Ascent of Pic du Midi d’Ossau on 1983-07-14

Climber: Frederick Johnson

Others in Party:Pierre Jamet
Date:Thursday, July 14, 1983
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Bus
Peak:Pic du Midi d’Ossau
    Elevation:9462 ft / 2884 m

Ascent Trip Report

I arrived in Pau in the evening of July 10 after a comfortable train ride from Paris and joined my Mountain Travel group at the Hotel Bristol. The next day we took the bus up the Vallée d’Aspe to Urdos (2,542'). On the 12th we began our Pyrenees trek at the trailhead just above Etsaut (1,958'), hiking up the Saint Cours Valley to the Col d’Ayous (7,170'), where we were greeted by an imposing view of the Pic du Midi d’Ossau. We then descended to the Refuge d’Ayous (6,500'), above the the picturesque Lac d’Ayous to end our 8-9-mile day. On the 13th we first descended to the Bious Valley, climbed steeply to the Lac de Peyreget and the Col de Peyreget (7,545') then downhill to the Refuge de Pombie (6,6767) for the overnight. The view of Pic du Midi d’Ossau from here is indeed striking.

Today, one of layover days, Pierre Jamet (our Mountain Travel leader) and I climbed the Pic du Midi d’Ossau, while the others shunned this unique opportunity and opted instead for quieter pursuits.. Although the “voie normale” from the Col de Suzon (6,980') involves some serious rock scrambling (a couple Class 3 places), the rock is good with sound holds. We did not use the rope, although it was nice to have it available if needed. We topped out just before noon, then spent the next hour enjoying our special perch with panoramic views of the Pyrenees. It was a gorgeous, windless, shirtsleeve day, as close to perfection as it gets This is a very popular destination, and we had lots of company. Today was Bastille Day, which might account for some of the summit visitors. After our all too brief summit sojourn, we descended to the Col du Suzon at the base of the mountain and, retracing our steps along the well traveled trail, were back at the Refuge de Pombie by 4:30P What a great day in the Pyrenees!
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
Pic du Midi d'Ossau from Col d'Ayous (1983-07-12). Photo by Frederick Johnson.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2795 ft / 851 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2795 ft / 851 m
    Round-Trip Distance:4 mi / 6.4 km
    Grade/Class:Class 2-3
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Exposed Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Hut Camp
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
As good as it gets
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2795 ft / 851 m
    Distance:2 mi / 3.2 km
    Route:Voie Normale from Col du Suzon
    Start Trailhead:Refuge de Pombie  6667 ft / 2032 m
    Time:3 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2795 ft / 851 m
    Distance:2 mi / 3.2 km
    Route:Voie Normale from Col du Suzon
    End Trailhead:Refuge de Pombie  6667 ft / 2032 m
    Time:3 Hours 

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