Vignemale and Vallee de Gaube

  • North face of Vignemale (3298m) from to Refuge des Oulettes de Gaube - © Dick Everard
  • Looking east from Col de la Cuarde (1980m), Vignemale (3298m) on far left - © Dick Everard
  • Looking north from Col de la Cuarde (1980m), Vignemale (3298m) on far right  - © Dick Everard
  • North face of Vignemale (3298m) on approach to Refuge des Oulettes de Gaube - © Dick Everard
  • Lakes some way north of and below Col d"Aratille - © William Mackesy
  • North from Col  d"Arratille - © William Mackesy
  •  Ascent to Puerto de Arratil - © William Mackesy
  • Vallee del Ara - © William Mackesy
  •  Marcadau valley from below Col d"Arratille - © William Mackesy
  • Upper Vallee del Ara - © William Mackesy
  • Upper Vallee del Ara - © William Mackesy
  • Lac d"Arriel (2200m) and Vignemale  - © Dick Everard

Key information: Vignemale and Vallee de Gaube

    •  The biggest mountain in the entire French side of the range (at 3,298m), with fine walking in the surrounding French and Spanish slopes - in particular in the Vallee de Gaube to the north - and an ascent of the mountain itself.
      • Really magnificent scenery and some of the best walking in the Pyrenees, with lots to do besides the glacier-walking ascent to the great peak itself, including multi-day circuits.
        • This can be tough walking in high, remote mountains, with very unpredictable weather. Come prepared.
        • This page is at an early stage of development. Please help us by making suggestions and sending photos! Thank you!

          For more information and photos, including on wildlife and the landscape and including detailed practical information and some warnings, see our French Pyrenees walk page.

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating86
  • Beauty33
  • Natural interest16
  • Human interest5
  • Charisma32
  • Negative points0
  • Total rating86

Vital Statistics

  • Length: Variable
  • Maximum Altitude: 3,298m
  • Level of Difficulty: Variable

This walk description page is at an early stage of development, and will be expanded over time. Your comments on this walk, your experiences and tips, and your photos are very welcome.

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North face of Vignemale (3298m) on approach to Refuge des Oulettes de Gaube - © Dick Everard

WALK SUMMARY

 The biggest mountain in the entire French side of the range (at 3,298m), with fine walking in the surrounding French and Spanish slopes ? in particular in the Vallée de Gaube to the north ? and an ascent of the mountain itself.

Really magnificent scenery to the north (think granite, wildly lakes, high broken ridges and the huge Vignemale with its cliffs and glaciers), with views straight onto the mountain?s sheer north face with its surviving glaciers from the refuge in the bowl at the head of the Gaube Valley.

Some of the best walking in the Pyrenees, with lots to do besides the glacier-walking ascent to the great peak itself: ascend Petit Vignemale (3,032m, easy but vertiginous), or Point Chasenque (3,204m). 

Or pass across or out of the Gaube Valley via spectacular cols as part of a longer circuit, which can take you to the Marcadau Valley  or down to pleasant Torla in Spain along the empty Ara Valley, thence if you want on to the Ordesa Canyon and even Garvarnie via the Breche de Roland and round back to the Gaube.

Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

 Marcadau valley from below Col d'Arratille - © William Mackesy

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

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Lac d'Arriel (2200m) and Vignemale  - © Dick Everard...
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