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

Climate

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
HRP W–E
Around Arrémoulit 2460+ 13 21/6–15/10
HRP E–W
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

 

Weather

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 http://www.aemet.es/es/eltiempo/prediccion/montana

Webcams in the Pyrenees for walkers, skiers, and climbers

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

France

Pyrénées-Orientales

Banyuls
Perpignan
Vue sur Canigou
Les Cortalets (when the hostel is open)
Saint-Pierre-dels-Forcats
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

Ariège

Ax-Trois-Domaines
Guzet
Mont d’Olmes

Haute-Garonne

Luchon-Superbagnères

Hautes-Pyrénées

Pic du Midi de Bigorre
Tourmalet
Luz-Ardidan
Luz-St-Sauveur
Hautacam
St-Lary-Soulan Ski resort
Gavarnie (view of Cirque de Gavarnie)
Cauterets

Pyrénées-Atlantiques

Gourette
La-Pierre-St-Martin
Artouste
Larrau
Hendaye

Spain

Catalonia

Enclave de Llivia (Carlit)
Masella
Vallter 2000 (Ulldeter) 2300m
Nùria
Espot
Boi-Taül
Port del Comte 1620m
Tavascan
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)

Aragon

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

Navarre

Isaba

Andorra

Arinsal
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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60 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?

    thanks

  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.

    source: https://www.ladepeche.fr/article/2018/04/16/2781289-hautes-pyrenees-un-enneigement-exceptionnel-pour-un-mois-d-avril.html

  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?

    Thanks,
    Paul

  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!

    Tim

  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.

    Best,
    Marcus

  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:

    Hello!

    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:
    http://www.amitges.com/en/webcam-nord/
    Refugi JM Blanc:
    http://www.jmblanc.com/en/webcam/
    May-June time lapse of the Amitges webcam from 2014:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qfuOdNutJs

    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?

    Thanks,
    Sage

  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:

    GR10: SNOW REPORT FROM BAYSSELLANCE REFUGE (2640M VIGNEMALE MASSIF) 6 JUNE 2018

    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 https://www.facebook.com/refuge.bayssellance/

  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.

    Best,

    Sam

  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.

    Steve

  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 https://www.facebook.com/danielisrunning/ 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. https://www.ladepeche.fr/article/2018/06/19/2820391-le-pghm-conseille-la-prudence-sur-les-sentiers.html

  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.

    Ross

  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.

    Steve

  54. Ross Jervis says:

    Thanks Steve, that’s really helpful.
    Ross

  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.
    Ross

  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.
    Steve

  58. Ross Jervis says:

    Hi Steve,

    Once again thanks very much for all your help.

    Best wishes,

    Ross

  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

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