Montcalm is the most eastern peak of three-thousand meters of the Pyrenees. The most important peak of its massif is Pica d’Estats (3.144m)
, the highest summit of Aríege (France) and Catalunya (Spain), but Montcalm is an interesting climb probably in the same day of the main summit because is near. As well it's a good option to visit another time the area climbing another route to Pica d’Estats because all the routes are long in this massif. The landscape is very interesting and it’s a very advisable climb.
The summit is in French territory because the border goes in the ridge of the Pica d’Estats at South of this peak.
The normal route goes across the North face from col de Riufret but it's possible to reach this point from the two normal routes of Pica d’Estats, Pinet or Vallferrera. Because all the routes are long you need two days to climb Pica d’Estats and the second day you must descent all the route to trailhead but I think is interesting the ascension of this nice peak before the descent because you need only 1 hour more to climb it.
Getting ThereFrom Spain
, drive to Lleida in the first place. Your most likely entrance points to the spanish territory will be Madrid or Barcelona, and highway AP-2 shall be the easiest way to reach Lleida frome any one of them. After Lleida, drive north along road C13 towards Andorra. About 3km after Balaguer, you will have to take a turn left (north) towards Tremp, La Pobla de Segur and Llavorsí. Turn right at this last village to follow road L504 towards Alins and (shortly afterwards) road L510 to Areu. After Areu the road turns nasty, badly conserved, but four-wheel drives should be able to make it up to the parking area of La Molinassa (after 11 km). If you find you can't, the car can stay at the parking area of La Farga (about 5 to 6 km after Areu). Bear in mind that you will have to walk for about two hours before you reach the Vallferrera hut if you choose to leave the car at this last spot.
If, whatever the reason, you can't drive all the way up to the Vallferrera. Alsina Graells is the bus company serving these valleys from Lleida or Barcelona. Line 413 goes from Barcelona to Pont de Rei and line 417 goes from Lleida to Esterri. Both of them have a stop at Llavorsí. As far as I know, there is no bus service up to Alins or Areu.
, no matter where you start from, the first thing to do is reach Toulouse. Afterwards, you have to take highway A61 towards Carcassonne and take the exit for highway A66 to get to the southern town of Foix. After that, get going to Tarascon sur Ariège (road N20-E9), and turn right towards Vicdessos (road D108), Mounicou (through the Forêt d'Auzat, via road D108) and take a final drive to L'Artigue by road D66. Leave the car at L'Artigue to start walking towards the Réfuge de Pinet.
The spanish (south) route of the mountain is part of the Parc Natural de l'Alt Pirineu, administrated by the regional government (Generalitat) of Catalonia. It is therefore subjected to special rules.
-Spain: Refugio Valferrera
-France: Refuge de Pinet
Free camping is strictly forbidden anywhere in the Spanish Park, but tolerated if you place your tent over 2000 meters above sea level after 8 p.m. (and bring it down before 8 a.m.!). A very good place to camp is the Estany de Sotllo with a lot of green plateaus to put the tent. Another option es the Estany d'Estats.
In French side is possible the Vivac at 1 hour of a refuge and the areas signalled.
route from Pinet to gps.
route from Pinet
, text in French with some images.