TOPO Ski Touring
Location ✦ Col de Puymorens
Region ✦ Ariège
Country ✦ France
Length ✦ 15.9kms
Vertical drop ✦ 1150m
Max altitude ✦ 2534m
Difficulty ✦ R-2.3-E1
Duration ✦ 3h to 4h
Interest ✦ ★
Access to the place
Map & topo
Hiking to the start 1'
On the other side of the N20, heading northeast. The valley is obvious.
It's a round trip with 2 times around 600m of ascent and descent, long and gradual in the starting valley, shorter and steeper on the way up from the étang des Bésines. No difficult sections, but a few steep ones which can be a little tricky on icy days like today. Easy, clear descent.
Section 1: Porteille d'En Garcie, 2534m (1h to 1h30)
Climb up the valley, which forms a long, wide couloir, staying on the right-hand side, on the south side, without crossing the bed of the central torrent. It rises very gradually, eventually crossing over to the north and continuing gently upwards until you reach a small, steeper narrowing that leads to a new, very wide, slightly hollow flat, the top of the valley. Cross this and head left for the steeper, winding section leading to the pass at 2534m. From here, Puig Pedros and Puig de la Couma d'Or are clearly visible.
Part 2: Étang des Bésines, 1990m (15′)
Descend a 1st slope to the north, then follow the valley with a few squeezes, flats and other small walls. The skiing area is wide and easy. Further down, you reach the forest, which you have to cross to reach the top of the Bésines pond, close to the refuge.
Part 3: Porteille d'En Garcie, 2534m (1h to 1h30)
The climb back up is less obvious and more physical. To get out of the forest and regain altitude, before returning to the flats above. A few shorter, steeper passages before you find yourself below Porteille. Then there's the last slope to climb, with overhanging traverses that are not easy on icy surfaces.
The return descent glides through the middle of the wide valley on a gentle overall slope, except for a narrow corridor between rocks. Below, the slope is less steep, requiring direct tracks to continue gliding. The view of the Andorran peaks is splendid. Once you've crossed the torrent bed again, on the south side, keep fairly high between a few fir trees. We finish by pushing a little on the poles to get back to the starting parking lot.