Global warning from the Pyrenees

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The Ossoue glacier (on the East side of Vignemale) is melting rapidly

The Ossoue glacier (on the East side of Vignemale) is melting rapidly. Click to enlarge photo.

 

I climbed the Pique longue du Vignemale (3298m) and its little brother, Petit Vignemale (3032m), with two friends this week. When I arrived home, I compared the pictures taken from the Petit Vignemale with those I took 13 years ago when I was walking the GR10. The Ossoue glacier is melting rapidly and is now a hundred metres shorter (click on photo to enlarge).

The top photo was taken in July 2005, with the arrow showing a group of walkers just about to descend the tongue of the glacier (grey). The second photo was taken on 29 August 2018. There is more snow after the hard winter of 2017/2018 but the glacier has gone.

Another view of the Ossoue glacier, taken the next day from the Lac des Gentianes. The Bayssellance hostel, where we stayed for two nights, is below the pass, slightly to the right. The Petit Vignemale is the white rock behind the lake; the Pique longue is the highest summit behind it.

When Anne Lister climbed the Grande Vignemale in 1838, the first ‘outsider’ to do so, she would have seen the glacier stretching right down into the valley.

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