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Mount Fourcat

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The ascent of Mont Fourcat is a classic that can be hiked, snowshoed or skied. Once out of the Serbel valley forest, the route climbs from west to east along a long gispet-covered ridge to reach the Pic de Lauzate (1800m), then higher still and further east, Mont Fourcat (2002m). This is the start of the Montagne de Tabe, which extends eastwards to include Pic du Han, Pic Galinat, Pic de Saint Barthélémy and Pic de Soularac. The panoramic view to the south is spectacular, with a perfect view of the Ariège valley between Foix and Tarascon-sur-Ariège. A beautiful loop, albeit a busy one.

Sommet du Mont Fourcat, vue sur la Montagne de Tabe

Technical summary

Type ✦ Hiking
Location ✦ Croquié, Massif de Tabe
Region ✦ Ariège
Country ✦ France
Orientation ✦ West
Max altitude ✦ 2002m
Distance ✦ 12.5 km
Dénivelé ✦ 1070 m
Difficulty ✦ MD
Duration ✦ 4h30 to 6h
Interest ✦ ★★

Access to the place

On the N20 between Foix and Tarascon-sur-Ariège, exit at Mercus. In Mercus, follow signs for Croquié. After 15' of winding ascent, you reach the village of Croquié at 944m altitude. Park in a small square on the right at the entrance to the village.

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 30' à 45'

From the village of Croquié, take the yellow-marked path up to Col de Traucadou and Mont Fourcat. The path is steep at the start, then twists and turns through the forest, crossing a forest track further up. After about 30', the path comes to a clearing where there is a rather original war memorial. You can also see the western ridge leading to Mont Fourcat above the forest. Just after the monument, the path crosses the Brougues parking lot at 1200m altitude, another possible departure point if you plan to climb Mont Fourcat on a round trip.

Course 2h30 à 4h

The outward route is on a well-marked path to the summit. On the way back, the loop via the Carmilles refuge is off the marked path and can be complicated in summer by the presence of ferns, brambles and broom. The ridge is very exposed to the wind and can be snow-covered late in the season, which was not the case this year.

Part 1: Reaching the West Ridge

From the Les Brougues parking lot, follow the yellow-marked forest path. It climbs very gradually and then comes to a clearing at the Col de Traucadou, where there's a fork with 2 forest tracks. Take the signposted path in the middle to continue climbing through the undergrowth. The path crosses the track several times before finally emerging from the woods onto completely open ground. You can see the Pyrenees bar to the south, and if you climb a little steeper, you'll find yourself on the western ridge. At the top, the rounded summit of Mont Fourcat can be seen to the east.
Part 2: The summit of Mont Fourcat

The next part is obvious. The path climbs in stages, following the ridge line and skirting an old rocky track that probably led to the Cabane de Lauzate. The path above cuts to the right to the south-east to pass over a saddle-shaped pass with a first view of the valley on the north side. Cross over and climb steeply up the ridge to reach the Cabane de Lauzate, which has been hidden until now. From the hut, you can make out the summit, but there's still the final, fairly long ridge that undulates upwards to finish on a wide, flat, grassy dome; the summit of Mont Fourcat. A bird's-eye view of the Monts d'Olmes cirque. Spectacular panorama with the entire Montagne de Tabe range running eastwards, Pic du Han, Pic Galinat and Pic Saint Barthélémy in the background.
Part 3: Loop via the Carmilles refuge

Descend the ridge almost entirely. Just before returning to the forest, look out for a fence that bends to the south-west, leaving the ascent path. Cross to the other side of the fence, to the south, and follow the fence downhill on an unmarked mini-trail. After crossing a large broom field, continue to follow the fence along the northern slope of the Ruisseau de la Montagne valley. Continue along the fence, with no real path, then after a long descent, you end up on a grassy flat where you'll find the Carmilles refuge.

Pass behind the refuge and cut along the forest, veering slightly to the north-west. Make your way through broom and brambles. Further on, you'll come to a fence which you'll follow all the way to the left. Further on, a steep descent oriented more to the southeast, then a bend along the fence to head back east. Continue downhill until you reach the Chemin d'Arnave, which you take to the right to climb to the Col d'Ijou.

Back

From the Col d'Ijou, follow the track back to the village, crossing the Serbel stream.

Map & topo

The route between the Carmilles refuge and the Col d'Ijou is indicative.

Voir en plein écran

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