■ Type of route: ridge
■ Total vertical drop / difficulties : 1000 m / 165 m
■ Rock: granite
■ Direction: north (approach/return), south (route)
■ A pproach/route/return time: 2h30 / 2h / 3h
■ Min and max altitude : 2150 m / 3091 m
■ Equipment in place: a few pitons, a few jammed nuts, a strap
■ Equipment required: 40 m of rope, lots of long straps, a few medium-sized friends, crampons and ice axe if necessary (passage over the old Néouvielle glacier). GPS track very useful.
Difficulty: AD, max grade 4a in the dihedral, mandatory grade 3c. The route is easily protected. Two sections to be climbed with a belay: the dihedral and the final slab.
Route description on Diario de Montaña y Viajes (in Spanish and Catalan)
Access to the place
Ascent to the Glère refuge (2150m, 1h30 to 2h)
From the parking lot, follow the track due south, then cut across it on the steep path that leads to the Glère pumping station, then one level up to Lac de la Glère. The refuge is just above, at 2150m, with a magnificent view of the lake and the Néouvielle peak opposite.
Map & topo
Hiking to the start 2h30
From the refuge de la Glère, follow the path up to the upper lakes. Pass between Lac de la Mourèle and Lac de Det Mail. At this point, where the return path from the Brèche de Chaussenque returns, climb up, keeping to the right of the torrent, along a large, high waterfall to reach an upper basin where Lac Bleu is located. You're facing the Pic du Néouvielle and can clearly see the brèche you're aiming for. Descend a little and tackle the final scree, easier with the névé, to emerge between the Pic du Néouvielle and the Pic des Trois Conseillers, at 2927m with a view of the south side and the Lac de Cap de Long. Start of the ridge to the northeast.
Course 2h à 2h30
The ridge can be divided into several sections. We had to do everything on a tight rope except the 2 pitches of the dihedral and the final slab with a belay.
We start with a fairly vertical section that quickly gains height, where we have to thread our way between and over the granite boulders that pile up on top of each other. There are several jumps before a more horizontal section leads to the base of a fairly short dihedral, clearly visible in the distance.
The dihedral is traversed with a harder step from IV to exit, where there is 1 piton and 2 belayers for protection. Alternatively, you can avoid the dihedral by passing through the "letterbox", a narrow passage under a boulder to reach the ridge more easily further on. The rest of the route is easier and less steep. The end of the route is clearly visible, with the final slab and the summit ridge leading to the Pic. Keep going until you come to the right of a flat-headed gendarme, the "prow of the ship".
Position yourself to the right of the gendarme and take a traverse step under a small bulge to discover a beautiful, slightly sloping sculpted slab. This is a splendid pitch, aerial and with plenty of holds to enjoy. You then exit onto the summit ridge. The rest of the route is easy to climb horizontally to the summit at 3091m. Spectacular 360° views.
The return journey is no picnic! Descend from the summit via the normal route, initially heading south, then rounding the peak to reach the scree slope above the old Néouvielle glacier on the north side. Descend the valley without too much difficulty and quickly, at the level of the first basin, leave the normal route to turn left, cross over and find the access to the Brèche de Chaussenque. After a steep 50m ascent over scree, pass the breach and switch back to the west side.
Gently climb down the steep couloir on unstable terrain at the start, then over an endless chaos of granite boulders. Further down, you come to a small pond, follow the cairned path back to the Det Mail lake. Follow the approach path back to the refuge de la Glère.
Allow a good 1 hour to descend from the refuge to the parking lot on the Lienz plateau.