Alternative descent from “Le Chemin de la Liberté”-overview
Looking down to the Cabanes Det Caillou from the unnamed descent col.
The alternative descent described here turns a “there and back again” route into a circular excursion by exploiting one of the little known cols in the ridge between the valleys of Labadie and Labrénère. While the Chemin de la Liberté follows large, well-marked paths throughout, this route is characterised by poor trails and sporadic cairns. It does, however, provide an off-piste trip into areas seldom visited by walkers as well as, in my view, a more aesthetically pleasing ending to the former walk. Compass skills and good visibility are essential.
Alternative descent from “Le Chemin de la Liberté”- the route
See “Le Chemin De La Liberté” See below for the start of the descent.
1h 30 mins
Waypoint 1: (N42 52.389 W0 39.643; alt.1927) Roughly half way between the Col Burcq and the Col De Pau the main path takes a very obvious rightangled turn. From here a minor ridge runs away to the north with a small but distinct path traversing its western slope. Leave the main path and engage with this trail avoiding, where possible, any height loss. (The possible danger here is that walkers are led too far down towards the Cabanes De Bonaris.) At the first large col go right, generally East, on grass for about 50m before turning sharply S going up a miniature valley to a grassy shoulder…
Waypoint 2: (N42 52.465 W0 39.519; alt. 1847m) Looking down from the shoulder what appears to be another descent gully can be discerned and, indeed, it is possible to go down from here. Far better, though, to continue to go round the hillside following a vague path and occasional cairns in a generally NE direction. This leads within 15 minutes to a wide, unnamed col overlooking the plateau near the Cabane det Caillau.
Going NE on the vague path with occasional cairns leading to the descent col
â€˘ Waypoint 3: (N42 52.531 W0 39.365; alt. 1782m) Across the sweep of the col there are three shallow depressions. Take the middle one and zigzag down the slope towards the valley floor. As you do so, look for a break in the buttress on the right where the trail veers right (S, then SE) towards the Bois de LabarquĂ¨re. As one approaches the forest, paths improve and it suffices to follow the edge of the woodland down to the pastures below. Here, turn NE and head for the Cabanes Det Caillau where the route back to the parking Aumet is rejoined.