Lake of Barroude by the hourquette 1 cedric conchonLake of Barroude by the hourquette 1 cedric conchon
©Lake of Barroude by the hourquette 1 cedric conchon

Lake of Barroude by the hourquette of Chermentas

by Eric conchon

Lake Barroude, located in the Gela Valley, is a high altitude lake (2355 meters). Its welcoming banks offer themselves to hikers looking for charm, soothing and serenity and attracted by the walls composed by the Pic de la Gela, Pic Gerbats, Petit Pic Blanc, Pic Heid and finally Pic de Troumouse. The refuge having burned in the fall of 2014, the lake becomes more intimate there. It reveals its sunset only to rarer spectators. Only one way: stay or more exactly bivouac to see the cliffs go numb at dusk and awaken at dawn.

It all starts with preparation, motivating the troops after a few fitness hikes in the Néouvielle valley. To surpass oneself, to be moved and to blossom are the sensations that we have come to seek.

A nice day trip for the family.

A start in Saint-Lary

And a passage through the estives

Our excursion starts in Saint Lary taking the road leading to Spain through the Aragnouet-Bielsa tunnel. After turning right (D 118) towards the ski resort Piau Engaly, we park our car at the bottom of the parking lot number 1 leading to the entrance of the Badet valley. Tent, gas, sleeping bag, clothes and food for 2 days, we start the climb by the path leading to the Badet lake.

After 40 minutes of rather easy climbing, we stop in front of an unusual sight. A cow has just given birth to a small calf that is not yet standing on its feet. By the enticing smell they are 1, 2, 3…20 vultures which arrive on the spot to delight in the deliverance of the cow and can be of a small very frail calf. An epic battle between a 600 kilo mastodon, master of the summer pastures and 8 kilo birds of prey, masters of the air and sky. Helped by another cow the scene will last 45 minutes the time for the little one to stand and take its first feed.

Recovered from our emotions we continue to the lake of Badet where the emerald blue water reflects the surrounding mountain. ” This is well worth a break! “


The serenity and the restful calm of the laquettes.

Two hours later, we arrive at the Hourquette de Chermentas culminating at 2439 meters and bordered by the Pic de la Gela and the surrounding ridges. A cake quickly swallowed and a bit of fresh water, we are already back in the Gela valley. A path zigzags along the cliffs. It allows us to be in the shade for 1 hour because it is very hot! (≤30°C).

Wandering through a chaos of boulders, shrill whistles can be heard. Given the temperature, it is normal to encounter a few marmots resting in the cool.

Living on the mountain we arrive at the crossroads of the paths, one leading to the lake of Barroude, the other going down into the valley. We emerge directly onto the lake in the Pyrenees National Park, a nature reserve. The site is idyllic and invites to bivouac which is tolerated from 7pm to 9am. We will have time to fish !
The fishing rod is mounted and it is at the first throw of the spoon that it bites; a fario trout of 20 cm which was surely hungry… as soon as caught, as soon as put back in the water.

End of the day; the organisms are tired by of all these adventures and the walk. We watch the fairy tale spectacle of clouds licking the peaks of Troumouse in a setting sun.


The Lake of Aumar

In the early morning (6H) a soft melody wakes us up. It is the clarines of the “oueilles”. For those who do not know the “oueilles” they are animals that are soft as lambs and which we love in leg of lamb. Let us not forget that these ewes are at home, on these estives and allow to maintain the meadows….we thank them!!

Let’s go back to our sheep….At the opening of the tent, we discover an ocean of clouds in the valley. They bubble up like the sea, whose waves smash against the rocky walls. In front of this spectacle each of us agrees that it is well worth the effort to get up.

About this paradise, we descend through the Gela valley following the waterfall and its tumultuous waters. All along the descent, we stop here and there to admire and photograph these flowers that fill our hearts with color.