Montlude

Montlude | Uishèra

Technical data

Diffficulty: Difficult

Technical difficulty:BE-S3

Modality: Ski mountaineering

Longitude: 19 km

Ascent time 5h and descent 2h

Elevation: +1530

Class avalanche terrain: Demanding

Description

In the northern sector of the Val d’Aran, nestling among the Toran valleys to the north, the Garonne to the west, and Varradòs to the south and east, are two majestic mountains visible from many parts of the entire region: Montanha d’Uishera and Montlude. Reaching the peak from the village of Arres is a long and demanding day of skiing, which we recommend doing with packed snow and especially on south-facing sides. All the effort will be paid off with spectacular views over the mountains dividing the Val d’Aran from the southern Pyrenees, Mounts Aneto and Maladeta, and the 3000-metre-plus peaks of Luchon.

From Arres de Sos, you can normally go by car on the initially paved track towards Bassa d’Arres, up to the curve where the village oil tank is found. Start climbing up northwards over the gently-sloping open meadows until reaching the track that by now has split into two. Take it towards the east, which climbs up through red pine forest, and after two sharp turns you’ll find a small stone hut on the left (1725 m elevation). Walk up this clearing for 50 metres in a northeasterly direction until you see a path that climbs diagonally. Turn onto it and continue in a southeasterly direction. Depending on how thick the snow is, you might find it tricky to see this path, as it’s quite hidden due to its disuse. For reference, you should come out on the wide curve at 1875 m on the same track that you left behind previously. Take the track again and keep going until the Plan d’Uishera, with the shepherd’s hut. From here, you can clearly see the rift to the north that you have to reach, standing among the peaks of Montanha d’Uishera and Tuc de Sacauva. Once on the rift, head for Tuc de Sacauva and continue along the ridge in a northeasterly direction to Penha Blanca (2287 m). From here, there’s a slight drop of a few metres along the northern ridge (left-hand), so go down the small valley (northeast-facing) which isn’t as steep as the rocky bar below Penha Blanca. Then you’ll reach Horats de Margalida. Then head up the gentler slopes to the left of the ravine up to Estanh Long de Vilamós. Now it’s time for an uphill flank, following the same northeast course, to find the pass that will lead to Lake Redon, and shortly afterwards, a supply reservoir. Keep going up in the same direction until the east ridge of Montlude and then turn west to climb the Còth der Estanh. This is a short but very steep stretch that sometimes has large snowdrifts. Alternatively, you can go around the mountain and head up from the north face, normally much more barren and frozen over. From the pass, continue along the relatively straightforward broad ridge to the summit. The descent is best along the same route, with the option of taking the crest from Estanh Long de Vilamós and staying on it to Tuc de Sacauva and the rift on the side, which will let you descend to Plan d’Uishera.