Location ✦ Sorgeat
Region ✦ Ariège
Country ✦ France
Max altitude ✦ 1780m
Distance ✦ 15,8km
Vertical drop ✦ 750m
Difficulty ✦ AD
Duration ✦ 4h to 5h
Interest ✦ ★
Access to the place
Map & topo
Hiking to the start 20'
Drive through the village, passing to the left of the church, in the direction of the campsite. On leaving the village, turn right onto the track/road heading due east. Follow this track, which later becomes the GR107. Continue gradually uphill until you find the GR path rising to the left. Start of the loop.
No difficulty in terms of orientation for most of the route. Only the final ascent of the Pic Doulent and the return descent via the Coume Belle along the Riu Caud are off-trail but obvious.
Part 1: Col d'Ijou (1649m, 45')
Steep, winding ascent on the GR path. You quickly gain altitude. After about 20' minutes of ascent, almost 400m of ascent, the slope becomes gentler. We pass through forest before crossing the hillside to the west. A 2nd passage through undergrowth and a final climb to the Col d'Ijou. At this point, the path swings to the north.
Part 2: Cabane de Sorgeat (1571m, 45')
Descend the wide path that veers lower to the west. An inland valley opens up, with the Chioula refuge visible in the distance. Pass the Pla de la Garde and follow the track back east. You pass the Col de Pierre Blanche at 1549m. It then descends very slightly, and as you round a bend, you come to the Sorgeat hut.
Part 3: Pic Doulent (1780m, 1h30)
Pass behind the hut on the path, cross a flat area and head back north-east. Cross gradually and climb diagonally to the ridge that leads to the summit of Pic Doulent, a rocky outcrop facing south. Beautiful panorama. Overlooking the plain.
Section 4: Torrent de Riu Caud (1h)
From the summit, continue along the south-east ridge and descend fairly steeply off-piste to join the passing GR below. Follow it eastwards and once in the forest, leave it to descend the slopes in the woods and reach the bed of the Riu Caud torrent. Follow it along the right or left bank to find a grassy track at the bottom which leads to the road/trail coming from Sorgeat, at the level of a small stone house, le Courtel d'Aybram.
From Courtel d'Aybram, follow the road downhill (a shortcut is possible at the start via an old track on the right-hand side, to avoid the first hairpin bends). Follow the winding track along the torrent and out of the valley to the start of the loop. Then return to the Sorgeat parking lot in the opposite direction to the approach.