Walk in , ascent 971m, length 9.1km
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David-Guenot: Track 3109 in area near France, Midi-Pyrénées ()
Length: 9.1km, Creator time taken: 7h35m, Ascent: 971m,
Descent: 1114m

Places: Start at Lon 0.143319, Lat 42.8405, end at Start
Logged as completed by 1
The classic route to the Pic de Néouvielle (3091m), from the Lac d'Aubert. The area is quite frequented and the access to the upper lakes (Lacs d'Aumar and d'Aubert) is restricted; a bus shuttle takes you all the way up and down from the Lac d'Orédon from 9am to 6pm during the summer. Plenty of walking to do in the "Réserve Naturelle de Néouvielle", from family strolls alongside the lakes to tougher hikes up the highest summits, some of them being only accessible to rock climbers. After having been up the Pic d'Estaragne (3006m) and the Pic de Campbieil (3174m) in October last year, this was my second hike in the area.
I had a late start as I had to park at the Lac d'Orédon and wait for the bus shuttle to reach the starting point at the Lac d'Aubert (2150m). Not much distance and not much climbing for a +3000m, one would say, but most of the terrain consists of massive rocks and scree, and the last part up the former Glacier de Néouvielle is really tough-going.

Looking E after about one hour climbing from the Lac d'Aubert (l., on the foreground).

After a gentle stroll along the dam, the rather well-defined path rises to the SW, then veering NW to contour the Crête de Barris d'Aubert and reach a kind of col at ca. 2430m, with the use of hands required at some point, but nothing really difficult. Great views above the lakes all along this first part. Once at the col, the feeling of isolation was striking, even though I met a few hikers who were on their way down. After a first section of large boulders, the faint trail continues WNW, with a short grassy portion and then some loose scree (best is to stick to the lower trail). The ground levels for a while at ca. 2700m, just before reaching the Brèche (col naturally carved in stone) de Chausenque. The game commences here.
L. to r.: the Pic Ramoun (3011m, l.), the Pic de Néouvielle (3091m, l. in the background) and the Brèche de Chausenque (centre).

Follow the faint track to the left (SW); it disappears and reappears after another section of boulders, some of them really huge. I followed the track up to the right side of the vale to avoid the remaining patches of snow which still covered the hollow and then veered left. From that point, I got really exhausted and had to stop every now and then to take a breath. I had experienced a similar feeling of nervosity and sudden fatigue just before reaching the 2800m contour two weeks before, as I was climbing Vallibierna in Spain, and I reckon this must be due to the height. The last 250m of climbing required quite a bit of scrambling and orienteering on steep ground, with large boulders strewn all over the place.
Rock, rock and more rock: the former Glacier de Néouvielle is really tough-going !!

The final ascent requires some more scrambling up a short, but steep gully to reach the summit area. Some fantastic views suddenly appear to the E, and after crossing a slightly exposed section, you turn right to reach the main summit.
Stunning views to the E, with the Lac de Cap de Long (2160m) and the Ramoun (3011m) on the foreground, just before reaching the summit.

The views are fabulous and extensive, with many other high summits visible and also the lakes to the E. The most adventurous would probably try to reach the S top, which stands only a stone's throw away, but seems to require some more difficult scrambling.
Looking S from the top of the Pic de Néouvielle (3091m), with its secondary top (l.) and what must be a fantastic ridge for rock-climbing on the foreground. In the background, l. to r.: the tiny-looking hump of the Pic d'Estaragne (3006m), the impressive Pic de Campbieil (3174m), the Pic Badet (3160m) and the Pic Long (3192m), the highest summit of the Massif de Néouvielle.

I sat there for a while, enjoying the panorama and admiring the clouds passing by, before descending the same way. I met a group of four hikers in their fifties who were a bit confused with directions on their way down, as the clouds had finally come down. We did the rest of the descent together and they offered me a lift down to the Lac d'Orédon (it was too late to catch the last bus shuttle), which saved me about 6km of road walking.

Uploaded on: Wed, 9 Sep 2015 (19:12:55)
Trackback: https://mountainviews.ie/track/3109/  
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