Pyrenean Snow

With mid-October passed the only mountains where any skiing is being done, outside of the glacier at Tignes or on the high slopes of Mont Blanc is in the Pyrenees. The mountains have benefited from two winter storms this month and although the skiing is restricted to the area’s tiny glaciers it did look rather tempting.

ossoue october
Oussoue in October

Glacier d’Ossoue

Sylvio and Aurélie had a 3 hour climb to reach this glacier carrying skis on their rucksack. The Glacier d’Ossoue has retreated 900 meters since 1950. It is one of just 35 glaciers left in the Pyrenees and if current rates of warming continue none will be left within 25 years.  Sylvio commented on his website that “the glacier is still quite long and the descent was better than they expected”

Meanwhile over on the Pic de Balaïtous there was a layer of 10cm of fresh powder left by the recent storms but with 1100 meters climbing for 300 meters of vertical you have to be very keen. At 3144 meters the Balaïtous is the first summit to pass 3000 meters on the Atlantic side of the Pyrenees and is home to the glacier de Las Néous.

Powpow au Balaïtous

freydane glacier
Freydane Glacier

In the Alps you have to go pretty high to find any snow. A tour yesterday to the glacier de Freydane (2600 meters) in the Belledonne range showed rocks, bare ice and open crevasses. Not particularly inviting. With temperatures remaining around 20C until the end of the month there is little prospect of any significant snowfall below 3000 meters.

Posted by davidof on Wednesday, 18 October, 2006 at 07:47 PM

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