Pic du Poratarras and Pic Prada.

Natural skiing (hiking) !
Winter is almost over and obviously, with the depth of snow still present, we'll be able to do some extra hours of skiing. Perfect!


With a high pressure system lingering over the country…we are looking for motivated people and it is in the company of Marie and Guillaume that we go ski touring.

By Maxime Soulleys

A safe bet: the Lavedan Valley

A classic

From Saint Lary, one of the sure values of ski touring is the Lavedan valley. It is necessary to get up early, the heat of the day quickly transforms the snow (avalanches) and the hike looks long: we leave towards the classic Portarras and the Pic Prada.

Early in the morning at the Granges de Lurgues (1365m) sun and heat are well at the rendez-vous. One puts the solar cream, one loads the bags and it is left for one day which announces itself splendid in the regional natural reserve of Aulon.
Thankfully the portage is short and one passes quickly to the serious things, one puts on the skis of excursion and the skins (fluffy anti-backward). Direction the cabane d’Auloueilh under the glance of l’Arbizon (on the right, north) and the imposing Pic Mail that we will circumvent by the left (attention not to drag at its foot, its corridors purge very easily).

After a good hour we see the hut of Auloueilh (1853m) and especially the immense playground which is going to be offered to our spatulas. A wide valley not very steep, dotted with pine trees and a multitude of land movements, bumps, combes…in short a happiness in the ascent as in the descent.

Facing the Pic du Midi

Absolute freedom

We continue the climb leaving behind us the hut, it is in this silent and wild environment that the mountain seems the most beautiful. At the rate of our steps, the landscape changes, we pass the small frozen lake of Portarras (2187m) to find ourselves in front of the grand peak Bastan d’Aulon (2710m). Last climb in a vast snowy paddle with in view the Peak Prada(2712m).


Magical viewpoint:

Phew! after 1350m of elevation gain we arrive at the Pic Prada, where we are greeted by the Pic du Midi which appears as if by magic once the summit is reached. The landscape is exceptional, a 360° view on the whole Pyrenean range pushes us to play “what is the name of this mountain?”. The time to catch its breath and we set out again towards the pic of Portarras (2697m) just beside and a little lower on the left towards the West.

And finally...

The descent

It’s windy, it’s not warm on the peaks, it’s time to go back down. The sun is hitting hard, it is already 13h and the snow is perfect, the ice has given way to a light layer of slush. We file with a feeling of skiing on carpet.

Between the rocks, the pines, a raised turn, then a small combe, a steep corridor…these slopes are a magnificent playground accessible to all. We start to practice water skiing below the hut of Auloueilh, the snow becomes heavy and trapping (but it’s still faster than going down on foot).

To summarize: a superb hike in a very wild and varied environment (we understand why it is a classic), although it is technically easy it remains a long hike with a good elevation gain (1350m). You will easily find Topos of the hike on the internet or different guides.


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