Standing in the broad valley of Argelès-Gazost and looking to the south, this valley is blocked by two very different looking mountains: the elegant peak of Pic de Viscos and the broad and heavy looking mountain of Pic de Cabaliros. Both mountains are parting the main valley into three: the so called “Trois Vallées”, the three valleys of Azun, Cauterets and Luz Saint Sauveur / Gèdre.
Pic de Cabaliros is the northernmost summit of a south – north running ridge which begins high on the Spanish – French border at Pic de Cambalès and bears other wellknown Bigorre mountains like Grand Barbat or the huge Moun Né. It is situated between the beautiful Val d´Azun to the west and the deeply cut in Cauterets valley to the east. To the north the Cabaliros slopes drop down about 2000 meters of altitude difference to Argelès-Gazost and Pierrefitte-Nestalas.
Being a meadow summit makes Pic de Cabaliros an easy hiking aim and a whole year undertaking; in winter and spring several ski tour routes are leading up that mountain. You can choose whether to start from the bottom of a valley, which can be a very demanding adventure as the height difference between Pierrefitte-Nestalas and the summit is nearly 2000 meters. Or you use one of the dirt road approaches on the northwestern side from the village of Sireix to gain a higher starting point.
Pic de Cabaliros is an excellent viewpoint and a nice hike, too. The summit, however, is occupied by some ugly sender and meteorologic devices and – as it is full of sheep dropping – a summit break might be better done some steps away. But there is a huge informative sign on the highest point where you can learn the names of hundreds and hundreds of peaks, summits and mountains. And the meadows near Col de Contente are free of sheep pollution.
There are many possibilities to summit Pic de Cabaliros. Main trailheads are Estaign and Sireix to the west and Cauterets to the east.
You reach Sireix and Estaign
on highway A 64 (toll road); exit number 12, “Tarbes Ouest”. Proceed on road N 21 to Lourdes and on road D 821 to Argelès-Gazost. At Argelès-Gazost follow the direction “Arrens-Marsous” and Val d´Azun and go on D 918 to Arras-en-Lavedan. Take there D 13 and D 613 to Sireix or D 13 and D 103 to Estaign.
You reach Cauterets
on highway A 64 (toll road); exit number 12, “Tarbes Ouest”. Proceed on road N 21 to Lourdes and on road D 821 to Argelès-Gazost. Follow D 821 until it crosses the river Gave de Pau. The road is now D 913. Follow it to Pierrefitte-Nestalas to the first rotary. Take D 921 to the right to Soulom. At the second rotary take D 920 to the entrance of Cauterets. D 312 branches off to the right. Follow this road until another road branches off to the right with signposts “Aumède”. This narrow roads leades up in some zigzags to the “Ferme d´Igou” above Cauterets; there is a hikers parking area at the end of the paved road.
Route OverviewThe following names of the trails are no official denominations. They correspond to the trailheads.
At the parking area above Cauterets is a signpost for “Cabaliros”. Follow the dirt road up in some zigzags and some more signposts for “Cabaliros” to the Bois d´Aumède. The road ends and a narrow forest road guides you up to the meadows of l´Espone. At a fence and a blocked gate a trail starts to the left. Follow that trail into the valley which comes down Soume de Picarre, crossing a creek and traversing little Bois de la Peyre. After the crossing of a second creek the trail starts to zigzag up the southeastern slopes below Soum de Picarre and Col de Contente. At that Col the trail reaches the ridge between Pic de Cabaliros and Moun Né. Turn northeast and follow the trail on the ridge crest, crossing another saddle, Col d´Anapéou and ascending Clot de la Bassette. The trail reaches the Cabaliros summit using the east-north-east ridge.
East of Estaign a short way up the western slopes of Cabaliros a trail, the GR du Val d´Azun follows the valley from south to north. Follow this trail to the north until another trail branches off to the right after having crossed a creek. This trail zigzags steeply up through the Bois de Castet Merdet to an ancient lead mine. Above the mine the terrain gets less steep and between 1600 m and 1700 m the trail vanishes. Follow the broad valley and the meadows off-trail or following cattle trails up to Clot de la Bassette where you meet the uppermost part of the Cauterets trail.
You can start at Sireix and follow a trail to Hontède, to the Cabane d´Artigue det Mi and to the Cabane de l´Abédet. From there you have to reach Pouy Droumidé, the point 1691 m in the IGN maps.
Most people follow by car a paved road from Sireix with a signpost “Cabaliros” up some 11 km until the paved road ends. From there they start their ascent to Cabaliros. This is below and near Pouy Droumidé at about 1500 m.
Ascent to Pouy Droumidé and follow the trail which uses the north ridge of Pic de Cabaliros to gain height. You can stay on the trail, enter the northwest cirque below Pic de Cabaliros and Pic Arraillé, a secondary summit of Pic de Cabaliros, and gain the summit via its east slope. Or you leave the trail below Pic Arraillé, climb that subsummit via its east slope and follow the north ridge to Cabaliros.
There are other possible routes starting at Pierrefitte-Nestalas, Saint-Savin, Arcizans-Avant, which are all very long and have huge altitude differences.
The IGN maps show some ski routes on the northwestern slopes of the mountain. In fact I found these slopes very appropriate for a nice ski tour. You may start at or above Sireix or Estaign and ascend / ski down the meadow slopes west and northwest of the summit. The south, east and northeast slopes are very steep and may not be convenient for ski tours.
Red Tape & Accommodation
Pic de Cabaliros is not within a Reserve Naturelle. Nevertheless respect the wildflowers, animals and the grazing cattle.
Hotels, bed & breakfast, holyday houses and apartments, campgrounds can be found in every nearby village like
Gear & Mountain Condition
Pic de Cabaliros is a hiking summit, mainly for late spring, summer and autumn. You need normal hiking gear, good shoes and on some routes a knack for orientation and for off-trail walking.
The northwestern slopes of Pic de Cabaliros can be a nice ski tour. There are some ski routes in the IGN maps. As usual you need full ski tour and avalanche gear for that undertaking.
avalanche bulletin of Hautes Pyrénées
Maps & Guide BookMaps
IGN 1 : 50.000
Carte de Randonnées 1 : 50.000, number 4, Bigorre, IGN Rando Editions
Better for planning and orientation:
IGN 1 : 25.000
Number 1647 ET, Loureds, Argelès-Gazost, Le Lavedan
Number 1647 OT, Vignemale, Ossau, Arrens, Cauterets
If somebody knows good guide books with Pic de Cabaliros please add them to the “Additions & Correction” section, I will fill them into that page.