El Midi

Rarely have I spent as much time admiring a peak as I have the Midi d’Ossau. I’ve walked past it, all the way around it, and gazed upon it from virtually all of the points on a compass. Though it’s just over 100 meters shy of the Pyrenean standard 3000-meter mark, it’s an iconic peak because its distinctive rocky mass is visible from so many places and doesn’t have to compete with any other giants in the vicinity. The Midi stands alone.

Last weekend some friends and I finally set out to conquer it. After my experiences with Almanzor, I wasn’t sure we’d make the summit on the first go, but I figured we’d give it a try.

September is a lovely month for mountain climbing. In fact, last September we finally did climb Almanzor (no issues there without snow), and the Midi also proved to be no problem at all, apart from the crowds of people we were climbing with. It is advisable to rappel down the three chimneys you find at the start of the ascent (and some people roped up them), and you have to wear a helmet because there are some serious rocks that fall from time to time, but it is nowhere near as vertiginous as the Gran Facha, for example.

Here are some different views of the peak from my wanderings in the Pyrenees. This one’s from the Col de Peyreget, directly south of the peak and so close it’s nearly unrecognizable.

You might have to strain a bit to see this one, but it’s the highest peak here among these May snow-covered mountains, and looks a bit like a camel’s hump

Here’s the first view we had of the Pic du Midi on the HRP in 2010, from the Col des Moines, which is just beyond Astun.

Later that day we climbed up the Pic d’Ayous to get a better view of the Midi through the drifting cloud.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget the view we had from our campsite on Lac Gentau, near the Refuge d’Ayous, the next morning.

Then we continued east on the HRP and looked back on a new view of the peak.

Last summer I got yet another perspective on the Midi from the Ibones de Anayet.

We spent a long day finally climbing it, and the sun had gone as we hiked out to the van last weekend, but we kept looking back at it.


4 Responses to “El Midi”

  1. 2 Ben Thursday, 15 September, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Stunning Katie, what amazing photos – lucky you all round!

  2. 3 Katie Thursday, 15 September, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    thanks for reading, guys!

  3. 4 Tom Monday, 26 September, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Yes, more great photos!

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