HRP Stage 1 – Lescun to Gavarnie
During this stage of the HRP we see some of the highlights of the French Hautes Pyrenees National Park. These include:
- The Chemin de la Mature – a pathway hewn into the cliffs
- Passing the Pic du Midi d’Ossau, the Balaitous and the Vignemale with its dramatic North face glaciers, three of the most iconic peaks of the Pyrenees
- Stunning views into the Cirque de Gavarnie on the final day.
Timings are taken from published guidebooks. In some cases we have increased them, following several years’ experience of walking the HRP with a group. The actual day length however may be longer, depending on numbers, and the abilities and fitness of group members.
What the price includes
The price shown for this week of HRP trekking includes:
- Seven nights accommodation in manned, catered refuges and backpacker style hostels.
- Continental breakfast, picnic lunches and copius dinners
- 6 days guided trekking with a qualified international mountain leader and thier accommodation and food.
- Local transfers during the trek where required
- Left luggage facility (please note bags will leave you the night before the trek starts), and transfer of these bags to the end point
You will need to make your own travel arrangements at the start and end of the trek but we are happy to suggest travel options.
The HRP is a high mountain, challenging and remote trek. In the unlikely event that you are forced to abandon the walk the guide is committed to remaining with the group to ensure their ongoing safety on the trek. The guide will make every effort to accompany you to a major trail,refuge, or intersection with a public highway. From this point onward the guide and companies responsibility for you is disengaged. Mountainbug does not cover the cost of your return transport or alternative accommodation after you have left the group. Please ensure that you have undertaken sufficient training and preparation for this trip, and that you have adequate travel insurance.
View HRP Week one interactive larger map
This is the week’s itinerary for Stage 1 of the HRP.
Saturday – Arrive at Etsaut
We meet in the traditional mountain village of Etsaut, nestling deep in the imposing Vallee d’Aspe. After meeting your guide and the rest of the group, we enjoy a comfortable night in civilization, getting ready for the week’s trekking.
Sunday – Etsaut to the Refuge d’Ayous, 5 hours
Today we begin on the GR10, starting with the impressive “Chemin de la Mature” – an airy pathway hewn into the cliffside in the 17th century.
Soon we find ourselves at the Col d’Ayous with an awe-inspiring view over the Pic du Midi d’Ossau, and our refuge sitting beside its own lakes.
Monday – Refuge d’Ayous to the Refuge Pombie, 5 hours
This short day has its challenges, as we steeply ascend the flanks of the Pic du Midi Ossau, through a rugged landscape of craggy peaks and fallen blocks of volcanic rock.
Tuesday – Refuge Pombie to the Refuge Arremoulit, 5 hours
We spend the first part of the day in the valley bottom, in pretty pastureland, with the opportunity to buy fresh Pyrenean sheep’s cheese along the way.
After lunch we traverse above the Lac d’Artouste on the airy Passage d’Orteig and across a dramatic granitic landscape to the Arremoulit.
We then spend a night in the shadow of the towering Balaitous.
Wednesday – Refuge Arremoulit to the Refuge Wallon, 8 hours
This is a long, tough day, taking the HRP variante Sud through Spain to pass the enormous Respumoso reservoir and the stunning Col de la Fache at 2664m.
At this altitude, there will be patches of snow to cross and an almost martian-landscape of broken red rock
Thursday – Refuge Wallon to the Refuge Bayssellance, 8 hours
An easy scramble this morning takes us to the Col d’Aratille with views south into Spain again.
Once we reach the Col des Mulets, we’re rewarded with stunning views of mighty Vignemale and the North Face glacier.
In the afternoon, after hot chocolate at the Oulettes de Gaube refuge, we ascend again to the Hourquette d’Ossoue (optional ascent of the Petit Vignemale, 3032m) to reach the Refuge Baysellance.
Friday – Refuge Baysellance to Gavarnie, 6 hours
It’s worth getting up early today to see the sun rising behind the pink-tinged walls of the Cirque de Gavarnie.
We descend beneath the East-face of the Vignemale – one of the largest remaining glaciers in the Pyrenees, to reach the barrage d’Ossoue. From here we have a relaxing walk down through marmot-riddled meadows to Gavarnie.
We then take a mini-bus transfer to Luz St-Sauveur, a lively village, for a well deserved night’s rest in a local hotel.
Saturday – Day off
If you are staying with us for Stage 2, today you can enjoy the pretty town of Luz St. Sauveur. Take a dip in the outdoor pool or pamper yourself at the thermal spa. Luz has several sports shops and a supermarket if you need to replenish your supplies.
People who are joining us for Stage 2 will meet us in the evening, and we’ll all enjoy a good night’s rest in a comfortable hotel, ready for the next week’s trekking.
Trekking – Dates & Prices
Please see below for the dates of our Trekking holidays.
Our calendar is flexible at the moment, so contact us if you’re interested in a trekking week that isn’t timetabled at a date that suits you.
Please click on each type of trekking holiday for a full description and photos.
For you personal mountain guide for trekking and hiking please contact us. Some trips require a minimum number to be confirmed, please refer to our terms and conditions for details.
Please also find our trips offered by our partner Tour Operator Utracks and World Expeditions.
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