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Pic de Girabal, Saint-Barthélémy massif, Appy

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In the center of the Tabe massif, on the south side, the ascent of the Pic de Girabal via the Etang d'Appy is an accessible and varied itinerary offering impressive panoramic views of the Ariège Pyrenees. In summer, you can complete the whole loop and return via Jasse de Sédars. In mid-season or, as now, in the midst of a spring-like winter, you can reach the summit by choosing the less snow-covered, south-facing slopes, and enjoy an incredible descent facing the snow-covered peaks of the Pyrenees for longer. The off-trail route we took (in violet) poses no major orientation problems, but does require us to negotiate a few more exposed passages, including a climbing step (III) to exit onto the ridge.

Sous le pic de Girabal, vue sur les Pyrénées ariégeoises

Technical summary

Departure point: parking lot above the village of Appy, Tabe massif, Ariège (09)
Type of route: almost round-trip high-mountain hike
Distance: 11 km
Cumulative elevation gain: +1150 m
Cumulative negative altitude gain: -1150 m
Estimated total time: 5h to 6h
■ Min and max altitude: 1750 m / 2169 m
Marking: combination of marked trails (yellow PR) and fairly obvious off-trail sections
Equipment: none
Equipment required: GPS track if necessary, crampons or snowshoes depending on mid-season snow conditions.

Difficulties: the section above the lake to reach the ridge is steep and a little exposed.

Access to the place

On the N20 between Tarascon and Ax-les-Thermes, enter Luzenac and follow the road to Lordat and Axiat. Once in Lordat, follow the signs to Axiat, then on to Appy. In the village, turn right up to a parking area for hikers, where the path to the Etang d'Appy starts.

Itinerary description

Course 3h à 4h

The description below corresponds to the day's itinerary, i.e. the purple route, avoiding the Col de l'Etang d'Appy and returning via the South Ridge.

1st part: from the parking lot to Étang d'Appy (1750m, 1h45 to 2h)

Exit behind the parking lot and begin a long, gradual climb up the western flanks of an inland valley. You pass your first natural spring. Continue upwards, then the path turns right-angled to the west to join a ridge that drops us into the valley of the Lac d'Appy stream. From here, at the level of a characteristic large boulder, the path returns north on a false flat to enter the Jasse de l'étang d'Appy, where there is a hut. Go past the hut to see the Etang d'Appy below on the left, which is largely frozen over today. In front of us is a closed cirque with Pic Galinat at the top left, with its antenna sticking out.
Part 2: Etang d'Appy to Pic de Girabal (2169m, 1h to 1h30)

From here, given the day's snow conditions, we decide to climb the eastern slopes to reach the southern ridge of Girabal. The climb is steep, with no visible path, through gispet and dirt. There may be a small passage to climb to exit higher up. Once on the broad ridge, head due north, past a first promontory and then a hump below the summit. The final section leading to the Pic is steep, with a cairned path visible in places. Once you've reached what appears to be the summit, continue northwards on a false flat for another hundred metres or so to find the official GRP summit. To the east, the Pic de Saint-Barthélémy, to the west the Pic de Galinat and a little further on, the Pic du Han. Mont Fourcat is also clearly visible in the background.

Pic de Girabal via Col de l'Etang d'Appy: join the GRP (red and yellow) which climbs the eastern flank, always heading north. It climbs steeply towards the pass, which you can soon make out on the right of the ridge. You then come to the Col de l'Etang d'Appy, at 2020m. To the right, the GRP heads towards the Col de Girabal, which can be climbed on a steep ridge with no major difficulties.
Part 3: Pic de Girabal to Appy parking lot via the south ridge (2h to 2h30)

From the summit, descend due south and pass the first hump below the summit. Continue along the wide, rounded grassy ridge. It descends in successive steps. The Etang d'Appy can be seen below on the west side. Continue downhill to reach a flat area with a cattle pen, then another small hump. Continue downhill to the south to find the characteristic rock on the ridge and the path leading up to the pond.

Map & topo

In purple, the indicative route to join the ridge leading to the Pic du Giraral from the pond, to avoid the pass path if very snowy. In yellow, the complete loop returning via the Col de Girabal and the Jasse de Sédars hut in summer conditions (no snow).

Voir en plein écran



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