TOUR OF MONT PERDU
An extraordinarily dramatic and varied trek
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The summit of Mont Perdu (3355m), the great lost mountain of the Pyrenees, lies hidden from France by the seemingly impenetrable walls of the Gavarnie and Estaubé Cirques. To get to the mountain from Spain is no easier. Explorers first had to hike from the Aragonese village of Torla along the huge Ordesa Canyon and then up through the Circo de Soaso before attempting the stiff climb to the summit. Mont Perdu is the centrepiece of the Spanish Parque Nacional de Ordesa y Monte Perdido which was established in 1918. At 3355m it is the highest limestone summit in Europe and the third highest peak in the Pyrenees.
This trek is a concentration of impressive mountainous beauty! Every day is intense and diverse as we leave from Gavarnie, through the famous Col de Tuqueroye with its view on the north face of the Mont Perdu, via frozen lakes, above the Anisclo and Ordesa Canyons, THE summit, the Faja de las Flores above the Ordesa Canyon, the legendary Breche de Roland….enough to keep you dreaming for years to come!
• Cross from France into Spain through the Breche de Tuqueroye
• Climb to the summit of the legendary Mont Perdu
• Walk the fabulous Faja de las Flores footpath
• Return into France through the Breche de Roland
*from 4p = discount of 50€pp
This price includes :
• 6 days guided walking
• 7 nights accomodation (2 in hotel + 5 in refuge)
• All breakfasts, dinners & 5 picnic lunches
• Transport to/from trek start and end points
The best way to get here is via train to Lourdes and then connecting SNCF bus to Luz St Sauveur. Hotel Les Templiers is 3 minutes walk from the Tourist Office where the bus lets you off. If you arrive on the night train to Lourdes you’ll arrive in Luz about 9am. You can check into the hotel, relax for the day and perhaps have a warm up stroll around the village. In the evening the group will meet for drinks and dinner.
We drive up to the village of Gavarnie (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and from there we set off on the first day of the trek via the Gavarnie Cirque. The morning ends at a memorable lunch spot below the ‘Grande Cascade‘ (the longest waterfall in Europe at 426m). After lunch we trek along a dramatic balcony path and on up to the Espugettes Refuge where there are great views of the Breche de Roland.
The second day of the trek crosses the border into Spain at the Col de Tuqueroye. This high pass is home to a small mountain refuge (the highest in the Pyrenees) from where you get your first dramatic view of the north face Mont Perdu (see the photo at the top of this page). We pass the Lac Glacé and head steeply down through the Pineta Valley to the Ronatiza refuge.
Today is the hardest and longest day on the route with a 1600 metre climb and a walk around the edge of the canyon. We follow the GR11 to the Col de Anisclo before traversing around the Ansiclo peak with the help of some well placed ‘calvijas’ (see note below). Eventually you come out at the Collado de Goriz and finish with a gentle walk to the hut, perhaps stopping at a small waterfall and swimming hole.
We leave the Goriz Refuge early and head first to the Lago Helado (frozen lake) at the Col del Cylindro before making the long climb on steep slopes to the summit of the Mont Perdu. From the summit, having taken in the 360° views over France and Spain, we re-trace our steps back to the hut to celebrate or rest! This is a possible rest day for the non peak baggers.
The gentle climb to the top of the Cotatuero Cirque is followed by a steadily climb to the mythical Breche de Roland. The refuge here is closed for renovation in 2018 so we descend directly to Gavarnie via the Plateau de Bellevue. There are great views across to the grande cascade where we began our walk six days ago.
The last day takes us from Gavarnie on the GR10 up to teh Saugué Plateau for postcard views into the Gavarie Cirque. We continue around to the Bué forest for views into Estaubé and Troumouse Cirques and then down to Pragnère where we are collected for the short transfer to Luz. Last night in Luz St Sauveur – warm showers, proper beds and a nice meal celebrate the end of the trek.
We organise transport to Lourdes to suit the group. If you are catching the night train you have the day spare to spend in Luz, Argeles or Lourdes. Visit the beautiful village of St Savin, do the Tour of Luz valley walk or just laze around and enjoy the scenery.
This trek involves relatively long days with an average altitude gain of 1000m/day and some days with more. To consider this trek, you should be comfortable walking for 8 hours in the mountains at your own pace with, of course, short rests here and there and a decent lunch break. The following day, you should be able to get up and do the same again! We are walking in high mountain terrain and although, for the major part, we are on paths, you still should feel happy with rock or scree underfoot. If you feel unsure about your capacity to do this trek, please don’t hesitate to talk to us about it.
On this trek breakfast, packed lunches and dinners are provided by the refuges. This itinerary may be altered if conditions, weather forecasts or the overall fitness of the group are judged to put the safety of the group at risk.Our guides reserve the right to make changes to the itinerary without notice. These changes will, of course, be explained to the group if they occur.