Location ✦ Ascou, Col de Pailhères
Region ✦ Ariège
Country ✦ France
Length ✦ 6,5kms
Vertical rise ✦ 370m
Difficulty ✦ MD
Max altitude ✦ 2364m
Duration ✦ 2h to 3h
Interest ✦ ★★
Access to the place
Map & topo
Hiking to the start 20' à 30'
Climb up to the road and once at the highest level, head towards Tarbésou on a long plateau with a few fir trees. Aim for the eastern side of Pic de Mounégou, the 1st round peak that starts the ridge towards Tarbésou. Once at the foot of this peak, climb a little to find a sort of col. This is the starting point for the ridge, and also the end point of the loop.
Course 1h à 1h30
With a very reasonable distance and altitude difference, the loop is accessible and can be completed in half a day. The route is fairly straightforward, and the ridge is wide and safe. In case of ice, crampons will be required for the final ascent to the summit and the steep and slightly exposed descent to the Pic de la Coumeille de l'Ours.
Part 1: Mounégou ridge (30 to 45′)
Climb full iron to pass under the Pic de Mounégou and continue upwards at an angle to the south-west. Higher up you pass an intermediate summit at 2171m. It then descends a little to pick up the slope again as you approach the summit of Tarbésou. The final section is steeper but fairly short. You're now on the summit, a veritable lookout point over the Pyrenees.
Part 2: Return via Coumeille de l'Ours (30′ to 45′)
Descend on the opposite side, to the south-east, on a fairly steep slope that joins the col below the Pic de a Coumeille de l'Ours. Then plunge left into the valley, staying high enough to make the long traverse back to the loop's starting point. The itinerary here has to be improvised, as snow cover obscures the summer trail.
The route is identical in the opposite direction, across the large plateau to the parking lot.