Monday 3rd Aug – Wed 5th Aug 2020
The Tour du Canigou, normally takes 4-6 days staying in 4-5 different mountain refuges and taking in the awe-inspiring mountain environment in a leisurely way which is great, but we are offering a different perspective to this amazing tour.
Completing the whole tour in just three days and staying in only two manned mountain refuges the Refuge St Guillem and the Refuge Marialles.
This trip takes in every aspect of what fast packing or speed hiking is all about.
Carrying everything you need but as light as possible and moving as efficiently as possible over and through the mountain trails.
Fast packing is that middle ground between trail running and hiking, where we utilize our abilities, strengths and determination to complete long days with big Km’s and ascents and descents to complete a trip in a shorter period.
This is a perfect trip for people that have a good level of mountain strength and stamina and not a lot of free time.
We do not have to carry stove or food except for our snacks and lunches as we will stay demi-pension at the two huts which means bed and food (dinner and breakfast) are supplied. We do need to carry light sleeping bags as blankets/duvets are not supplied this year at any refuge because of the Covid-19 situation.
Fast packing after leaving the Refuge Marialles,
This photo was taken just before the manned huts opened for the season. That is a 24 ltr rucksack on my back with all my sleeping and cooking kit plus food, clothes, safety and navigation kit. Its amazing how light you can really go.
The trip that we are offering here though is in manned huts and so there is no need to carry cooking equipment or food except lunches and snack bars.
This is an adventurous trip, with a little comfort thrown in because we stay in warm dry manned huts where we get our bed, dinner and breakfast included. Plus, the bonus of being able to buy a big cold beer to celebrate the end of each day.
This trip starts and finishes in Arles sur Tech, we arrange the transport from Arles sur Tech to Refuge Batére for the start of the fastpacking and back to Arles sur Tech from Batére when we finish.
For people coming from the UK we can arrange accommodation for you for the night before the trip and the finish night in a local hotel obviously at an extra cost.
Refuge Batére – Refuge St Guillem
Distance: 17.3 km Ascent: 946 mtrs Descent : 1119 mtrs
Today this is the shortest day of the trek but a good way to warm up the legs, adjust how we carry our packs and to get into the groove of our fastpacking adventure.
We start upon the trails straight into beautiful forests that descend then climb and all the time you start to understand how we are travelling through Tolkienesque style forests where Gandalf or a hobbit or even Merlin could at any time appear on the trail. Beautiful mystical trees line this trail and it feels secluded and very magical.
Refuge St Guillem sitting at 1300 mtrs Altitude
Refuge St Guillem – Refuge Marialles
Distance: 36.9 km Ascent: 1863 mtrs Descent : 1427 mtrs
We leave the Refuge St Guillem and start upon a big day, almost double of the first day, but oh what a day. Crossing the high plateau of the Pla Guillem and the open plains before dropping back into beautiful forests before hitting the refuge and the deep gorges that sit just behind it with amazing rock walls that captivate your eyes. By the time you changed into your evening attire and resting at the refuge with a good beer looking back on the day, you will understand just what you have achieved.
An early night though is recommended as tomorrow, our last day is another Biggy.
Refuge Marialles 1718 mtrs Altitude
Refuge Marialles – Refuge Batére
Distance: 31.5 km Ascent: 1647 mtrs Descent : 1912 mtrs
Today, our last day of this amazing fastpacking tour is another big day and is without doubt the highlight day of the trip.
If the weather and group are good, we have the option of climbing the famous chimney on the south face of Canigou to arrive at the iron cross on its summit bearing the flags of its Catalan heritage.
If we do not ascend the chimney (Guides final decision) then we do the traversing of the peak which anyway is spectacular in its own right.
Today we have a river crossing and if its been raining it may be up to the knees, exciting but not dangerous.
Today there are times when you could feel as though you are hiking through Patagonia, Nepal or the giant redwood forests of California.
This day contains it all.
Passing by the Refuge Cortalets by midday we can stop for an energy boosting coffee before carrying on. Arriving at the Refuge Batére in the evening, hopefully we have time to grab a quick drink to celebrate the completion of a tough but amazing fastpacking adventure before our transport arrives to take us back down into the valley and Arles sur Tech where the trip finishes.
- Fully qualified IML guide English and French speaking
- 3 Days of fastpacking/running
- 2 Nights manned refuges on Demi pension (Breakfast/dinner) based in Dormitory accomodation
- 2 Breakfast (Day 2 and 3)
- 2 Dinners (Day 1 and 2)
- Transport up to Refuge Batére on the morning of day 1 to start the trip
- Transport down to Arles sur Tech end of Day 3
- Transport to and From Arles sur Tech for the start and Finish of the Tour
- Accomodation the night before or after the tour finishes (We can arrange this for you at an added cost)
- Lunches these can be bought in Arles sur Tech (there is a Spar supermarket) and ordered at the refuges each evening for the next day
- Insurance, must include helicopter rescue
- Snacks, drinks etc
- One set of clothes to run/fastpack in and trail shoes
- One spare set of clothes for the evenings at the huts (Spare socks)
- Waterproofs – Jacket & Trousers
- Mid layer or light duvet
- Light warm hat and gloves
- Sun kit – Hat, glasses, cream
- Small wash kit and towel (Showers are available at the refuges, inc in your trip price)
- Flip flops or crocs etc for huts and river crossing
- Head torch with batteries
- Power bank for charging, phone, camera, watch
- Water bottles, soft flask, bladder for 2 Ltr (It gets super hot in the summer here)
- Small first aid kit containing – compeed, personal meds, bandage tape, anti-inflamatory, water purification tablets for on the go, all water at huts is good.
- Credit card/Money (Refuges do not accept cards)
- Sleeping bag or liner to have for the huts. Because of the Covid-19 situation the huts are not supplying covers or pillows this year so we must carry our own
- Running sack/Fastpacking bag big enough to fit it all in and waterproof liner
Climbing the chimney