1 - Masada (850m)
In the first bend, take the path to the Bassiès refuge, the start of which is indicated by signs. We will quickly reach a torrent that we cross on a bridge. Shortly after you will find a fork: follow the left branch, on the edge of the torrent.
The path climbs slowly and ends up stumbling over the torrent. Without crossing it, follow the path that rises to the right of the torrent (north-west direction).
The path climbs more steeply until you reach a tarmac road. Cross it and continue opposite on the marked path.
The climb continues in tight laces. 15 minutes later you reach a junction with the GR10 trail.
2 - GR10 branch (1150m)
From there, follow the GR10 route to the port of Bassiès.
Leave the left and right paths. the first joins Marc and Mounicou, and the second is that of the variant that we will borrow on the way back.
Continue straight on the GR10 (red and white markings) towards the Bassiès refuge.
We still have many switchbacks to climb, then finally a flat area which announces the exit of the forest.
The path continues straight in the open, passes under a penstock, and joins the torrent at the level of an astonishing small stone bridge.
3 - Stone bridge
On the right is the route of the variant to take on the return.
Continue to the left, still on the GR10, very well signposted (north-west direction). Pass to the right of the dam, to walk along the Escalès pond.
Afterwards, the path continues in the same direction, passes to the right of the Long pond to join the dam of the Majeur pond.
The path passes the dam on the right, to reach the dead pond. Go along it on the left and continue in the same direction. A little further on, you will leave the Pla de la Font pond on your left. Continue a little longer, until you reach a junction indicated by signs.
4 - Bifurcation of the Bassiès refuge (1658m)
Leave the path to the Bassiès refuge on your left, unless you have decided to split this long hike into 2 by sleeping in the refuge (dormitory or bivouac). Follow the right path marked "Port de Saleix" which climbs steeply but without difficulty for 300m.
5 - Port of Bassiès (1933m)
From there, follow the yellow markings to the top of the Pique Rouge de Bassiès. (Leave the GR10 which continues straight towards the port of Saleix to take the left path marked yellow).
Cross under the slopes of the Pic de Cabanatous, to reach the Col de las Fouzès.
Continue uphill on the wide ridge, to the top of the Pic des Planes (south-west direction)
6 - Pic des Planes (2063m)
The ridge trail turns left (south) downhill to the Morech pass (2024m), then climbs without difficulty to the Morech hill (2145m).
The trail continues a bit on the crest. At around 2200m altitude you will leave the ridge to bypass the Fouziès peak on the left, staying on an easy path to follow.
After a long crossing on the eastern flank of the Pic des Fouziès, we briefly reach the ridge at around 2350m. Continue uphill to a ledge.
7 - Replat - junction (2385m)
Yellow paintings on a large rock indicate a fork. So leave the left-hand route that you will use on the way back. Continue straight ahead, towards the wide summit slope of the Pique Rouge de Bassiès.
The final climb is tough, but without particular difficulties.
This last portion beyond the peak of Caumale can also be done by following the edge of the crest, the most delicate passages being avoided by the eastern flank. There are then some slightly exposed passages where it is necessary to help each other with the hands.
8 - Red Peak of Bassiès (2676m)
This vast summit has a magnificent view, in particular of the Montcalm massif to the south.
Return via the Lavants de l'Escale ponds distance: 14km; height difference: -1850m + 50m; duration: 5h45
9 - Replat - junction (2385m)
The rest of the route is not always easy, but the cairns and yellow markings will guide you.
Continue to the right at first flat, then go through the various Lavants de l'Escale ponds to the left, until you reach the weir of the last pond.
10 - Spillway of the lower Lavants de l'Escale pond (2224m)
Pass the weir. The route now turns left to descend along the sarrat de Montestaure.
At around 2100m the route turns sharply to the left (west direction), to descend rapidly into the valley floor.
Without crossing the Escale stream which winds through the hollow of the valley, continue to the right (north direction) along the torrent.
Around 1700m you will find an iron footbridge, half collapsed. Cross the stream to continue to the Bassiès refuge.
11 - Bassies Hut (1647m)
Join the GR10 north of the refuge to follow to the right on the outward route.
Pass the Bassiès ponds, walk along the Escalès pond, and find the stone bridge crossed on the way there.
12 - Stone bridge (1580m)
Without crossing the bridge, continue straight. The path, not very visible at the start, quickly turns into a good stony path. You end up joining a tarmac road, near the Bassiès power station.
Rather than follow the road, turn right to reach the power station.
13 - Power station (1190m)
Go to the left of the power station on a small footbridge and cross the torrent. Continue on the path to the left and find further on the junction of the GR10 spotted on the outward journey.
14 - GR10 branch (1150m)
Continue downhill to the left on the outward route. Keep this route until the parking lot.