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Crêtes de la Lhasse via Comte pond

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An impromptu outing from Mérens and a pleasant surprise: the ascent along the GR10 to the Crête de la Lhasse and the aerial route via the Pyramide de Lherbès and the Pic de la Coumette are splendid. A varied itinerary: high altitude pond, snowy combes, rocky cirque, jagged peaks and panoramic ridge between the Najar and Mourguillou stream valleys. No technical difficulty unless, as today, snow conditions force you to cross or avoid the snowdrifts that are still present. A great discovery that also opens up possibilities for ski touring or hiking to the Pic du Rulhe and the Aston valley.

Sur le bord des corniches des crêtes de la Lhasse

Technical summary

Type ✦ Hiking
Location ✦ Mérens-les-Vals
Region ✦ Haute-Ariège
Country ✦ France
Max altitude ✦ 2348m
Distance ✦ 15 km
Dénivelé ✦ 1000 m
Difficulty ✦ E3 / T2 / R2
Duration ✦ 5h to 6h
Interest ✦ ★★★

Access to the place

On the N20 between Ax-les-Thermes and l'Hospitalet-pres-l'Andorre, at Mérens-les-Vals, take the Ubac forest road which climbs westwards to reach a parking lot at 1450m along the Mourguillou stream.

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 45' à 1h

From the parking lot, climb the yellow-marked forest path until you cross the Mourguillou stream on a stone bridge. Continue along the left bank, this time on the GR10 coming from Mérens, and soon reach the Jasse du Mourguillou and the small Estagnol pond. At this point, leave the GR10, which climbs to the right, and continue a little further up to the Comte pond.

Course 3h à 4h

The itinerary for the ascent generally follows the GR10, once reached from the Etang de Comte. It is of course possible to avoid the passage to Etang de Comte by following the GR10 from Jasse du Mourguillou. Once at the highest point of the hike, the Crête de la Lhasse, the route follows a fairly visible but unmarked path, with just a few cairns. The return journey is more off-trail, but without too much difficulty, as you can easily orient yourself by sight.

Part 1: GR10 to Crête de la Lhasse (1h45 to 2h)

From the Comte pond, climb due west up the steep gispet slopes. Initially follow the small stream, then cross a little to the left to find a ramp leading to the upper level. It's very steep. You overlook the Comte pond. Once you're on the GR10, follow it up to reach a first basin above, and then a second basin at the foot of the cirque. All that remains is to climb the final rampart and reach the ridge separating the Mourguillou and Najar valleys. Climb a little further to the left to reach the summit of the Crête de la Lhasse at 2438m. To the west, you can see the Col des Calamettes and the start of the Rulhe massif above.
Part 2: The crests, Pyramide de Lherbès, Pic de la Coumette, Crête de la Gadine (1h to 1h30)

From the summit, retrace your steps in the opposite direction to walk along the ridges to the east. The itinerary is obvious, and you can stay on the right-hand edge to enjoy the views along the way. The ridges form undulations and today snowy cornices suspended above the void. We pass the Pyramide de Lherbès and then descend slightly. Further on, it climbs back up a little, turning gently to the north and passing the Pic de la Coumette. The Pic de l'étang de Rébenty can be seen at the end of the ridge. Just before this, after a short steep climb, turn right to the east, where the contours are gentler. The faint trail curves around a wide bend and returns north to pass under the Pic de l'étang de Rébenty, cross a wide gispet slope and reach the Gadine ridge at the far end, where a small tree stands alone and a cairn with a straight stone, both of which can be seen from a distance.

Back

On the Gadine ridge, at the lone tree, descend, staying on the flattened ridge, heading north-east. Further down, you cross a small pinewooded area. Continue downhill, gradually bending eastwards, until you come across another small isolated tree. At this point, start skirting round, heading south-east, until you find a small passageway above a small promontory, the Cap Estaragalier. You're now facing the Ruisseau du Mourguillou valley from which you started. Descend across the valley, following the semblance of a path and a few vague cairns. The parking lot can be seen further down on the left. Continue to cross a ridge above a wood and descend again to find a small hut. From here, climb a little to the south and finally descend to the stream bed. Return to the approach path. Turn left to return to the stone bridge and, passing along the right bank, return to the starting parking lot.

Map & topo

The main blue route doesn't always follow the marked trails due to the snow, which forced us to avoid certain passages that were still too snow-covered.

Voir en plein écran

Photos

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