Mont Valier seen from the Port d'Aula
|Elevation||2,838 m (9,311 ft)|
|Easiest route||By the Ribérot valley and the refuge des Estagnous|
Its name comes from Valerius (Saint Valier, ca. 452), the mythical first bishop of Couserans, who made an ascent of the peak. Bernard de Marmiesse, another bishop of Couserans, had a marble cross erected on the peak in 1670.
Mont Valier belongs to the Pyrenean axial channel. A small glacier occupies its north-eastern slope and the summit is located on the perimeter of the regional park of the Ariège Pyrenees.
A set of valleys originate on its sides:
(on the French side): the stream of Artigues, a tributary of the Salat (which itself rises a few miles from Mount Valier); the Ribérot, a tributary of the Lez, itself a tributary of the Salat.
(on the Spanish side): the Noguera Pallaresa, and a few miles to the west, one of many sources of the Garonne.
During World War II, an escape route from Saint-Girons to Esterri in Catalonia crossed Mont Valier. The "Path to Freedom" – the name given in 1994 to the hiking trail that follows course – enabled the escape of 782 people between 1940 and 1944 and remained operational despite increased surveillance of the Germans from 1943 and denunciations from the French collaborators. The route was operational until the end of the war.
By ministerial decree of 5 July 2005, a large territory centred on the village of Seix, including the crown reserve of Mount Valier – founded in 1937 (and one of the oldest in the Pyrenees ) – and nearly all federal lands of the Fonta massif was classified as a "special protection area" and a site of the Natura 2000 network.
- IGN at 1:25000 scale on Géoportail
- A. Bourneton, "Une ascension inédite sous le premier Empire", Pyrénées, no. 183-184, 1995, pp. 295-312 ; no. 185, 1996, pp. 16-28 ; no. 186, 1996, pp. 123-133
- Giles Barber, Saint-Girons - Ses rues, leur histoire à travers les âges, PyréGraph, 2005. ISBN 2-908723-64-6.