Pyrenees Winter Guidebook/Routes/Area Recommendations

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 James Dunn 02 Oct 2022

Hi all,

I'll be around Baqueira/Vielha/Val d'Aran this winter and was wondering if anyone could recommend a guidebook/routes/areas for ice and winter climbing in the surrounding areas? Grade wise around WI3-5 and Scottish IV-VI, happy with long walks and big mountain routes.

We'll be in a van so able to travel quite easily, happy to cover most of the Pyrenees I guess.

So far I've had a look at Cirque de Gavarnie which is in the Alpine Ice: 600 Best guidebook and looks epic. I've also stumbled across mentions of there being ice at Benasque, Bielsa and Cavalllers (which I think is the same place as other mentions of Val de Bohi?), but have yet to find good info on these.

Guidebook wise I've come across Cascadas de Hielo en Espana by Quintana and Gordito but am struggling to find this available anywhere.

Any info/advice gratefully received!

 leon 1 02 Oct 2022
In reply to James Dunn:   Barrabes has a pretty good selection of guidebooks and their shop in Benasque is a wet dream of a place. Never had a problem with them shipping anything and the guys usually speak good english so might be worth sending them an email?

English website here....

Books here[]=depniv1

If you want an old copy(2000) of Pirineos -Ascensiones en Mixto Nieve y Hielo in Spanish send me your address and you can have it for a small donation to a food bank

and dont forget your snowshoes/skis

OP James Dunn 02 Oct 2022
In reply to leon 1:

Amazing info and very kind offer Leon, thanks so much! I'll DM you.

 leon 1 02 Oct 2022
In reply to James Dunn: Incidentally Cascadas de Hielo is available direct from Desnivel for 21-85.Euros and scroll down the page for their other goodies Shame the Gavarnie guide is out of print.

Post edited at 16:59
 nniff 03 Oct 2022
In reply to James Dunn:

The Cirques of Gavarnie, Estaube and Troumousse are the main ice places from memory (don't have the guide with me).  There are of course mountain routes, about which I know nothing.  When there's a lot of snow, or just new snow, the cirques are lethal on a grand imperial scale, including the approaches way before you get to the cirques.

Gavarnie is just massive.  Some pics in my gallery.  They only show the lower tier, which is 1,000 feet.  The second tier is 600 feet and the third, 1,000 feet.  The terraces in between present the avalanche risk once you've got to the cirque

OP James Dunn 03 Oct 2022
In reply to nniff:

Thanks nniff. Ye I'm really excited to get to Gavarnie, it looks incredible.

Do you know the name of the guide for Estaube and Troumousse? I can't find much info about either from a quick search online.

And duly noted for avalanche risk, thanks!

 nniff 04 Oct 2022
In reply to James Dunn:

I'm not sure I'm afraid.  The guide I've got now is the Desnivel Gav guide, which only has Gav in it.  I went to Troumousse some years ago now - we got a laminated topo from the ski shop in Gav and followed our noses.   Troumousse has a refuge with a winter room, at the top of the slog up the closed road.

There was an epic because it began to snow heavily.  the couloir we were in began to fill with powder very rapidly and all the anchors became buried, as did most of the features.  The single track road (miles of it) was also obliterated, which left us a with a bit of a problem getting back to Toulouse airport.  We had a coffee at the auberge (which wasn't really open) and pondered a while.  It stopped snowing and a guy wondered over to an old garage, started up an ancient tractor with a snow plough and chugged off down the road.  We followed him diligently at walking pace  all the way back to the main road

 Ushba 05 Oct 2022
In reply to James Dunn:

Hey, I would recommend 'escalades givrees aux pyrenees' - it doesn't have Gavarnie in it but most of the other major areas such as Bielsa and Aneto. I don't know about spanish publications, but it was the most recent guide by quite a long way that I could find in France (with decent photos and descriptions) for winter climbing there.

OP James Dunn 06 Oct 2022
In reply to James Dunn:

thanks again for all the replies: very much appreciated!

In reply to James Dunn:

I've just been talking to the poublisher of "Escalades givrees-aux-pyrenees" (2018) by Charles Perrin which seems to be the most up to date winter guidebook for the Pyrenees and while I cannot find it in stock anywhere (which has a website), I have been informed that a new edition is due November. So as I imagine your trip is after then it may be worth waiting; I certainly am.

OP James Dunn 25 Oct 2022
In reply to SomeBlokeCalledTom:

Yep we’ll be heading out Dec/January so that will be perfect timing. Thanks v much for the info!

 leon 1 25 Oct 2022
In reply to James Dunn: Heres a load of Spanish mountain routes/couloirs .  Sierra de Cadi might be worth a look after the terror of Gavarnie   Enjoy

In reply to James Dunn:

That new edition is now available apparently James

If you look at the post on their Facebook page you can see the list of places selling it.

OP James Dunn 04 Dec 2022
In reply to SomeBlokeCalledTom:

Amazing, thanks Tom, will be sure to pick one up!

Also, if anyone is out there and fancies getting out, shoot me a message!

 tintinandpip 05 Dec 2022
In reply to James Dun

Gavarnie is great the best of the bunch we did was Fluid glacial. 
I have a copy of Bielsa ice guide if you are interested email me. As far as I know it’s out of print. 

 65 06 Dec 2022
In reply to James Dunn:

You should be able to get guidebooks and info at Soaring, a parapet/outdoor shop in Rue Sylvie in Luchon, they are pretty helpful. 

La Cordee in Cauterets is a great shop and very helpful. I think Gavarnie has a branch too. There's a libraire next door (Cauterets) with lots of guidebooks.

The only place I've climbed in the Pyrenees was Luchon, on one of the parallel cascades at the right end of the cliff. It was amazing but hard and sustained, though modern tools and screws will be a big help. I don't climb any more but the Couloir de Gaube on the Vignemale is still on my bucket list.

Post edited at 10:51
 65 06 Dec 2022
In reply to 65:

> The only place I've climbed in the Pyrenees was Luchon, 

Just noticed this error but too late to edit. For Luchon read Gavarnie.

Post edited at 17:35
In reply to James Dunn:

Not sure which guidebooks feature what, but I'd assume the obvious choices would be Cirque du Gavarnie, Cavallers (Vall de Boi), Bielsa ice (by the tunnel) and Cambre d'Aze mixed climbing (probably the closest to scottish winter)

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