The Rulhe refuge is a must Ariège refuges! At 2185 meters above sea level, its location makes it accessible with only 2 hours of walking to reach it. And what a spectacular view! Throughout the hike, we are in awe of the peaks and the landscapes that stretch out before our eyes.
I have been going to the Rulhe refuge for several years. Moreover, it was the first refuge where my 2-year-old son climbed for the day, a few years ago. A lasting memory for a mountain mother!
This time we go with the family and we sleep at the refuge. We are 2 adults and 3 children: my 5 year old son, his Parisian cousins (2 pre-teens aged 11 and 14) and their dad. Let's go for a mountain adventure accessible to the family.
an EASY refuge IN the Wahouhhhhh panorama
We checked the weather the day before and our two days of hiking are looking good!
It's 9 a.m. and here we are in the parking lot of the Pla de Laspeyres. And yes, in the mountains it is better to plan to leave early so as not to be surprised by possible storms and take the time to climb with the children. Also, we are expected by Calou, the caretaker, no later than 18:00 p.m. We have room!
We lace up our shoes, we tighten our backpacks well and therefore take the shortest access, ideal for families. We walk in a chatter (large grassy area often used to keep herds) then we'll turn left and start a small climb to reach the Garsan hut. Here we take a little break from seeds and cereal bars, we are already enjoying the view! This hut is used by the cowherd who is responsible for keeping the ewes, cows and/or Mérens horses during the summer (be careful: do not approach the animals because we do not know how they can react, especially the cow and her calf).
Since the beginning of our hike the panorama is sumptuous! We have a view of the Coume de Varilhes and the peaks that surround it... wriggling of the retina assured, it's so beautiful 😍
We continue our climb quietly and enjoy the view that emerges as we go along the chain. In the distance you can see the peaks surrounding the lakes of Fontargente, the peak of Joclar and of course the peak of Rulhe. The trail is gradual and the kids are smiling from ear to ear. Being in these wide open spaces and meeting up with cousins is certainly a memory that will remain etched in their memory for life.
We can see the refuge in the distance, the climb will have been regular. It took us 2h30 including the breaks. It's noon, we arrive right in time for lunch! On the menu: omelettes and daily specials on the large wooden terrace of the refuge, not to mention the panoramic view! Since morning our eyes have been dazzled by the mountains, the green of the summer pastures, the gray of the rocks and the peaks. Everyone is delighted!
This place is just MAGIC! It is THE ideal spot for new mountaineers.
COLLECTIVE LIFE IN SHELTER: AN ADVENTURE
During the climb I make the Parisian cousins aware of what awaits us once up there. We are going to live a collective experience ! The refuge is neither a hut, nor a hotel, nor a lodge. As we sleep in dormitories, it can happen share the room with another family. It is the guard who decides on the distribution of the dormitories. No worries: at Rulhe, the dorms are small (1 dormitory of 10 places and dormitories of 6, 4 and 2 places).
The taking of our space is given by the guard. Generally you have to wait until he has finished cleaning the entire refuge. So we take our dormitory space at the end of the afternoon.
When entering the refuge, we take off our shoes to take crocs provided by the refuge and we put our backpacks in the dedicated space. We take a few things with us to the dormitory, our sack sheet in which we will sleep, a headlamp and some clothes.
A refuge in energy autonomy
It's time to take a 2 minute hot shower. At the refuge, you will find tokens (paid) which time the access to the showers. Energy self-sufficiency is the goalkeeper's key issue! The water supply is done by catchments of water sources from lakes and torrents.
The refuge is supplied on foot, or by helicopter! This is why it is essential not to waste, and to preserve resources.
In a refuge, you will generally be served a single meal: soup, a hot dish (meat in sauce, starchy foods), cheese and dessert. Calou and Géraldine make it a point of honor to use local products. The cheese, charcuterie and wine are local. The food is simply delicious (and plentiful!). We sit on the terrace, facing the Pic du Rulhe and it's pure happiness ♥️. After this day of walking, there is nothing better than enjoying a good hot meal in this beautiful setting. We say we are lucky!
Here, we share our table and it's an opportunity to meet other mountain enthusiasts. Generally the good baby in the mountains invites us to go go to bed early !
After a good night's sleep, we take breakfast between 7am and 8am. We eat rusks because bread is a luxury product in a refuge! He is counted because, for once, he rode on the backs of men or women! Before leaving, we pay the bill to the caretaker and we are ready for our new hike of the day.
To prepare your stay in a refuge, download the brochure produced by the French Federation of Alpine and Mountain Clubs:
other itineraries and activities around the refuge
The refuge has several accesses, depending on your knowledge of the mountain and your physical condition. As it is often said, it is at a crossroads: GR10, Cross-border GR, the HRP…
- You can get to the shelter from the Riotord Refuge
- In the afternoon, you can walk with the children around the refuge and admire the landscape!
- For adults who are very experienced hikers climb to the Pic du Rulhe (beware very steep and vertiginous passages! ).
- The next day you can also join Fontargente ponds. These ponds are located on the way back to the Pla de Laspeyres and are really worth the detour!
- Close to the refuge, you can practice climbing (school rock with 19 routes from 4c to 7c3), mountaineering and ornithology. Take out your binoculars, we often see birds of prey and especially vultures.
- In winter, the refuge can be opened by reservation. We can start from the station of Ax-3-Domaines and join the refuge on ski touring or snowshoeing. Not far from the refuge is the Joclar Icefall.
refuge practical information
All the info from silent, the Guardian :
☎️ +33 5 61 65 65 01 or +33 6 74 24 50 71
🍲 If you have a special diet, let the caretaker know when you book
🛌54 beds, divided into a dormitory of 10 places and dormitories of 6, 4 and 2 places with a mattress and blankets
A RELAXED ATMOSPHERE SUPPORTED BY CALOU THE GUARDIAN
Accompanied by Géraldine, Calou has guarded the refuge for many years. In the first sense as well as in the figurative sense, he is THE Guardian of the Rulhe. Géraldine and Calou will welcome you in a relaxed and warm atmosphere. They will concoct good hearty meals for you with as much local produce as they can.
To get to know them, find them on the beautiful escape screens, from 46.31 min to 1h06.
and for dogs? 🐶
When you sleep in a shelter, the management of our friendly doggies is delicate... for you and for the guardians.
Also, we advise you to have your dog kept in a canine pension whose reputation is well established neither by the masters nor by our hairballs: https://www.pensionchienschats-09.fr/
get to the start of the hike
From Toulouse: take the A66 towards Pamiers, then the N20 to the village of Sinsat.
Then, take on your right and continue on the D522 for 270 meters, Aulos, Les Cabannes.
Take D520A towards the village of Aston. Continue to the end of the road for 16 km to arrive at the Pla de Las Peyres car park.
Allow 2 hours by road from Toulouse.
practical itinerary information
Open: end of May to September 30
Access: Pla de las Peyres car park
⏰ 2h walk from the car park
⛰️ Positive elevation: 485m
🗺️IGN Map: TOP 25 IGN 2148 OT
advice before leaving
- Remember to book in advance to ensure availability of the refuge.
- Also remember to book your picnic in advance and let us know if you have a special diet.
- Find out about the weather conditions before starting your hike ==> check france weather forecast
- At the beginning of the season, it is possible that there are still snowy parts on some routes. Do not hesitate to contact Calou to know the snow conditions.
- Never go alone and tell your loved ones of your itinerary.
- Emergency number: 112