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The Turon du Néouvielle

Aurélien Labry

Aurélien Labry

“It is the best ski tour I’ve ever done in the Massif du Néouvielle!”

Let’s put on our skis and head to the Massif du Néouvielle for a freerando through the eyes of Aurélien who takes us to the Turon du Néouvielle.

With gorgeous landscapes, a peak over 3,000 metres, lofty ridges, and more besides, it has plenty to satisfy fans of ski touring.

The Turon du Néouvielle

I wanted to climb a peak over 3,000 m as part of a ski tour for the first time. I chose the Turon de Néouvielle which has the first recorded ascent of a Pyrenees peak over 3,000 metres in 1797.

I also chose it because it is the least technical of the “3,000” peaks and therefore very accessible, provided you are in good physical shape as it is a long route. The round trip is nearly 30 km over 7 to 8 hours with an elevation gain a little over 1,700 metres.

©Aurélien-Labry
©Aurélien-Labry

Departing from Tournaboup

Just before arriving at the Tournaboup de Barèges car park, we took Route du Lienz which leads to the start of the Piquette chairlift.

From there, my expedition partner and I headed up the valley towards the lakes and the Refuge de la Glère which, at an altitude of 2,103 metres, overlooks them. We had to consult the snow and avalanche forecast as the slopes during the first section are very exposed.

The first section offers a very gradual climb, warming you up before you tackle the steeper slopes. 

An idyllic valley

Just before we got to the lakes, the low cloud cover showered us with refreshing little snowflakes.

We continued towards Lac d’Estelat, and the clouds parted, giving way to brilliant sunshine, so we had the chance to enjoy the gorgeous landscapes and identify a range of possible routes to reach our goal.

Leaving Lac d’Estelat to our left, we climbed the steep idyllic vale that leads to the ridge separating the Turon de Néouvielle from the Pic de la Coume de l’Ours.

©Aurélien-Labry
©Aurélien-Labry

A stunning view

When we reached the ridge at 2900 m, we were blessed with a captivating panorama including a stunning view of the Pic Long, which reaches a peak at 3192 m, and, to our right, Mont Perdu and Vignemale.

After a short break to catch our breath, we continued east to tackle a fairly steep slope,which required us to ensure our footing, leading to the ridge overlooked by the Turon de Néouvielle, our destination. From this landmark overlooking the Lac de Mainportet, it is easy to spot the last slope formed by the Mainportet glacier leading to the Grail.

After crossing the glacier, you come across a short sloping ledge, and then the last 50 metres of elevation gain leads to the final summit. The weather was good during our ascent, but the icy wind at the peak cut our break short : once we’d taken a few photos, our fingers were beginning to freeze !

Feeling like you’re “on top” of the world

I loved this feeling of being on the “roof of the world” with the Pic de Néouvielle next door, and much lower, at 2,000 m, the immense lake and dam at Cap-de-Long, the Pic Long and then, in the distance, the famous Brèche de Roland.

On our way back already

As we prefer loop itineraries, we headed down by following the ridge overlooking the Lac de Mainportet, enabling us to stay at the maximum altitude at all times. We had to take quite a few shortcuts before reaching the Lac de la Glère which we circumvented on the right. The last slopes took us into the valley leading to the Plateau du Lienz, and we crossed paths with hikers heading to stay at the Refuge de la Glère. 

©Aurélien-Labry

3 allée Tournefort 65200
Bagnères-de-Bigorre

05 62 95 50 71
info@tourmaletpicdumidi.fr

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