Montious

Page Type
Mountain/Rock
Location:
Bigorre, France, Europe
Activities:
Hiking, Mountaineering, Mixed, Scrambling, Skiing
Season:
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Elevation:
7123 ft / 2171 m
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Page By:
Montious
Created On: May 7, 2010
Last Edited On: May 25, 2011

Overview

The Montious from Loudenvielle lakeFrom Loudenvielle lake
Montious topMontious summit
Autumn colours in the Louron valleyAutumn walk
Vallée de BareillesWinter walk
Vallée de BareillesWinter walk

The Montious is not a very high summit of the Pyrenees, but, by being the culminating point of such huge area located on the french pre-Pyrenees of this region (commonly called "Bas-Luchonnais"), it is an important landmark.

The "Low-Luchonnais" is made of low mountains rarely exceeding 2000m, made of dense forests, endless pastures, and gentle shapes. Few of the neighbouring tops, and according to the nature of the whole area, present some rare and timid limestone outcrops.

But here is precisely the another reason with which Montious distinguishes itself: unlike the others, it is made of granite, present some rugged hillsides, and ultimate coquetry, owns the only lake of the area ! (Lac de Bareilles)

The top of Montious, with a huge cairn, is finally an outstanding viewpoint, which on a clear day allows admiring an extremely wide panorama of the high peaks of the Central Pyrenees, from the far Ariège to the Néouvielle-Arbizon barrier, much closer on the west, without mentionning all the mass of the Luchon three-thousanders on the south. Looking back at the north, the Pyrenean hills are fading out in a sea of grassy waves till the Bigorre plain.

The visit of the Montious is best appreciated in Autumn when the colors of the forest turn yellow-orange. It is also a very good spot to listen to the deer belling at night, which justifies a bivouac even if from the logistic point of view it is not necessary.

The Montious is often regarded as a rewarding trip in winter when the amounts of snow make the high Pyrenees unaccessible due to avalanche risk. A couple of other neighbours like Mont Né or Pic du Lion are worth visiting too, perhaps combined with a visit of the Montious.
On the Azet crest in winterFrom Azet ridge in winter

Getting There

Lac de Bareilles (old-fashioned non-numeric panorama...)Lac de Bareilles, old fashioned panorama

Vallée de BareillesWinter approach
Vallée de BareillesConvenient when snowy !
Autumn walk on the way to the MontiousFoggy autumn
Autumn walk on the way to the MontiousFoggy autumn
Lac de Bareilles from the Mont Né slopesBareilles lake
Lac de Bareilles & Montious from the Mont Né slopesTop & lake
On the way to the Montious, overlooking Louron valleyOver the fog
Autumn walk on the way to the MontiousAutumn

The Bareilles valley is accessible from the village of Arreau in the Aure valley, at the same junction than the Louron and Aure sub-valleys; Bareilles is somehow the 3rd heading east.

Other trailheads are located very close to it, except Bourg d'Oeuil which is much more distant and reached from Luchon.

Arreau is reached very easily laeving the A64 in Lannemezan, and taking the direction of Saint Lary (some 15km before). From Spain, the road is slightly longer, as we need to pass the border, but reasonably possible thanks to the Bielsa tunnel.

Public transports easily take to Arreau and this trip can also be done using the bus connections going in the valley, just involving a bit of road-walking up to Bareilles.


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Summit East view from the MontiousSummit East view from the Montious

Red Tape

View from Lac de BareillesView from Lac de Bareilles

Deer near Arrieu TortDeer
Observing stags in the autumn in the french PyrénéesStags

None as far as I know. Just be clean and take back all rubbish, even more if you find some on the shores of Lac de Bareilles left by undelicate visitors. Close the fence-gates behind you !

On the way to the Montious, overlooking Louron valleyOn the way to the Montious, overlooking Louron valley

Routes

Lac de BareillesLac de Bareilles

Heading to the MontiousHeading to the Montious
Montious summitMontious summit
Montious panoramaEast panorama
Montious panoramaNorth panorama
Montious panoramaSouth panorama
Midi de Bigorre from the MontiousWest panorama
Montious panoramaLouron valley
On the (snowy) way to the MontiousSnowy path
Sunset in the Louron valleySunset on the way back
On the way to the MontiousOver the fog

Montious can be reached from many ways.

1/ The most classic ascent is made from Lac de Bareilles (also called Lac de Bordère), reached by car from teh eponym village and valley. A couple of hundred meters to climb from the valley car park to the lake, and 400 more to the pass Col du Lion, and the top via Sommet du Tech.

2/ The top is usually visited in a loop, and the other route of descent (or rather ascent in winter, as it tends to be more gentle with snow), is via the Arrieu Tort hut and the hollow located SW over heading to the main ridge. From this point, the SE ridge joins the top of Montious. Arrieu Tort is best reached from the Bareilles valley, a bit below the car park.

3/ Another popular ascent route is made from Cazaux-Dussus and via the Balaricous valley. This route is described here (french + shema), and many shapes of loops can be imagined.

4/ A very "wild" way to reach the mountain, secret of my own, is made via reaching the village of Ris, and elevating via a forest track on the right just before the village. This track ends somewhere on the ridge covered by forests. We walk north on this mountain side, crossing a couple of clearings, and as we go we notice some timid trail with yellow marks. On the 1/50000 map it is called "sentier du lac" (Lake's path). Following it carefully leads us, after many directions changes occuring in the forest, to the Arrieu-Tort hut clearing. The rest is like route 2. If venturing further on this trail, we reach the clearing of Cabane du Dr Pic, and then finally the Bareilles lake. This alternative traverse can be a good way to imagine a different loop using routes 1 and 2. I wrote a text (french) about this route here.

5/ Let's mention a last possibility which consists in reaching Pic du Lion, a neighbour, from the opposite (and very distant by car) valley of Oeuil, and the eponym village of Bourg d'Oeuil, by Col du Louron.

Finally, it's worth mentionning that a couple of neighbouring peaks like Mont Né or Pic du Lion have almost exactly the same routes are are very worth visiting too.

Heading to the MontiousWinter approach, panorama

Accomodations

Cabane du Docteur PicDoctor Pic hut
Cabane d Arrieu Tort, under the MontiousArrieu-Tort hut
Cabane du Docteur PicDoctor Pic hut
Cabane d Arrieu TortArrieu-Tort hut
Cabane du Docteur PicDoctor Pic hut
Cabane d Arrieu TortArrieu-Tort - former nice memories...

* Wild camping : no known restrictions. However, try to avoid making it on the shores of Lac de Bareilles, unless you wake up and pack really early. If you camp on the ridge of the peak, make sure the weather is OK to avoid thunderlight, it is the most prominent peak of a wide area. A good place to wildcamp could be the neighbourhood of the huts mentionned below

* Ungarded huts :

There is no official mountain hut but only 2 unguarded private huts nearby. Unfortunately both are private. The first, and most famous for its original wooden architecture (made by a local who lived some time in Canada few decades ago), Cabane du Dr Pic, is officially forbidden. However loads of people use it, being friends of friends from mouth to ear. To avoid any kind of "collision" with other potentially unfriendly "flatmates", better use it out of the usual moments (week-ends mostly), and don't leave any trace of your passage. The second hut, Arrieu Tort, a more sober concrete sherperd construction, is on the other hand located in a more photogenic place. But unfortunately closed with a locker since one year, after some idiots burnt the wooden benches to make a barbecue. No idea if the situation is going change again in the future.

* Accomodations in the valley :

Concerning official campsites, there are many in both the Aure and the Louron valley. There are also many B&B, rooms, and apartments :
http://www.vallee-aure.com/
http://www.vallee-du-louron.com/
Look for the Arreau area which is close enough to the mountain.
(go to the "hébergements" category, the Tourist Information of the Valley d'Aure didn't even mind to translate the site, which is a shame...)

One accommodation is worth mention for large groups of people: La Filature (former spinning mill), in Ancizan, with further information here and here (French). Prices can go as low as 10€ for groups over 10 people. A separate apartment is available too but rates may vary depending on the charges being shared with others or not.

The Bareilles watermillThe Bareilles watermill