we ok with just liners? Are sleeping bags required for use in unmanned huts? Thanks again for all your help.

  57. steve says:

    Hi Ross
    You don’t need sleeping bags for staffed huts, blankets are provided – often the dorms are too hot! I’ve always taken a sleeping bag for unstaffed huts as they mostly don’t have blankets. However I once stayed in a tent in mid-summer at 1800m using only a sleeping bag-shaped emergency blanket and wearing clothes. It was fine. (The only problem is if you turn over: the bag crunches noisily.) I would certainly consider this option for the occasional night in an unstaffed hut.

  58. Ross Jervis says:

    Hi Steve,

    Once again thanks very much for all your help.

    Best wishes,


  59. Tom says:

    On the 20th July it was possible to skirt around all the remaining snow on/in the Hourquette d’Arre when climbing from the west by using the steep scree slopes to the right.

  60. steve says:

    Thanks Tom

  61. Ross Jervis says:

    Hi Steve,

    After this year’s success on Stage 3 of the Haute route we are thinking about doing Stage 4 from Salardu to Andorra. We may be doing the walk during the last two weeks in June. What might snow conditions be like and where might we encounter any problems? As always thanks for your help. Ross

  62. steve says:

    Hi Ross

    The next stage is likely to be just as snowy as this year has been for you because you are approaching Montcalm and the Pica d’Estats. So at this stage, I would be recommending crampons. Obviously it depends on which route you take and how flexible you are.

    For information, two walkers got lost on the Coma Pedrosa last weekend and ended up with severe frostbite after early snow.

    By the way, what were the conditions like this year? When did you walk?

  63. Ross Jervis says:

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for the information. This year we walked section 3 of the Haute route (west to east) during the last two weeks in July. On your advice we took crampons and an ice axe. We definitely needed them especially on the eastern side of the high passes. The Col de Mulleres was probably the most tricky. The down scramble was fine, but the gap between the rock and the hard snow was interesting to cross and you needed to concentrate going down the steep snow slope thereafter. All the high passes we crossed had snow (hard when cold and sugary when warm) on the eastern sides. Crampons were good, spikes less useful!), Hope this helps. Ross

  64. steve says:

    Very useful information. Thanks Ross

  65. bruno leslie says:

    Dear Steve,
    I’m planning a 5-6 day hike in the gr 10 or 11 in the first week of June 2019. Which segment do you recommend to do at this time of the year staying in refuges/
    Thank you

  66. steve says:

    Hi Bruno
    As you will have seen from the page above, you are likely to find snow on the high passes up to mid June. So stick to one end or the other. Since you want to stay in refuges, the best path would be on the GR10 starting either at the coast, or at St Jean-Pied-de-Port. If you start in Hendaye you will certainly avoid problems, but the mountains aren’t very high. From SJPP it gets more rugged and beyond Etsaut you may get stuck. But SJPP and Etsaut are both easy to access by public transport.
    Happy planning

  67. Sean G says:

    Your website is a fantastic resource. Thanks!

    We are planning to hike the entire GR-11, from West to East, and would like to start in early June 2019.

    We’ve heard that this past winter (2018 / 2019) was a low-snow year. We’re quite comfortable alpine hiking but … how early do you *think* we could start in June this year to avoid needing an ice-axe and crampons?

    Thanks very much,


  68. steve says:

    Hi Sean

    So far the winter has been mild so early June should be OK on either the GR11 or GR10.

    Happy planning

  69. Salvador says:

    Hi Steve,

    I am planning on hiking as much as I can of either the GR10, GR11 or HRP this year, starting at the beginning of / early September.

    Is this an acceptable time to start any of these trails??

    Will there be more snow on one than the other and should I expect to need crampons and ice axe for any / all of them?

    Thanks very much.


  70. steve says:

    Hi Salvador

    From mid-October you may get snow in the central sections of the Pyrenees. So, unless you are a particularly fast walker you should expect to encounter snow on the high passes from that date. The highest passes on the HRP and GR11 are higher than those on the GR10, so that would be your best choice, see my comparison of the Pyrenees treks. It isn’t worth carrying crampons and an ice axe all the time but perhaps you should consider sending them to where you expect to reach by mid-October. On the other hand, if you are prepared to quit the official route from time to time you will probably be able to get away without them completely.

  71. Kirill says:

    Dear Steve,

    Many thanks for putting together so much useful material. We are planning to make a loop Luz St.Sauver-Gavarnie-Hourquette d’Ossoue-Port d’Espagne-Cauterets-Luz St.Sauver during the last week of June. Given the mild nature of this winter, what are the chances we would need crampons? Cheers!


  72. steve says:

    Hi Kirill
    You probably won’t need crampons but the best plan is to watch the Refuge de Bayssellance Facebook page. They usually put details of conditions once the refuge is open (end of May). Or, even better, phone them +33 974 776 652.
    Good luck.

  73. Benny says:

    Hi Steve – we are starting GR11 on June 1 west to east. how does it look with current snow conditions in highest parts of mountains? Is it gonna be ok without crampons with just walking equipment? Thks a lot….

  74. steve says:

    Hi Benny

    It is due to snow this weekend in the Pyrenees over 1500m. This is exceptionally late, but in general the winter has been fairly mild.

    Your first challenge will be the col de Tebarray which you will reach after about two weeks. I’ve just looked at the Respomuso webcam (see link above) and the whole of the valley leading up there is very white – a couple of weeks ago there were large patches of rock showing. (The pass is in the very centre of the photo.) So keep an eye on this webcam. If the snow persists you will have it for much of that day and the next day again. The best idea is to ring up the hostel a couple of days before you set out.

    You also need to be aware of the problem of crossing the rio Ara, after Baños de Panticosa. The normal GR11 route fords the river where the Batanes flows into it. It is best to make for the bridge a couple of kilometres downstream. But make sure you get on the south side of the barranco before you get down into the Ara valley, or you might have difficulty crossing that as well.

    The second chalenge will be between Góriz and Pineta, but there you have the possibility of going right, down the Rio Bellòs to Bestue, then to Bielsa and up to Pineta.

    As long as you are flexible and have planned alternative routes you will always be able to continue. Don’t be hung up on the idea that every footstep must be on the official GR11 route.

    Keep safe.

  75. steve says:

    Beware, there was lots of late snow in the Pyrenees this weekend 18/19 May.

  76. Scott says:

    Hi Steve,
    Thanks for taking the time to maintain your blog, and to keep the updates current. I’m starting out from Irun on June 11th for a month on the GR11, so I appreciate the news regarding snow conditions as I make the final cull of my pack list.

  77. steve says:

    Hi Scott
    40cm of snow fell at La-Pierre-St-Martin yesterday. It is heavy and wet. See my Twitter feed @enmarchant. Same on the opposite side of the Pyrenees in Spain at the Respomuso hostel. But you aren’t going to be there for another month. Check out the webcams, but I would guess by the time you get to the first difficulties all will be well.

  78. Scott says:

    Cheers Steve, I checked your Twitter updates; another very good resource, and much appreciated. I will carry lightweight crampons for the Collado de Tebarray and any of the other passes or side trips to peaks where snow may linger. Ice axe…jury is still out, I’ll check the webcams and make that call a few days prior to hitting the trail.

  79. Naomi says:

    Hi Steve,

    We will walk 6 étappes of the GR10 from Lescun to Cauterets starting on June 15. Can you say anything about the possibility of finding snow on the tracks and the need to take crampons? Thanks!!


  80. steve says:

    Hi Naomi

    Yes it’s possible you will find snow possibly after the Chemin de la Mature and then on the Hourquette d’Arre. I have asked the tourist office in Gourette for info but they haven’t yet replied. Ask them nearer the time. If there are still problems you can always avoid the Hourquette by heading north from the Cabanes de Cézy, amost as far as Eaux-Bonnes and then turn east.

    On the basis of what I know at this stage, I don’t think you will need crampons, but you will probably be obliged to cross some snow.

    I’ll let you know if I get any more info.

  81. Naomi says:

    Hi Steve,

    Thanks for your reply! Crossing some snow will be fine, we did this last year on the trip from Réfuge Jeandel to Lescun. There were several relatively small packs of snow and we had no crampons either.

  82. steve says:

    Comment dated 14 June on Facebook “Backpacking in the Pyrenees including GR10, GR11 and HRP” by Susie Sooz A little snow update. I crossed from Setcases to Nuria 2 days ago after a rainy day in Setcases. The Coll de Tirapits etc. at 2800 was covered in fresh snow with drifts, covering most paths and markings. It was tough. I’ve bought a pair of lightweight crampons in Puigcerdá as more rain is forecast, and it’s been raining again a lot today. I’d rather have the extra weight and not use them than be caught without again. I have a suspicion I’ll get to use them… There was plenty of snow at Refugi d’Ulldeter too, so down to about 2200m. This was at Coll de la Marrana (2520m) – before the trousers went on, brrr.

  83. steve says:

    The Hourquette d’Arre is now passable in trail runners

  84. John says:

    Hi Steve,

    I am hopefully going to be walking the GR10 from Hendaye to Banyuls-sur-Mer, starting in early May 2020.

    Firstly, will this be possible without crampons, ice axe etc? If this is the case where will impassable snow likely be as I don’t want to carry the extra weight?



  85. steve says:

    Hi John
    As you will have seen from the article, you will get to the first problems after about nine days. If you are a month early you are certain to encounter snow at the Coll de Coma d’Anyell (if you haven’t already had some on Canigou). After the Coma d’Anyell there will be more snow near the Rulhe etc. It may be that you can go round the drifts or replan a section (but beware of avalanches in May).
    You could always send your kit to the post office in Font Romeu, poste restante…
    Best wishes

  86. Lenka says:

    Hi Steve,
    Do you think it is possible to find snow in first half of September on GR10 between Estaing and St.Lary (via Gavarnie)? It regards mainly Hourquette d’Ossoue. Should we have crampons for this part of GR10?
    Thank you very much,

  87. steve says:

    Hi Lenka
    You won’t have snow that early

  88. Alex says:


    I’m looking to go from Llanca to Andorra in February but avoid using crampons if possible, i see you said you can avoid Pic Superior de la Vaca – but taking which route achieves this?

    Thank you

  89. steve says:

    Hi Alex
    the route I’m thinking of follows the GR11 from Ulldeter to the top of the Freser at 2500m. It then goes down the valley to the Coma de Vaca refuge. After that you follow the Cami dels Enginys to Nuria. However, this could be as dangerous as the slopes of Pic superior de la Vaca. For a start the area is known for the white-out snow storms which killed 9 people on 30 December 2000. And secondly take a look at the videos of the Cami, which is very precipitous.
    I wouldn’t plan this route in February…

  90. Thomas Los says:

    Hi Steve,

    I am planning to hike the GR11 W-E this year and i’m kind of considering my starting date. As of now, can you say anything about how this winter has been in terms of how hard/soft?

    I’m thinking of starting last week of May, which means i’ll be crossing the Tebarray around 10th of June. I’m taking crampons and ice axe with me, would there be any difficulties to consider?

  91. steve says:

    Hi Thomas
    The winter has been mixed but not too much accumulation. Since you are taking crampons and an ice axe with you, there shouldn’t be any insurmountable problems. Just look out for afternoon avalanches from above.
    Have fun

  92. Friso Van Wassenaer says:

    Hi Steve!

    Would you say that a June 1st start in Hendaye is a bad plan this year? I have no real gauge on the snowlevels this yeas.



  93. steve says:

    Hi Friso

    The best think to do is to follow the webcams listed on this page, on both sides of the border. the snow has not been like 2012/13 so I would think you will be OK.

  94. Luke Pilkington says:

    Hello steve. great site. I am trying to find a tourist information contact to ask about snow conditions between Conangles to Puigcerda? Do you know who I should contact? I am looking to start june 14th. Looking at the webcams I cant see much snow at all, so hoping not to take crampons. THanks!

  95. steve says:

    Hi Luke

    I presume you are walking the GR11 or HRP rather than the GR10. When I walked that section in 2013 after a very heavy winter the snow was around Panticosa and after Baiau on the Andorra border. From what I have seen in the last few weeks there is not that much remaining snow. I’m going to climb the Roc Blanc in Ariège on Sunday so I’ll report on that.

    For snow reports on the spot try sending an email, in Catalan, to, the Tavascan tourist office, or try the Bordes de Graus refuge (good place to stay as well).

    Have fun!

  96. steve says:

    Hi Luke
    I went walking with friends yesterday on Roc Blanc. We didn’t reach the summit because of the snow in north-facing gullies. We crossed the first snow drift OK, went around the next two but were stumped by the fourth drift which would have required crampons and an ice axe to climb. Outside the gullies, the mountainside was clear.
    After Baiau, instead of following the classic GR11 up to the Porteilla de Baiau – almost certainly snow-filled to judge by yesterday – you can go NE to the Estanys Forcats.
    I hope this helps

  97. Luke Pilkington says:

    Hi Steve, that is very useful information.

    I am finding it hard to find information on 7-10 day treks on the GR11. I would like to do one with easy access by bus from the start and finish. With mostly manned huts I can book and not too much snow. Its possible I have now left it too late. But I have been struggling to find a good start and finish point of the trek with connections to zaragoza which is where I will fly into and out of. Do you know of any?



  98. Sam says:

    HI Steve,

    Thanks for sharing all this great information. I am hoping to go to Midi-Pyrenees from Toulouse in December for some hiking. I would like to start my 5 day hike in Cauterets Is this recommendable at this time of the year?


  99. steve says:

    Hello Sam,
    If you have crampons and the skills for walking on snow/ice then you can walk east, but best to avoid the Hourquette d’Ossoue, and it won’t be easy in the Néouvielle. Better to go west, though you might encounter snow pretty quickly. Accommodation may be shut, except for emergency rooms. Better still, to go to the Basque coast and work inland. Or consider a lower-level walk. Stay safe.

  100. Moritz Geisthoevel says:

    Hello Steve,
    Great content. Appreciate all the information a lot. Would it be possible to manage the HRP starting beginning of October without having to cross major snowed in passes? Can there be quite some snow on the highest parts of the mountains during October and early November? I read autumn is beautiful in the Pyrenees. But maybe the high route will be tough to pass. What’s your suggestion on that? Appreciate any informatio. Thanks. Moritz

  101. steve says:

    Hello Moritz
    It sounds like you calculate on doing the HRP in 6 weeks. You don’t say how much experience you have of high mountain walking, but most ordinary folks will take more than 6 weeks including the indispensible rest days. You might make it without crossing snow, depending on the weather, but probably not. On the other hand you could calculate on dropping down to the GR10 in France. Note that few refuges are staffed after the end of September.
    Good luck, Steve

  102. Kev Foster says:

    Hi Steve; thanks for all of the useful information and insights. I recently moved to the Hautes-Pyrénées (from the Alpes) so am planning a HRP this summer to get know my new mountains.

    I was wondering what your thoughts on conditions for the 2022 summer HRP are, now that we are in the final throws of the 2021/22 winter.

    I have not been able to locate the 30th March 2022 snow-depth data for Luz-Ardidan and Port d’Aula, to compare with the depths of 2013 and 2018 respectively. Do you know how depths this year compare?

    I’m happy to share any observations on conditions whilst training locally during May/June if helpful.

    Thanks in advance


  103. steve says:

    Hi Kev
    See an up-to-date snow report from further west in the comments on this page.
    At the Port d’Aula there is over twice as much snow as a year ago (262cm) apparently, see Météociel snow report.
    There is 120cm of snow on Puigmal, see another Météociel snow report.
    However, I think you will need to study these reports and the archives in detail to make sure they are reliable.

  104. Christjan SChalken says:

    Hello Steve, I am starting the GR11 in Hondarriabe on May 24th. I am trying the do the whole trail in one go. What do you think about stage 13, over the Collado de Tebarray? I walk without crampoms and ice pick. How was the snow fall last winter, is there much snow still?

    Appreciate your answer.

  105. steve says:

    Hello Christjan
    The webcams look pretty snowy at the moment. The thing is to be flexible. For example, if there is too much snow you can go down lower. In this case go down to Panticosa. There are always alternatives and you won’t feel frustrated if you have planned for them in advance.
    Stay safe

  106. Kev Foster says:

    Hi Steve; thanks for the reply and links to the Meteociel snow report.

    Comparing this years measurements for Port d’Aula on 30th March (258cm), with last year (132cm), 2018 (318cm) and 2013 (338cm), would tend to indicate that snow depths are reasonably thick this year.

    It is also worth noting that the snow depth on 2nd April 2022 reached 329cm with the late season snow, and snow depth today is 245cm of which 10cm was fresh last night.

    It will be interesting to see how quickly the the more recent and unconsolidated snowfall melts out, once temperatures increase to more seasonal norms.

    For what its worth, snow related challenges currently commence around 1700-1800m in north-facing sectors accessible from the Campan Valley, so aspect of route selection remains important even on relatively short / low altitude routes at present.

    Plan, be prepared, and stay safe everyone



  107. Magda says:

    Hello Steve,

    I’m setting off to Cauterets on the 20th of June and was wondering if I can make it to Gavarnie, 2-3 day trek without snow problems. I don’t want to do anything requiring crampons.


  108. steve says:

    Hi Magda
    There are two ways of walking from Cauterets to Gavarnie. Via Luz-St-Sauveur or via the Oulettes de Gaube. The first won’t be any problem. For the second, contact the refuge a week before you go and ask about the conditions. See my twitter @enmarchant for a picture taken from the refuge yesterday…

  109. Anne Lockwood says:

    Good afternoon Steve
    I hope to be at Refugio Respomuso next Friday 24 June. Will it be possible to cross Tebarray without crampons.
    I would appreciate your advice


  110. steve says:

    Seems likely but send them an email to be sure

  111. Wojtek says:

    Hi Steve! I am starting hiking the GR11 soon. I’m going to reach Núria on the 3rd July, and Port de Baiau on the 10th July. I suppose that I will not need crampons. Could you advise, please?

  112. steve says:

    Hi Wojtek
    I’ve just looked at the webcams. I would be extremely surprised if you need crampons.

  113. Wojtek says:

    Great, thank you so much!

  114. Magda says:

    Hi Steve, just got back from the mountains. We walked from Refuge des Oulettes de Gaube to Refuge Bayssellance without crampons without problems but found trekking poles very useful and seen people struggling without them. Col d’Arraillé was also fine but there’s still a fair bit of snow and would not recommend this route in bad weather, crampons would definitely help. The refuge keeper advised against going down via Col de Labas, which we considered as an alternative path down, as it’s still too snowy.

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