Trois Conseillers / Néouvielle Group above Lac de Cap de Long
There are two routes from Lac de Cap de Long
towards the summit of Pic de Campbieil
on both sides of the Crête des Alharisses
. Both can be combined into a loop, a rather long one with lots of elevation gain. The normal route, described here, follows Vallée de Cap de Long
, a wide valley, which, however, is plugged by a granite dome, Montagne de Cap de Long
. Passing this plug can turn into a UIAA III ascent in case you decide to follow the wrong path instead of a mere hike along the correct one. In general only the topmost section near the summit pyramid of Pic de Cambpbiel
shows some easy UIAA I scrambling.
The normal route from Lac de Cap de Long
is the shortest and easiest route to climb Pic de Campbieil
Lac de Cap de Long and the Trois Conseillers / Néouvielle Group
You can reach Lac de Cap de Long
from the St. Lary / Bielsa Road
- Follow the tunnel road between St. Lary and Bielsa to Aragnouet-Fabian.
- Turn north onto the Route des Lacs.
- Ignore the trailhead for Lac d'Oule at Artigusse.
- Also ignore the road to Lac d'Aubert and Lac d'Aumar
- Instead stay on the rought and follow the switchbacks to the dam of Lac de Cap de long
Nearing the top of the second step
- Start altitude: 2161m
- Summit altitude: 3173m
- Prevailing exposure: E
- Type: Hike and Scramble
nbsp; - Protection: None
Power: 2 - Strenuous
Psyche: 2 - Moderately exposed near the very top
Difficulty: 2 - UIAA I near the summit (UIAA III possible beneath Montagne de Cap de Long!)
Orientation: 3 - Tricky beneath Montagne de Cap de Long, rest straightforward
Lac de Cap de Long bends around the northernmost part of the Crête des Alharisses. Between the dam of the reservoir and the place where the crest touches the waterline there is a large parking lot. Follow this lot to its end, where a rockfall section bars the way. The path winds through several granite boulders before heading back up and getting to a large space (still looking like a parking lot). Follow this to its end where a path turns left, heading up the lower reaches of the Crête des Alharisses. It stays close to the lake's southern shore but rises for about 200m after which it levels, offering some excellent views of the lake and the Trois Conseillers / Néouvielle Massif on the opposite side.
After a short while the path descends into Vallée de Cap de Long heading down again to almost lake level. Make sure you go down all the way and make sure you cross the little creek inside the valley. There are cairns on the left hand (eastern) side but they are in poor condition and eventually lead to the UIIA III section through the south-east face of Montagne de Cap de Long. The right hand (western) path on the other hand rises steadily without much difficulty. It stays close to the creek until you reach the base of the red granite dome of the Montagne.
Here look for cairns (there are far too many) which head eastward, passing the dome onits right hand side. The path will return to the creek every now and then but thanks to its steady rise you''ll find yourself high above it. On our ascent we encountered polished slabs here which were invisible duringour descent thanks to a slightly different route. Make sure you stay as far east as possible. Finally the path heads out on a little plain beyond Montagne de Cap de Long, where you'll find a small lake or fenn.
Beyond the lake there is a huge step in the terrain. Cross the outflow of this lake at its eastern end and start climbing the step. The path switches back and forth, never really getting steep. Before you reach the top of the step, at an intersection, the path to Pic Badet and Pic Maou turns off to the right (west). Stay on the main path which levels into the upper Vallée de Cap de Long. It is a very colourful area: the black schist of Pic de Cammbbieil contrasts with the reddish brown slopes of Pic Badet and Pic Maou with the white granite top of Pic Long high above everything else.
The path now crosses a small granite area before reaching the Campbieil slopes. From here there are two options:
- The easier and shorter one cuts through the west face of the mountain, heading for a slightly pronounced saddle between Pic de Lentilla and Pic Campbieil. It is a straight path, plainly visible from below. In winter it is also the standard ski or snowshoe tour.
- The longer one heads for Hourquette de Cap de Long first (the saddle between Pic de Lentilla and Pic Maou), then turns onto Arète de Lentilla, the Campbieil / Lentilla south-west ridge. The ridge is steep but wide. LLike everything on Campbieil, it is composed of schist and getting to the top of Pic de Lentilla is a strenuous undertaking.
The path now crosses
Having recombined in the saddle the now unique route follows the Campbieil south-west ridge to the final cone with a little rock-climb (F).
Essential GearSkis or snowshoes in winter. Crampons and ice-axe in the early season (May, June). Hiking gear in dry summer conditions.