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Winter cagire, Ariège

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Fine weather established over the Pyrenees near Saint-Béat. The cold temperatures kept the last snowfalls intact. Departing from the Col de Menté, this second winter hike takes us on the path to the Cagire, one of the local peaks at almost 2000m.... We set off from the Col de Menté for a good 5 hours of snowshoeing, the final part of which, from the Lareix refit-ge, is more difficult, with a steep finish. The days are short and we stop at Pas de l'Ane, a small panoramic pass just below the final ridge leading to Pic du Cagire. Splendid scenery, varied hiking, fairly obvious itinerary. All we needed was a pair of snow or touring skis to make the most of all this powder...

Vers le pas de l’âne dans la poudre

Technical summary

Access to the place

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

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 1h30

The first part leading to the refuge de Lareix can be considered the approach to the Cagire. At the Col de Menté, take the wide path that descends slightly to the right, opposite the parking lot. Follow it for quite a long time, the path becomes flat further on and then climbs up to a bend where you can see another valley on the left, with the Pas de l'Ane and the Cagire clearly visible. After the bend, the path becomes a little narrower and climbs slightly but steadily. After a long climb through the forest, the path leaves the woods to reach the refuge and the Lareix hut.

Course 1h30

This is a round-trip ascent of the Cagire. Snowshoeing (or ski touring) is compulsory, and has been since the start. Exit behind the hut and climb hard into the forest, zigzagging and following the white and red markings on the trees (sometimes on rocks under the snow). The route climbs steeply and eventually you emerge above the forest to see the snow-covered combe that leads to the Pas de l'Ane. The final section before the pass is steeper, so take care on hard snow (ice axe or crampons required). The view from the pass is splendid. There's still the crest to do, but it's time to get back down to finish before nightfall.

Back

Exactly in the opposite direction. The fresh snow makes it easy to glide and the return to the hut is quick. On the approach, just before the bend, there's a shortcut signposted to the right that saves time. It's a long way to the end on the wide path back to the Col de Menté.

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