• Étang du Garbet - Couserans
  • Vue sur la vallée du Ribérot - Couserans
  • Balade dans le massif de Sourroque
  • Parcours aventure de Moulis
  • Sports d'eaux vives Couserans
  • Baptême en montgolfière Couserans
  • Col de la Core
  • Vue sur la chaîne des Pyrénées

Via the Isard Valley and the manned refuge of Etang d'Araing - 1965 m


Duration : 2 days (recommended)
1st day : Anglade parking area, Frechendech - refuge of Araing : 3h30
2nd day : Refuge of Araing - Pic du Crabère : 1h30

Total ascent : 1800 m

crabere pic crabere

Access :

From Saint-Girons, follow the D618 road to Castillon en Couserans and from there the D4 in the direction of Sentein. Pass the village and continue following the road until you get to the "Le Pont" Hamlet. Turn right onto a tiny road in the direction of Frechendech. Head right again until you get to the new Anglade parking area. Ahead of the parking area, take a small path on your left. It will rapidly make you cross the Frechendech Hamlet and follow the right bank of the torrent.

Take the path that follows the right bank of the torrent. After having passed the barns of La Peyre and a shelter under a rock, cross a footbridge to change riverbank.
The path will now cross the beautiful beech wood of La Core, climbing up a steep slope before getting to the Fountain of Escudié that is carved from the rock. The path crosses numerous avalanche slopes and overhangs the torrent of the Pas de Chèvre Morte (footstep of the dead goat).
The gently sloped path widens itself to join the torrent at the footbridge of Piches. It will take you to the Isard Chapel. The path moves away from the torrent, climbs up a series of bends and heads South-West, crossing pastures and offering a first view over the summit of the Crabère. The path goes past the shepherd’s hut of Ilhau.
Beyond the hut, the path heads South, crossing pastures and the creek that comes down from Pic de l'Har. At sunset, it offers you a stunning view over the Pique de Mède.
Past the fir and birch groves and a series of steep bends, you’ll arrive at the Etang d’Araing Dam which is indicated by a clearly visible transformer.

Near the dam, the path crosses the spillway and then ascends to the West, allowing you to discover the lake (1 km long and 500 m large, 32 ha).


tuc bouc crabere


From the East to the West, the stunning view over the Cirque de l’Etang d’Araing shows you the high slopes of the Mail de Luzès (2590 m), the jagged ridge of the Canéjan (2654 m) and the peak of the Crabère (2630 m). Heading West, the ascending path overlooking the lake takes you to the refuge that is located at the foot of the majestic Crabère mountain, at the crossroad of the GR 10 and the HRP.

Route proposals :

- Ascension of the Crabère : The common way – Total ascent 650 m - Duration 1 h 30

The summit is located at the western edge of the high Couserans mountain range and offers you a unique and striking panoramic view over the major mountains of the French and Spanish Pyrenees, such as the Aneto Massif and the Maladeta Glaciers.
Its very easy ascension follows the GR10 and takes you to the Aouéran Pass (2176 m). At the pass, leave the GR10 and continue heading South following a rounded hilltop ending at the foot of the Crabère (below, in the western direction : view over the former sphalerite quarry).
A series of well-marked hairpin bends in the northern facing scree will take you to the peak. After passing near the impressive chimney outlet, you’ll arrive at the summit that dominates the deep Canéjan Valley in the South.
From the West, view over the southern mountains of Val d’Aran and Aneto and over the Luchonnais, the Clarabide, the Néouvielle and the Pic du Midi de Bigorre.
From the East, one can spot the pic de Serre-Haute, the Maubermé and the silhouette of the Mont-Valier, the emblematic summit of the Ariège Massif.


Aouéran pass, Crabère - Couserans Ariège


- Climbing the Crabère Via the chimney – Total ascent 650 m – Duration : 3 h

The harsh mountainous terrain (delaminated limestone, gispet, rockfall) of this climb makes it be intended for experienced hikers. A rope is recommended. Average difficulty grade III.
To join the firn, go round the lake by its western bank and advance, following a regular curve. Climb up the firn. You’ll arrive at the foot of the chimney, at an altitude of 2 250 m.
During dry periods, crossing the little glacier crevasse requires special attention. The ascension of this path consists in the easy climbing of a large slide with numerous holds that are not always sure (grade III). After 5 or 6 rope lengths, the slope reduces and transforms itself into a succession of steep grassy passages with some slides. The top part of this chimney straightens and a 30m high passage, with only few holds, will take you to the exit at the summit (III sup.). This passage can be avoided by taking the left or right sideways of the chimney. Their ascent doesn’t raise any major difficulties.
- Descent itineraries
- Retracing your steps
- Via the terraces and the North-Eastern firns (a pick is recommended, a rarely visible non-marked path): crossing rockslides and possible firns, walk down the eastern steep slopes. Stay at height in order to avoid rocky ridges. View over the wall of Mail de Luzes that you will approach by bypassing its base and heading frankly down North. At about 100 m above the lake, a rockslide promontory allows you to move away from a rocky ridge, leaving it on the left, and to get to the right lake bank that is to be followed until you get to the dam.


Mountain lake : Étang d'Araing, Crabère - Couserans Ariège

More hikes starting from the refuge :

- Tour du Biros (tour around the area)
- GR10 : the Melles-Eylie stage
- Cross-border GR of the Portillon d'Albe
- Mining trail of Bentaillou

Ascent itineraries :

- Pics de l'Har (2425 m - 1 h 30) and Mail de Luzès (2590 m - 2 h) from Serre d'Araing
- Pic du Maubermé (2880 m - 6 h) via Serre d'Araing, Hourquette Pass or Portillon d'Albe
- Pic de Serre-Haute (2210 m - 3 h) via Serre d'Araing and Portillon d'Albe
- Pic de la Calabasse (2210 m - 3 h) via the lakes of Uls and Pièle de Mil

Return via :
- Vallée de l'Isard, Pass of Aouéran, the lakes of Uls, the fir wood and the Isard chapel
- Serre d'Araing and the mines of Bentaillou (lead and zinc), descent to the lodge of Eylie d'en Haut
Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing :
Crossing Araing - Aouéran - Etangs d'Uls-Isard

The refuge of Etang d'Araing :

- 3 dormitories, 12 places on swinging bails with mattresses and blankets, 1 four place dormitory and couchettes
- 1 entrance, dressing room, storage room for bags and picks
- 1 common room with "hors-sac" area, wood stove and cloth horse
- 1 sanitary, 3 WC, 6 sinks, 1 shower for guardian and hikers
- Kitchen with technical annexes and storage area
- Covered terrace and entrance porch
- Electricity 220 v. (EDF) with transformer and private land line

Practical information :

1 965 m altitude – Total ascent 1130 m
Manager : Anoura Barré : 06 88 69 46 07 – The refuge is manned from May 1 to September 30 and during May and October weekends
Phone number : 05 61 96 73 73
52 places of which 12 in "open refuge", off manned refuge periods, for passing hikers, with mattresses and blankets
Website : Refuge de l'étang d'Araing

Manager :
Club Alpin Français de l'Ariège
24 rue d'Albret
09000 Foix
Tél : 05 61 65 01 09

Bibliography :

- "Pyrénées ariégeoises, le Couserans", a walking guide with 20 not-to-be-missed walks in Couserans, edited by Chamina
- "Le guide rando Ariège", a guide by Jean-pierre Siréjol, edited by Rando Editions
- "L'Ariège à pied, du piémont aux Pyrénées", 40 walks and hikes, edited by the Fédération Française de Randonnée Pédestre
- "Les Sentiers d'Emilie en Ariège", edited by Rando Editions

Hiking maps :

N° 1947 OT - Aspet Pic de Maubermé au 1/25 000
N° 6 Couserans au 1/50 000

Useful links :
Club Alpin français des montagnards ariégeois

Web Site Gîtes d'étape et de séjour des Pyrénées