Pic du Midi d'Ossau

The Pic du Midi d'Ossau (2,884 m) is a mountain rising above the Ossau Valley in the French Pyrenees. Despite possessing neither a glacier nor, in the context of the range, a particularly high summit, its distinctive shape makes it a symbol of the French side of the Pyrenees. This familiar shape also makes it easily recognisable from afar, and it is particularly distinctive from the Boulevard des Pyrénées in Pau, some 55 km to the north.[1][2]

Pic du Midi d'Ossau
Pic du midi ossau.jpg
Pic du Midi d'Ossau
Highest point
Elevation2,884 m (9,462 ft)
Prominence1.091 metres (3 ft 7.0 in)
Coordinates42°50′35″N 0°26′17″W / 42.84306°N 0.43806°W / 42.84306; -0.43806Coordinates: 42°50′35″N 0°26′17″W / 42.84306°N 0.43806°W / 42.84306; -0.43806
Pic du Midi d'Ossau is located in Pyrenees
Pic du Midi d'Ossau
Pic du Midi d'Ossau
LocationPyrénées-Atlantiques, France
Parent rangePyrenees


As normally seen from the north, the mountain presents itself as having two distinct peaks, although from the south two other summits are also visible. It stands separate from any surrounding peaks, being largely surrounded by the valleys of the Gave de Bious, to the west, and the Gave du Brousset, to the east. These two mountain streams come together in the hamlet of Gabas at the foot of the mountain's northern slopes, to form the Gave d'Ossau.[2]

Pic du Midi d´Ossau, circa 1886

The Pic du Midi d'Ossau was reputedly first climbed in 1552 by an expedition led by François de Foix-Candale, later to become the Bishop of Aire. Although the success of this first climb is disputed, it is known that the mountain had been successfully climbed by 1787 when a military surveyor noted that a triangulation cairn had been built on the summit. The first fully recorded climb was by Guillaume Delfau accompanied by Mathieu (an Eaux-Bonnes shepherd) on October 2, 1797.[1][3]

The mountain offers many routes of ascent; the voie normale is a serious scramble and rock climb with a grading of PD, II+, 550 m. It approaches the summit via the Refuge de Pombie, a Club Alpin Francais owned mountain hut situated at 2,031 m (6,663 ft), and requires most of a day to execute.[3]

Politically, the mountain lies within the commune of Laruns, in the département of Pyrénées-Atlantiques and the Aquitaine region of France. It lies within the fully protected area of the Pyrenees National Park.


  1. ^ a b Reynolds, Kev (2004). The Pyrenees: The High Pyrenees from the Cirque De Lescun to the Carlit Massif. Cicerone Press. pp. 136–138. ISBN 1-85284-420-5.
  2. ^ a b French Atlantic Coast. Michelin Apa Publications Ltd. October 2007. p. 338. ISBN 978-1-906261-17-7.
  3. ^ a b "Los Pirineos / Les Pyrénées-RANGE > Pyrénées: Béarn > Pic du Midi d'Ossau > Normal". SummitPost.org. Retrieved 2008-08-11.

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