Plan de Montmajou-Sommet de Prat-Pardin from Artigue
Plan de Montmajou – Sommet de Prat-Pardin, out and back along the ridge which marks the border with Spain, from the village of Artigue.
Route details and GPX track:
A gentle ascent via the GR10 from Artigue (mandatory car park just before the entrance of the village) to the foot of the Plan de Montmajou (2081m), via the Cabane de Saunères, then straight up to the top; next I followed the ridge which marks the boundary between Spain and France in a southbound direction, to the Sommet de Prat Pardin (1982m) via two minor tops. Return along the ridge and along the SW slopes of the Plan de Montmajou to rejoin the GR10.
Difficulties: no technical difficulty on this route in summer conditions. Unmarked trails from the final pull up the Plan de Montmajou. The route finding is obvious as far as the Plan de Montmajou, and pretty obvious along the ridge too. On the way back, contouring the Plan de Montmajou requires a bit of caution: make sure you re-climb ca. 50-60m so as to avoid a rocky outcrop (“les Garraspes” on the IGN 1:25000 map), before dropping down to the Cabane de Peyrehitte, which is only two minutes away from the GR10.
If you have enough time and energy and if the weather allows, I’d recommend you continued to the two summits S of the Sommet de Prat-Pardin, the Plan de la Serre (2018m) and Tuc de Bidur (2019m) -adding a mere 3km and 150m height gain out and back. It is also possible to complete a loop walk, dropping down SW from the Col de Hont Hérède, S of the Tuc de Bidur, and following the trails along the slopes, either to rejoin the Cabane de Saunères, where you can pick the GR10, or directly to Artigue from the S.
29th October 2019 summary:
Perfect weather conditions, excellent visibility (apart from the blinding sun), panoramic views from the car park at the entrance of the little village of Artigue, near Luchon, which became absolutely stunning once I reached the top of the ridge, expanding from the Pic de Maubermé to the Pic du Midi de Bigorre, with the breathtaking Aneto/Maladeta massif and the +3000m peaks of the Luchonnais/Perdiguère massif looking really close, a breathtaking scenery enhanced by the presence of snow above ca. 2500m and the fantastic autumn colours !! 😍 Add a few griffon vultures and a couple of alpine choughs flying by, gliders passing only a few tens of metres over my head (!!), deer still rutting on the Spanish side, a small group of deer spotted on the way down, plus a friendly encounter during the first part of the ascent with a lady who lives in the area, and you have all the ingredients for a perfect day out in the mountains !! The only downside was, it got too cloudy at the end of the day, meaning no beautiful sunset to enjoy.