Friday, 16 January 2009

Mont Fourcat

Ruth is a talented climber and used to coach my old climbing buddy for a while when she lived in Sheffield (my old home town). So when I found out recently that she, her husband and 2 young children had moved down to Foix last year, I was keen to make contact. We finally met up today for a snowshoe outing up to Mont Fourcat (2001m) which is the main peak overlooking Tarascon. The weather was perfect, clear blue skies, calm and a few degrees milder than over recent days.

The snowshoes stayed on the pack for the first couple of kilometers as we wound our way through pretty woodland where the snow was thin and patchy in parts. But they soon became necessary as we left the trees behind us and started to make our ascent up towards the Pic de Lauzate. We could see our target, Mont Fourcat, in the far distanceThe snow was compacted where other showshoers, skiers and a snowboarder had preceded us, but the slopes were generally wide and sweeping with snow-crusted powder.... perfect for a ski tour! We made it up to the summit cairn within 2 hr 30 mins and the view was truly breathtaking with Pic de Barthélemy dominating the view down towards the Mont d'Olmes ski station.
Otherwise, the vista was an unbroken scene of snowy mountains .... beautifulAfter a much needed bite to eat, Ruth obligingly posed for the obligatory summit photo...
...before we started our descent. The cornices were impressive on the north eastern edges of the ridge...
....and the view down towards Foix was a perfect contrast between our snowy environment and the brown shades of the flatlandsThe lengthening shadows provided us with some entertainment as we made our way downAfter just under 5 hours we were back at the car. It had been a cracking day out and we have promised ourselves that it won't be too long before we repeat the exercise elsewhere!

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