How to get there:
The charming village of St. Girons (south of Toulouse) is a
good starting point. From there it is about 20km south-west
to the trailhead and parking area (Riberot). Route description:
There are two different trails leading up from the valley to
the mountain hut Refuge des Estagnous at the base of Mont Valier.
We have hiked both trails, they are nice and easy, the easternmost
perhaps a bit longer in time as it gains more elevation which is lost
on the very last section down to the hut.
The hut can be recommended for an afternoon and night stay, they served
us an excellent four course dinner with wine for a very reasonable
price (everything being carried up by mule or donkey). From
the hut the trail enters more rocks and gets a bit steeper
as it winds up to the pass Coll de Faustin (2653m). From the pass
the trail easily gains the summit. Comments:
The Pyrenees is characterized with relatively large elevation
difference and a lot of open grass slopes compared to most other
mountain ranges. We traversed along the narrow top ridge forming the
French Spanish border towards west after returning to Coll de Faustin.
This involved some scrambling and eventually the ridge became steep
enough that a rope would have been in order. Part of the ridge is also
loose and rotten rock of an unpleasant nature. At the end we returned
back to the pass Coll de la Pala de la Calavera (2522m), an important
route during World War II. Returned to the valley by way of the pass
Port de Barlonguère.