- Time5h 5'
- Vertical rise875 m
- Vertical descent875 m
- Horizontal distance7,4 Km
- Type of journeyReturn
- Severity of the natural environment4
- Difficulty in movement5
- Amount of effort required3
This is not a technically difficult route, although it does ascend a high peak and therefore involves the demands of a high altitude route. The height, crossing glacial terrain with some crevasses and a long final climb over poor rock means this ascent is not to be underestimated. Therefore, some experience in travelling over snow and ice is required. The use of helmets, ice axes and crampons is also a must and roping up is highly recommended. The point of entry onto the glacier can vary from one year to the next.
We head off from Bayssellance (2654 m) and descend several metres following the GR 10 long distance footpath to Barrage d'Ossoue. Shortly afterwards, after crossing the ridge of Petit Vignemale, we leave this marked path to the right and take another fairly well-trodden path (crossing with route 05) which heads west near to the foot of the rock face where we start to ascend the glacier.
The path is very evident during the early stages, although it is harder to make out later on, and becomes more well-defined again later. On the part of the path that is the least obvious, there is a section where we may need our hands to help us, taking care not to slip and keeping an eye out for falling rocks from the ridge and the faces of Petit Vignemale. Although not particularly difficult, this section does require care to be taken. It can be avoided by descending further down the GR 10 footpath until the bend leading to Grottes Bellevue, and there diverting towards the glacier. This alternative entails less risk but it does increase the overall vertical climb of the route.
After crossing the moraine we enter Ossoue glacier and follow the gentle ascent to the part below the summit pyramid of Pique Longue. From there we start a simple, but rather long, climb (around 150 m) over broken terrain. The pitch of the terrain and the risk of falling stones and rocks make this final stretch the most exposed before reaching the summit. You should therefore take care. The route to follow is not obvious and a whole heap of markers indicate the different routes. All of them are of similar difficulty and all merge at the summit of Pique Longue de Vignemale (3299 m) which is the top point of the massif.
We return by retracing our steps on the same route.