Landscapes “rich in nature” on this hike in the area of Gavarnie, accompany your steps towards the peak of Taillon, through the legendary Roland breach. Taillon, a summit that at the top of its 3144 m, offers a stunning panorama and striking views as far as the eye can see.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
Leave your car in the Col des Tentes, which is the end of the route. Continue on foot along the road closed to traffic in the direction of the Port of Boucharo, (1) which can be reached 25 minutes. After 1.6 km, walk on the old road, and at the intersection of Boucharo harbour, you will see a sign on the left towards the Brèche de Roland shelter.
The path climbs gently at the foot of the Gabiétous and on to Taillon. Continue until you reach the first real climb of the day, consisting of a wide glacial cross cliff under the Taillon glacier. Then cross a rocky bar shared by sheep and a stream. (2) Take care on the rock as it can be slippery when wet. Climb an area of moraine debris (3) along the winding path.
A rapid rise in the upper moraine leads to the narrow Cold des Sarradets (4)(1 hour 35 minutes without stops). The view across the top of the Gavarnie cirque is finally revealed. The trail descends and leads you in five minutes to the refuge of the Breche de Roland. (5) Be careful if snowfields persist, especially early in the season. From the refuge, the view of the Breche de Roland, facing south, is great.
Things get complicated after the refuge and the slope steepens sharply.
Head on the route of the rise of the Breche de Roland. The path takes the glacier’s moraine (melted when I passed through last, but this is not always the case and so care must be taken), first heading south, before turning west and making a wide turn back to the east towards the Breche.
Then we reach a ledge (6) where we discover the Breche before tackling a steep slope. Be careful, especially early in the season because gravel can cover the ice in places.
We reach Breche de Roland (7) in 2 hours without stops. Here, the views are stunning both towards the north and south.
After a few photo opportunities, we move to the Spanish side continuing right on the paths from the cliffs (8) of Pointe Bazillac. A short slope-side passage (caution if there is snow) follows. It leads to Le Doigt (9). Head round this to the north using your hands for stability. Be careful because this is the most exposed passage of the ascent. The route overlooks the Taillon glacier and we can now see the last part of the climb.
The trail is clearly visible on the south side whose colours vary from tan to grey. Follow the path left on the sometimes narrow border ridge. The last climb runs steeply along a path that rises up the Spanish side.
And the summit in good weather, the 360° view is beautiful and enormous. You can see the Balaïtous, Vignemale and its glacier, the Neouvielle Peak, the Cylindre and Marboré, Mont Perdu, and Gabiétous Peak.
To return, head back down the same path. Expect to reach the car park of the Col des Tentes in 4 hours.
D/A : km 0 - alt. 2211m - Col de Tentes
1 : km 1.64 - alt. 2271m - Boucharo harbour
2 : km 4.02 - alt. 2457m - Ridge and torrent below the Taillon glacier.
3 : km 4.09 - alt. 2495m - Moraine debris.
4 : km 4.54 - alt. 2589m - Col des Sarradets
5 : km 4.72 - alt. 2555m - Refuge des Sarradets or the Brêche de Roland
6 : km 5.13 - alt. 2720m
7 : km 5.36 - alt. 2813m - Brêche de Roland - Brèche de Roland
8 : km 5.76 - alt. 2877m - Cliffs of Pointe Bazillac
9 : km 7.68 - alt. 2911m - Le Doigt (the finger), head around by the north.
D/A : km 13.87 - alt. 2212m - Col de Tentes
This hike is for fit and experienced hikers.
Highly recommended: the period from June to September. Includes a section across the snow fields early in the season.
This hike is very busy during the summer months. The Col des Tentes car park is full in summer from the early morning. Therefore arrive very early not to have to park along the road.
This hike is best on a sunny day without strong wind and with clear skies. The view will be even more beautiful.It is imperative that you take warm clothes and equip yourself with high, non-slip footwear.
Do not leave without first consulting the weather forecast and do not hesitate to turn back or put off the hike if conditions are too uncertain.
If the day is to be sunny, remember sunscreen, glasses and a hat.
Remember to bring enough water.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
Take a stroll in the village of Gavarnie
Easy ride to Espécières lake, close to Col de Tentes
The Gavarnie Cirque is an outstanding area of conservation. It is classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. This easy hike will give you your first look at it!
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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.