Snowshoeing in the Pyrenees
P2 - Prolonged walking over varied terrain. There may be uphills and downhills, so a good solid fitness is required. Expect to be able to do a 6 to 8 hour walk over undulating terrain with a few punchy uphill climbs carrying a pack up to 6kg in weight.
Visit our Grading Information page for a full overview.
T2 - Consider this a trek, although there may be occasion to use hands for short sections of easy scrambling. No previous climbing or trekking experience is necessary.
Visit our Grading Information page for a full overview.
Date & Prices
Pics & Vids
Snow Shoeing in the Ariege region of the French Pyrenees is a winter trekking expedition you will remember forever! Spend a long weekend visiting the quiet and less frequented areas of the Plateau de Sault whilst snow shoe walking to refuges in a stunning location. The views of the high snow capped Andorran peaks are breathtaking. We’ll provide you with all the professional guidance you need and sort out all the organisation. All you need to bring to the table is good general fitness and an adventurous spirit.
Based out of Lesparrou Retreats and Adventures in the stunning French Pyrenees you will begin your 2 day winter exploration. We will snow shoe through unexplored areas where you are likely to see Chamois, Deer and Stoats as they dart through this magical winter wonderland of beech forests and open hillsides
All food, equipment, accommodation and transport to and from the start and end points is provided. So all you need to do is walk, soak up the views and breath in the fresh clean Ariege mountain air. Our passion is to impart knowledge and our priority is always safety. You will be in the good hands of a highly experienced guide with vast local knowledge.Find out more
Date & Prices
Departure & Return
Price (excl. flight)
Price (incl. flight)
Start: 01 March 2019
End: 03 March 2019
Price without flights: €480
01 March 2019
03 March 2019
- 2 full days of guided snowshoeing with 360 Leader
- Transfers from Toulouse airport
- 2 nights shared chalet accommodation with breakfast and dinner (wine included)
- 1 nights shared accommodation in mountain refuge with breakfast and dinner (wine included)
- Packed lunches during trek
- Snacks will be provided as part of your lunch, but bring a few extras.
- All specialist equipment (snow shoes, poles, avalanche transceivers, probe and shovel)
- Return flights to Toulouse airport
- Personal equipment
- Alcoholic beverages (excluding wine at dinner), additional snacks and other items of personal nature
- Any additional costs associated with leaving expedition early
Pics & Vids
DAY 1 : Arrive Toulouse
Meet with your guides at Toulouse airport and transfer to Lesparrou Retreats and adventures.
We will be given our snow shoes and equipment and then our 360 guide will give an introduction to snowshoe techniques and safety procedures before we begin our snow trek the next day. Evening spent having a relaxing dinner.
DAY 2 : Snowshoe to Refuge Chioula
Today begin our winter exploration of this amazing picturesque landscape. We start the day with a hearty traditional continental breakfast, load our rucksacks, snow shoes and safety equipment into the mini bus for a short transfer to the start of our adventure on snow shoes.We will make our way across Plateau de Saluts to reach Refuge Chioula; where we will spend the night after a relaxing dinner, discussing the days events
The altitude gain will be around 600m. We will be walking for approximately 5 hours through rolling nordic terrain.
DAY 3 : Snowshoe to pick up point
After breakfast at the refuge we will don our snowshoes and begin our day of snowshoeing. We will trek for 5-6hrs till we reach our pick up point.
Through the day we will be greeted by superb views and winter wildlife. We will arrive back at Lesparrou Retreats in time for afternoon with cake and hot showers. Our final meal will be taken at la Theatre in Lavelanet before a last comfy night in the cosy accomodation at Lesparrou.
DAY Day 4 : Return UK
A continental breakfast and a transfer back to Toulouse airport ends your stay with us in the French Pyrenees
These are subject to minor changes depending on flight arrival and departure times, weather, group dynamics and fitness and so on, but the itinerary outlined provides an excellent indication of the trek and what you will experience.
Bags & Packs
Approx. 40-50L rucksack. Your day to day pack that you carry with your daily essentials, fitted with shoulder straps and importantly a waist belt
Waterproof rucksack cover
To protect rucksack from rain
Spare bag with spare clothes, towel, etc which can be left at Lesparrou Retreats and Adventures so you can get changed at the end of the 2 day expedition
Sleeping bag liner (sheet sleeping bag)
Silk is best for keeping the bag clean and you a little warmer and is lighter than cotton
Worth spending money on good UV filters. Category 4 wrap around style are essential due to the strength of UV rays at altitude. Julbo is our preferred supplier
This can be a warm hat, beanie, balaclava, anything to reduce the heat loss from your head
Buy the highest SPF you can find as UV intensifies with altitude
Sun cream will not work on your lips and they are very susceptible to burn without proper protection
Waterproof jacket (Outer layer)
Gore-Tex or event seam sealed are recommended and big enough to fit over a couple of layers. This jacket will also serve as a great windproof too
This is the layer closest to the skin and its principal function is to draw (wick) moisture and sweat away from the skin. You can also get thermal base layers for use at higher altitudes that provide an additional insulative layer while still drawing sweat during times of high exertion
Mid layer (Long sleeved fleece tops)
These are typically lightweight microfleeces or similar technology that provide varying degrees of warmth and insulation without being overly bulky or heavy to pack
Synthetic jackets recommended as they stay warm if wet. Arc’teryx recommended
Like the jacket, an essential piece of kit to stay dry and should also be Goretex
Thermal insulation for the lower body
Merino or wicking material, not cotton. How many pairs you take is entirely up to you
Single layer or wearing 2 pairs is a personal choice and lighter weight merino wool is a good option
4 season trekking boots
Well broken in with mid – high ankle support
Water bottles / bladder
2L capacity in Nalgene bottles
Comfortable trainers/shoes for the evening
Comfortable clothes for the evening
Travel towels from the likes of Lifesystems are perfect
Keep it simple on the mountain. Essentials are toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant. Moisturiser is advisable, everything else is a luxury!
Keep this in your daysack
Personal first aid kit
Blister patches, plasters, antiseptic, painkillers; (see FAQ’s)
To put your lunch in so your sandwiches don’t get squashed, un-squashed ones are much more appetising!
Bring plenty of spare batteries and memory cards
You will be fed very well and given snacks each day however we advise bringing a small selection as a little bit of comfort. Extra snacks can be bought en-route if needed. Energy gels and protein bars are not suitable
Bring spare batteries
Don’t forget this! Your passport should have at least 6 months validity. With your passport expiry date at least six months after the final day of travel.
Copy of passport
Just in case
Copy of own travel insurance details – And relevant contact numbers. Please ensure you have appropriate insurance for your intended trip to include medical evacuation and coverage up to an altitude of 3,000m
Dental check up
We recommend you have a dental check-up before your trip. New fillings can be an issue at altitude if there is an air pocket left in the gap
EH1C (formerly E111)
While you do have travel insurance, this can save you paperwork and reduce upfront costs should you have a minor ailment or need to see a local GP if you already have one
Are your guides qualified?
All the guides working on our courses hold the International Mountain Leader(IML) which is equivalent to the French ” Accompagnateur de Montagne”. We are all also registered to work in France which is a legal requirement in France.
Food and Water
Where do we get drinking water from?
You will fill your bottles before we leave Lesparrou. There is drinking water at the refuge.
What is the food like in the refuges?
The food in the refuges is plentiful and of very good quality, often using locally sourced ingredients. Breakfasts consist of pastries, fresh bread and jams and you can expect a three course meal in the evenings.
Can allergies be catered for?
Absolutely, please inform the office of any allergies or intolerance’s and we will ensure that these are taken into account on the trek.
What if I run out of snacks? Are there places to buy stuff?
It is best to bring enough snacks for the 2 day snowshoeing expedition with you.
What are the gîtes and refuges like?
The sleeping arrangements are large shared rooms with up to 6 mattresses on large platforms. You will have your own pillow and blankets but it is very cosy and all part of the “mountain hut” experience.
Can you get a hot shower there?
Yes, hot showers are available. There may be a small supplement for hot water.
Health and Safety
What happens if there is a problem on the mountain?
Your 360 guides are suitably qualified for such situations and have access to rescue services.
Am I likely to suffer from altitude sickness on this expedition?
Not on this expedition.
Can I bring my own snow shoes and/or poles?
If you have your own snow shoes which you like, this is fine. We strongly recommend that you have heel raisers and please also bring some spare items such as straps which are specific to the snow shoe in case you need to repair them. We carry a generic snow shoe repair kit for breakages but the specific ones are much better.
What do I do if I arrive early on the pickup day?
Toulouse centre is easily accessible from the airport by buses which run every 15 minutes. There is left luggage facilities at Toulouse train station, where the bus drops you. Toulouse is a beautiful city to explore.
What’s the weather like up there?
The climate of the Pyrenees is generally better than the UK, lovely and sunny, and reasonably warm (pretty hot lower down). But there is still the risk of inclement weather, so we advise in the kit list to pack accordingly). And just like any other holiday, having a quick last minute look at the forecast before you come out can be a useful pointer of what’s in store.
Do I need insurance?
You must carry individual travel insurance to take part in the trek. We cannot take you on the mountain without proof of insurance. You will need mountain insurance that covers you for trekking to 3,000m.
We always recommend that you get travel insurance including medical and cancellation cover as soon as you book on to a trip so that in the unlikely event you have to cancel due to circumstances beyond your control, your trip costs should be covered.
Your insurance details are requested on the booking form, however this can be arranged at a later date. 360 Expeditions will be requesting your insurance details 8 weeks before your departure.
Do I need an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for this expedition?
As the trip is based in France it is also worth having a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) as this “gives card holders the right to access state-provided healthcare on temporary stays in other European Economic Area (EEA) countries or Switzerland. Treatment should be provided on the same basis as it would be to a resident of that country and is provided either at reduced cost or, in many cases, for free.
The EHIC covers treatment that is medically necessary until the card holder returns home. This includes treatment for pre-existing medical conditions.” If you don’t already have one, you can apply for one here and it is free.
Many travel insurers won’t cover your medical costs in the unlikely event that you need medical treatment whilst you are away which could have been covered by an EHIC.
What training do we need for this if any?
For this snowshoeing weekend we advice you to spend time on general fitness training for walking. With some hill training.
What is your cancellation and refund policy?
Please read our terms and conditions careful before you depart. 360 Expeditions highly recommends trip cancellation insurance for all expeditions. Due to the nature and heavy costs of government and operator permits we must adhere to a stringent refund policy.
What additional spending money will we need?
You can buy beverages at the refuge a beer will be around 3 euros. They will not except cards so please bring cash.
There is also an honesty bar in the accommodation at Lesparrou, beer and wine are 2 euros each.
Can we charge our phones and cameras at the refuges?
Yes it will be possible but the number of sockets will be limited.
Do we need a travel adapter for the plug sockets in the hotel or are they the same as the UK?
The voltage is 220v / 50Hz like the UK. Rectangular or round three-pin plugs are used. It is possible to recharge your electronic items and batteries for a small cost at all the lodges.