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La Dent d’Orlu, Goulours

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Starting from the Lac de Goulours, the ascent of the Dent d'Orlu or Pic de Brasseil on its north face, well known to climbers for its south face, offers a spectacular aerial view of the peaks of the Haute-Ariège. The final route is very steep to reach the summit ridge overlooking the Orlu valley. To avoid a round trip, a loop can be made on the way back, joining the Coume Grande and returning on the D25 down to Goulours, along the stream.

Depuis le sommet de la Dent dOrlu

Technical summary

Type ✦ Hiking
Location ✦ Goulours
Region ✦ Ariège
Country ✦ France
Direction ✦ Nord
Max altitude ✦ 2222m
Length of ascent ✦ 18,6km
Dénivelé ✦ 1170m
Difficulty ✦ AD
Duration ✦ 6h to 7h
Interest ✦ ★★

Access to the place

From Ax-les-Thermes, climb towards Ascou and the Col de Pailhères. Pass under Ascou and continue to Lac de Goulours. Drive along it, through the village of Goulours and on to the entrance to Lavail. Park here, near the Ascou forge (campsite). If you have 2 vehicles, leave the second vehicle beforehand on the D25 towards the Ascou-Pailhères pass at the Coume Grande exit (parking lot, sled dog house).

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 1h15 à 1h30

This approach can be made by car, as the track from Lavail climbs up to the frying pan parking lot. Alternatively, you can walk back via the Coume Grande.

In this case, cross the Lauze and take the GR up into the forest (short cut) to reach the track. From here, walk eastwards for a while on the forest track. The trail climbs gently upwards, eventually revealing the Dent d'Orlu between the trees and leading to the "frying pan" parking lot, in a basin at the foot of the Dent d'Orlu on the north side.


The ascent is fairly short but physical, and quite steep on the final ramp. The path is marked all the way to the top. The loop via Coume Grande requires you to cross the east combe off-piste to the huts/shelters.

Part 1: The ridge to the foot of the Dent d'Orlu (1980m, 45' to 1h)

Leave the parking lot across the grassy basin and climb the opposite side of the ridge, following the signposted path through the undergrowth. After almost 300m of steep ascent, you come out onto the open ridge. Angle towards the tooth. The climb is less steep until you reach the small plateau at the foot of the final ramp. Here you'll also find the fork to the Col de l'Ègue (and back via Coume Grande).
Part 2: The north-east face of the Dent d'Orlu (2222m, 30' to 45')

Follow the very steep path unless, as was the case today, snow is still present and you have to improvise off-piste. At the top, a slightly more exposed passage along a rocky slab leads to the summit ridge. Spectacular 360° view over the South Face.
Part 3: Loop via Coume Grande (1h to 1h30)

Return to the foot of the dent and this time head for the Col de l'Ègue. Before reaching it, cut through the off-trail combe without too much difficulty to reach the hut you can see below, on the edge of the forest. We tried to climb back down to the stream from the top, but it's not easy and you end up on a steep slope. From the hut, the best thing to do would be to rejoin the stream and follow it along the left bank and then the right bank, ending up on the track that leads back to the D25.


If you have 2 vehicles, leave them at the exit of La Coume, where there is a large parking lot. Otherwise, it's a few kilometers of asphalt back to Lavail and La Forge d'Ascou.

Map & topo

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