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Pic de l’Homme, Orlu

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From the Forges d'Orlu, passing the imposing Etang de Naguille and, above it, Etang Déroum and Etang Tort, you reach the Pic de l'Homme, which rises timidly at the end of a long rocky ridge. Another, shorter option is to start from the Llau parking lot in the next valley, but access has been forbidden since June 2020. No regrets, though, as the ascent from the east side is spectacular. The ridge between Pic de l'Homme and Serre de Canras allows you to complete the loop before returning to Naguille via Rec de la Coume Greulière (off-trail section). The only drawback is the interminable descent through the forest to get back to the starting point.

Section finale pour rejoindre le sommet du Pic de l’Homme.

Technical summary

Type ✦ Alpine hiking
Location ✦ Orlu
Region ✦ Haut-Ariège
Country ✦ France
Orientation ✦ East
Max altitude ✦ 2486 m
Distance ✦ 17,2 km
Dénivelé ✦ 1600 m
Difficulty ✦ E4 / T3 / E3
Duration ✦ 8h to 9h
Interest ✦ ★★

Access to the place

From Ax-les-Thermes, head for Mérens and Andorra. Just outside the town, turn left towards Orgeix and Orlu. Drive past Orlu and continue along the road until you reach the Forges d'Orlu parking lot on the right.

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 2h30

From the parking lot, cross the Oriègp and follow the yellow and red path up to Etang de Naguille. This is the start of a long, sustained climb through the forest, before emerging 1h30 later on more open, flatter ground. There's another 1 hour or so to reach the bottom of the dam and climb up the right-hand side to reach the étang de Naguille.

Course 3h à 3h30

The route follows a minimal path with a few cairns to the summit of Pic de l'Homme. The second part is off-piste, but without too much difficulty (with the GPS track it's better). The ascent includes some very steep passages in gispet or scree, and you'll have to put your hands down a little on the final section and in a few places on the ridge (III max, airy and exposed in places). The loop can be extended by continuing along the ridge and descending further (see purple map), which we didn't do as we were new to the route.

Part 1: Étangs Déroum, Étang Tort and Pic de l'Homme

From the dam, walk along the west bank of Etang de Naguille, and almost at the end, just before a bend with a large waterfall cascading down from the right, climb up on an inconspicuous, unmarked mini-trail. The path climbs steeply and quickly. You cross a torrent above to tackle a scree slope and thread your way between rock and grass to reach (and discover) the Déroum pond. From here, follow the path along the pond and climb to the right in a small couloir along a mini torrent to emerge higher up at étang Tort. It's easy to see the path ahead and the Pic de l'Homme, which forms a small bump at the end of a long ridge. Skirt the Tort pond and climb the gispet and heather slope to reach the Tort pond pastoral hut just below the summit. All that remains is to climb straight up to the summit along or in the large scree. We finish below the ridge on a path that weaves its way between the boulders. A few easy but exposed climbing passages, we pass a surprising stone arch (natural?) to finish fairly quickly at the summit. Spectacular 360° view.
Part 2: Crêtes, Serre de Canras and Rec de la Coume Greulière

From the summit, descend below the south-facing ridge along the same path as the ascent, passing the arch and attempting to cross towards the clearly visible ridge to the northeast, staying fairly high but avoiding the ridge, which looks complicated at first. Soon enough, you find a steep passage in the gispet to access the edge of the ridge. Walk along the wide but airy ridge without difficulty to reach the summit of Serre de Canras at the end. From here, you can either continue along the ridge to make the extension, or drop off slightly to the east to approach the edge of the cliffs and literally overlook the Déroum and Naguille ponds. Then walk gradually downhill, heading north. You'll soon see the top of Coume Greulière, which you'll reach by returning to the ridge you left. Once in the Coume, head due east along the torrent, keeping to the left bank. We head straight for the Etang de Naguille. Further down, the grassy slopes are steep in places, but negotiable to return to the path you took on the way up from Naguille to Déroum. We then return to Naguille level at the end of the loop.

Back

Continue along the Etang de Naguille back to the dam and then reverse the long, actually rather interminable, descent back to the Orlu forges parking lot.

Map & topo

The purple line indicates a possible extension (discovered too late): continue along the ridge past Le Serre de Canras and descend into the Rec de la Coume Greulière on the opposite side (visible in the last photos).

Voir en plein écran

Photos

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