TOPO Snowshoeing

D’Artigue à l’Escalette, Le Mourtis

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La Norvège ?

A short trip to the Pyrenees to take in the cold as it should be, the real winter, not the Dubai one that looks like a nice summer. Based in Saint-Béat, the snow finally fell and the arrival at the Col de Menté (1359m), the starting point of the hike, proved complicated without a chain. The weather wasn't quite right, but the snow-covered landscape was well worth the detour. A short snowshoe hike in the middle of the forest, starting with a loop at the foot of the Mourtis resort via Artigue, then from the pass to the Escalette hut at almost 1600m, exposed to the wind and cold. A beautiful loop accessible to all, in a setting that, on this day, was completely Nordic!

Technical summary

Access to the place

In the village of Saint-Béat, on the road leading to the Val d'Aran (D125), turn left to head for the Col de Menté, pass Boutx and park in the parking lot at the pass, or go straight up to the resort (harder to find parking).

Map & topo

Itinerary description

Course

There are basically 2 loops, the one down from the Mourtis resort to the pass, and the one up to the Escalette hut. Given the snow conditions, snowshoes (or ski touring) are mandatory. Easy hike, accessible to all, low gradient.


From Artigue to Col de Menté

In the resort, go to the snow front at the skate park and follow the green trail to the village of Artigue. Descend below the village and pick up the fairly obvious forest path that runs in almost opposite directions towards the pass. This is a long, gentle descent and then a very gentle ascent to the pass.


From Col de Menté to Cabane de l'Escalette

Go to the other side of the parking lot. Follow the red 42 loop signposted at the bottom of the pass. The climb twists and turns to the left, very gradually, through fir trees before finally emerging above the forest. You then reach the Cabane de l'Escalette, a free refuge at the foot of the Pic de l'Escalette. Beautiful views over the valley and surrounding peaks.

Back

To avoid having to retrace your steps, start almost from where you came but a little lower down to find a path between the trees which will quickly descend steeply, zigzagging and heading straight for the Col de Menté.

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