Global warming: popular Pyrenees mountain glacier disappears entirely

A French glacier expert has warned that all of the mountain ranges’ glaciers will be gone by 2050

Another Pyrénées glacier, the glacier de Taillón, remains but experts believe all of the mountain ranges' glaciers will have melted by 2050
Published Last updated

The Pyrenees’ Gourgs Blancs glacier, a popular spot for amateur mountaineers due to its accessibility, has now completely disappeared due to rising temperatures.

The glacier sat at an altitude of 3,128 metres and was located in the Luchonnais valley region in Haute-Garonne, close to the border with Spain.

The picture in the Tweet below shows a comparison of the glacier at the beginning of the 20th century and the below picture, taken on August 6 this year.

Patrick Lagleize, head of the Pyrenean high mountain guides group, said the glacier’s disappearance is “heartbreaking”.

“It hurts us immensely to see glaciers disappear but we have always been able to adapt to our environment,” he told France3.

The Gourgs Blancs was particularly popular with mountaineers as, despite its altitude of over 3,000 metres, it was easily accessible for amateur climbers.

Mr Lagleize said that snow and ice facilitates mountaineering and makes things easier.

However, for the past 12 years guides have been avoiding climbing up through the Gourgs Blanc glacier due to a lack of snow, and only use the route on the way down.

Pyrenees glaciers to disappear by 2050

Pyrenean glaciers have lost 90% of their surface area since 1850, Montagnes Magazine reports.

Pierre René, founder of Moraine, an association for the observation of glaciers in the Pyrenees, has previously said that by 2050, all of the mountain ranges’ glaciers will have disappeared.

“I counted 44 glaciers during the first inventory that I did in the year 2000,” he told news site 20 Minutes in 2016.

“Today, there are only 27 left.

“We are witnessing their disappearance. In 1850, there were a hundred of them. We have lost three quarters already.”

Related articles

Mountain life: 200 years of guiding us at Chamonix in the Alps

Annecy, Lyon, Avignon: The French towns most at risk of rising heat

Climate change: Snow disappearing from Alps, France included