Vignemale Massif

Page Type Page Type: Area/Range
Location Lat/Lon: 42.77000°N / 0.148°W
Additional Information Elevation: 10820 ft / 3298 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Located in the Central Pyrenees the massif of tha Vignemale has long been a source of inspiration for mountaineers.

The Legend

Author: Rafa Bartolome Date: Sept 10, 2003 3:03 PM The legend of this massif is joined inevitably to the figure of the Count Henry Russell that rented this mount as summer residence for 50 years to the government of France. Russell constructed the famous caves excavated in the rock of the mountain with his team of collaborators and he is the first man who is remembered that he had audacities of sleeping in the summit. Among the anecdotes of this visionary one tells that he accumulated a lot of stones in the top to achieve that the mountain was measuring 3300 exact meters. Though the first ascensions are known with accuracy to this mount the majority of the routes were opened by Russell in his more than 50 ascensions to this massif. The route of the south was realized by the first time by a woman member of the team of Russell who gave name to col of Lady Lister.

South Face route (from Bujaruelo)

Getting There, CAUTERETS (France)

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Cauterets can be reached by car or bus from Pau via Lourdes (south of France). From Cauterets, take the route to Pont d´Espagne for 8 km. When you reach the National Park sign, take the obvious, signposted path heading left. This will bring you to the Oulettes de Gaube Hut, at 2.158 m, the base camp for all North Face climbs, in two and a half hours. From Dec-March you could take a chairlift from Pont d´Espagne, which will cut your journey time by half an hour.

To climb all the summits by the Normal Route (South), you have to go via the Baysellance Hut, at 2.651 m. It can be reached from Oulettes de Gaube in an hour or directly from the village of Gavarnie in three hours

North Face routes

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Petit Vignemale, (3.032m)

1.- North Face Direct, TD+, 300m
2.- Goulotte Lechêne
, TD- (IV/4+,70º), 300m
3.- North West Buttress
, AD+, 350m

Col des Glaciers

4.- Séracs Route, PD+ (III/3,60º), 300m

Aiguille des Glaciers

5.-North Face, D-, 300m
6.-North West Buttress
, D, 300m

Pointe Chausenque Glaciers, (3.204m)

7.-Couloir Arlaud-Souriac, TD+ (V/5-,80º), 600m
8.-Mixed Emotions
, ED (A3+,V,80º), 600m
9.- Direct North Face
, ED, 600m
10.- Diagonal Route
, TD, 600m
11.- North West Buttress
, TD, 700m

Piton Carré Glaciers, (3.197m)

12.- Couloir de l´Y, TD+ (V-,5+,60º-90º), 600m
13.- North Face
, TD, 600m

Pique Longue, (3.298m)

14.- Couloir de Gaube, TD (IV/4+,70º-85º), 600m
15.- North Face
, D+, 900m
16.- Les Délinquants de l´Inutile
, ED (VI/6-,A3), 800m
17.- North Buttress
, TD+, 750m
18.- Yellow Angle
, ED (A2,6b), 550m
19.- Despiau-Lucquet
, ED+ (A3,6b+), 500m
20.- Clôt de la Hount Gully
, D- (IV/3+,50º), 350m
21.- Gaube Ridge
, AD, 400m


When to Climb

Normal routes are feasible all year round. The rock-climbing routes are best tackled in summer. The gullies are in condition from Dec-May, but this varies.

Miscellaneous Info

  • Cauterets and Gavarnie are th nearest villages. They have hotels, hostels and shops to buy mountain gear and food.
  • The Oulettes de Gaube Hut has 82 beds. The Baysellance Hut has 70 beds; book both through the Club Alpin Français.
  • Rescue services are available and it is always best to carry insurance.
  • Red Tape, None
  • Language, french. Although some people speak some Spanish and English.


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Most of the info from the book ´World Mountaineering´ (ISBN 1-55192-151-0) coordinated by Audrey Salked.

Weather Forecast

Click Here: For a 7 days weather forecast in the spanish side of this area !!


All info gathered by:
Jonás Cruces
Mountain Guide & Rock + Ice Climbing Instructor

This is his website:

External Links



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