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On the path to the Montcalm

The Pic des Trois Seigneurs / The Peak of the Three Lords (2199 m).

On this month’s program, three courses (7 km long and 1200 m positive altitude difference / 17 km and 1700 m / 33 km and 1850 m) to discover the Pic des Trois Seigneurs and its mountain range, an iconic summit with on one side a beautiful 360-degrees panorama to the lower Ariège and the other side, the whole chain of the Pyrenees.


The starting point of the three courses is the same: the village of Suc.


- The first course is 7 km long for 1200 m positive altitude difference:

The Pic de Pioulou (2102 m)


At the entrance to the village of Suc, you park in front of the "PEP" groups reception center. By the way, it’s a good idea of accommodation alone or in a group if you come here to practice trail. In front of the church, turn right on a very steep street. At the end, in front of the wash house, you turn left on the hiking trail that leads you to the bridge of la Ganioule to reach Arbu or the Pic des Trois Seigneurs. Just before reaching km 2, you have to turn right. The path is not marked but it is quite visible. Keep an eye on the GPS track. The climb is severe up to the shepherd’s hut. At that time, you will enjoy the view to the surrounding summits. The path continues on a ridge and goes around the mountain circle. You approach the Pic des Trois Seigneurs and you discover the valley of Courbière, the blue lake and the Artax lake, the lower Ariège and the region of Toulouse, the Mont Fourcat ... On the other side, a view to the Bassiès and the Montcalm mountain range is offered to you. One idea: you can join the ridge of The Trois Seigneurs through a VK (Vertical Kilometer).

Being well exposed to the sun, this course is practicable early in the season. It is also possible to start from the village of Sentenac.

The map:


The profile:





- The second course is 17 km long for 1400 m positive altitude difference:

The Pic des Trois Seigneurs / The Peak of the Three Lords (2199 m) 


The departure is identical to the Pic du Pioulou course which will be used on the descent but you will have to stay on the highest path, on the mountain side. The climb will be relatively easy up to the stone bridge of Ganioule (1420 m) where the path will become steeper. You will see many orris before arriving at the beautiful Lake of Arbu (1720 m) you will have to get around on the left side. Follow carefully the yellow mark to reach the West ridge between the Pic de Barres and the Pic des Trois Seigneurs (2099 m). Continue towards the peak while following the markup. Once at the Pic des Trois Seigneurs, continue to progress on the ridge by following well the markup. You will successively cross the Pic de Créde (2197 m) and the Pic de Peyroutet (2165 m) to reach the Col de la Couillate (1961 m) overlooking the aptly named long lake and blue lake. You then join the route of the Pic du Pioulou to reach this summit and then go down to Suc.

WARNING: This path on a ridge is to be prohibited in case of bad weather conditions and low visibility! In addition, at some passages, you may have to use your hands.

The map:


The profile:






- The third course is 33 km long for 1850 m positive altitude difference:

The Pic des Trois Seigneurs / The Peak of the Three Lords (2199 m) and all its mountain ridge.


The path up to the Pic du Pioulou is the same as the previous course. Once at the summit, follow the ridge to reach the Col du Bassibié (2034 m) and go up again to the Pic de Bassibié (2114 m). Continue on the ridge, enjoy the view on the Artax lake that you overlook before reaching the Col de Lastris via the ridge of Courtal Terrous. All this part of the ridge from the Pioulou peak does not present any technical difficulty. At the pass, take the GR of the Tour du Pic des Trois Seigneurs (yellow and red marking) on your right and follow it up to Sentenac through the villages of Lapege, Ilier and Orus. Once in Sentenac, you just have to join the village of Suc.

The map:


The profile:




The Pic du Far (1925 m)

With the summer temperatures of these last weeks we can begin to plan the future mountain trekking that we will be able to realize as soon as the snow has melted.

On this month's program, three courses (10, 16 & 18 km) showcasing the Pic du Far, a wild peak with one of the most beautiful panoramas on the Montcalm massif.


The starting point of these 3 itineraries is the same: The parking of the Auzat gymnasium.


- The first course is 10 km long for 1200 m positive altitude difference.

This is the itinerary of the first VK (Vertical Kilometer) in the history of the Montcalm Challenge. Indeed, before taking place at the Pic du Sarrasi, our VK was at the Pic du Far. After leaving the streets of Auzat in the direction of Saleix, the slope increases rapidly. Do not miss at the intersection the path to the Pic du Far. You will find it on your left, 50 m after the intersection with the trail that leads you to the Virgin. The path will quickly turn into a very nice single track. You will rise gradually on a zigzag climb. A mountain cabin will mark the first 500 m of positive altitude difference in less than 2.5 km. After 750 m of positive altitude difference, you will have a very beautiful view over Auzat and its sports field. The exit of the forest will take place after 900 m of positive altitude difference with a succession of orris and a magnificent sight on the 3000 m summits. A flat part of a few meters is followed by an off-track path where you will have to follow the path and especially some cairns that will guide you to the top (be careful, this part is very wild, to be done only with good visibility and while being very careful). At the top you will face the Massif de Bassiès and its magnificent peaks (Cap de Fum, Pic de Sauve, Pic de Belcaire and the Pique Rouge de Bassiès). The return is made by the same way in the opposite direction, with a lot of caution.

The map:


The profile:


The downloadable GPS track:



The second course is 16 km long for 1250 m positive altitude difference.

After reaching the Pic du Far (1925 m) you will find a small single track on a relatively flat part overlooking the Bassiès lakes. Be careful, this part is not marked, it is necessary to follow the cairns and not to go down directly to the lakes. You will follow a path with increasing slope that will drive you down to the “the long lake” at 1629 m altitude where you will find the GR 10. You will continue on your left to reach the Escales lake, its dam and its view on the Pique d’Endron. Just after the dam, you will cross the stream of Bassiès on a dry-stone bridge which is one of the beauties of our massif. You continue to descend on the GR for 2 km. Once arrived at a crossing at the attitude of 1173 m you will leave the GR 10 to continue your descent towards the parking of Massada. You then follow the final part of the Montcalm Marathon to the parking of the Capunta waterfall where you go back over the cemetery on a path on the mountain slope. After passing the Virgin who watches over Auzat you will find the beginning of the course. You will then have to walk only a few hundred meters to find the streets of the village and the parking.


The map:


The profile:


The downloadable track:





The third course is 18 km long for 1500 m positive altitude difference.

At the intersection between the “long lake” and the GR 10 you will take this time the GR on your right towards the refuge of Bassiès. You will walk along the "major lake" and "Pla de la Font lake" ponds to reach the refuge which is open from late May to mid-October. After a stop, you will find the itinerary of the PICaPICA with a short but steep climb to reach the Port de Bassiès. The path descends to the beautiful Alat lake before going up to finally descend to the port de Saleix which will allow you to admire the Couserans. The descent will lead you to the Orris de Carrol and its shepherd's hut. The path becomes a little wider to take you to the Col de la Crouzette. For the braves, you can continue your path by taking the final part of the PICaPICA race via the GR of the Tour des Trois Seigneurs but the easiest solution is to continue on the long track that will take you to Saleix. Arrived at the village, follow the yellow marks to go down directly to Auzat.


The map:


The profile:



The downloadable GPS track:





The Villages Tour :

With the winter and the heavy snowfall of recent weeks it is necessary to adapt your training. Our valley has many resources and we can practice the trail 365 days a year.

This month's program includes two circuits (42 km & 26 km) that tour the villages of our valley with a high point at only 1300m altitude which allows them to be followed when there is snow on the summits:





- The first circuit starts from Auzat and is 42km long for 2200m positive altitude difference:

The start takes place at the Cascades car park in Capounta. You will then follow the beginning of the Trail of Miners, of the Novis Trail and of the PICaPICA. You will cross the villages of Olbier then Goulier to reach the Peak of Risoul where was developed a free flight paragliding takeoff area. You will descend to the village of Sem to discover the remains of the mines of Rancié. Arriving at the pass of the Sainte Tanoque cross, you will join the famous GR10. A descent will allow you to cross Lercoul, Seuillac and Siguer. It is then time to climb, again on the GR 10, to reach Gesties where you leave the GR to follow a forest road on the side of the mountain before descending to the village of Capoulet and Junac.

You will follow the Vicdessos river before going up to Lapege. You will then be on the beautiful GR of the “tour des 3 seigneurs”. This path on the side of the mountain will take you through the villages of Illier (where you will find the route of the Novis trail) Orus and Sentenac. You are at the foot of Pic d'Engral which can be a good training spot but you will have to wait until the snow melts. You leave then the GR to join Saleix and go down again to Auzat. This route allows you to resume long training sessions while discovering all the beautiful villages of our valley.

The map :



The profile :


The downloadable GPS track:



- The second circuit starts from Arconac and is 26km long for 1600m positive altitude difference:

The start takes place at Arconac, at the food supply point of the Novis Trail, with a first climb on the path but in the opposite direction of the Novis Trail, to arrive at the first village you will cross: Sem. You join the itinerary of the big circuit. You follow the same route to Illier and then run down back to Arconac, again taking the route of the Novis Trail but in the reverse direction. This route is more accessible and allows you to discover villages that our official routes do not cross.


The map :


The profile :



The downloadable GPS track :






Square channel, path FFA


With winter and the comeback of the snow, it is necessary to adapt one’s training. Our valley has many resources and one can practice the trail 365 days a year.

In this month's programme, an idea of ​​an itinerary on the “square duct” that is part of the GR 10 but above all, an FFA labeled trail. A loop of a little less than 8 km with a little more than 300 m positive altitude difference, starting at the Pont de Gers.

Inauguration canal carré

There are two possibilities for this itinerary:

- Doing it in the traditional way as indicated on the information board located at the start of the trail. The advantage is to be able to have a long part of warm up on a false flat and to be able to well visualize the indications (every 100 m) on the “square duct”.

 - Doing it in the opposite direction, which allows to have a good altitude difference at the beginning and more important, to recognize the course in view of the Montcalm marathon.

It is this second option that I describe below:

After 800 m uphill you will join the Montcalm marathon route. The ascent continues and after a little more than 1.5 km warm up, where the main altitude difference of the loop is concentrated, you will arrive on the “square duct” at 1180 m altitude. This old abandoned aqueduct built in 1904, channeled the water collected upstream to a loading chamber, called the water chamber. From there, a forced water line towards the Auzat hydroelectric station channels the water whose driving force operates the turbines. Overlooking the high valley of Auzat, often in the shade, it is a pleasant way perfect for a family walk. Secured, it offers to the walker, according to the direction of the walk, a panoramic view of the Montcalm massif, the Soulcem dam and the Artiès valley or the villages of Auzat, Laoujou, Ranet and in the distance, Orus and Illier without forgetting Olbier and the castle of Montreal de Sos.

Carte postale

You are on your way for 3 km flat with a marking every 100 meters. Arrived at the first houses in dry stone (the place is called “Les Toutous”) you will go down towards Marc then follow the Vicdessos river and return at the beginning of the loop by taking the path of the final of the Montcalm marathon.

This loop is accessible to all and allows you to hike, jog with a splendid view or to do split sessions and maybe even several times in both directions for those looking for a larger volume of training.

The map:


The profile:


The downloadable GPS track: