ROUTE 04: PONT D'ESPAGNE – OULETTES DE GAUBE REFUGE
Pont d’Espagne car park - Oulettes de Gaube refuge
- Time3h 0'
- Vertical rise725 m
- Vertical descent50 m
- Horizontal distance8,3 Km
- Type of journeyMountain Crossing
- Severity of the natural environment2
- Difficulty in movement2
- Amount of effort required2
At the end of the Pont d'Espagne (1460 m) parking area there is an information and service centre for visitors. At the other side of this building the route starts, and begins on the GR 10 long distance footpath which is signposted throughout.
Follow the paved road behind the building and soon you will reach a fork (crossing with route 03) where a track leads off to the right towards a footbridge. Ignore this turning and follow the road around several bends until you reach Pont d'Espagne (1496 m) You will not cross it because a few metres before you arrive there is a signed path that zigzags upwards through the forest. This path, always obvious, leads up to La de Gaube (1731 m), where there is a bar / restaurant that is open during the summer months. A bridge crosses the natural outlet from the lake leading us to border round the left bank. Some distance beyond the inlet to the lake there is another bridge taking us back to the right side of Gave des Oulettas de Gaube. The path, that is distinguishable at all times, alternates between gentle areas and steeper climbs and passes by Cabane du Pinet, a small free refuge in good conditions. You will cross a forested area leading to pasture land whilst always heading south up the valley. Ahead of us is the north face of Vignemale. Return to the left bank after once again crossing a bridge and following the bank head up some short zigzags up the final climb leading to the Eras Oulettas plain, undoubtedly one of the most impressive landscapes in this mountain range. To the left, on the rocky mound closing the plain to the north, the Oulettes de Gaube refuge (2158 m) is found, which we reach by crossing the river over a small bridge and going up a short hill.