Aneto Trip Report (#8363)

  • Signed By: an anonymous user
  • Date submitted: July 31, 2002

Pico d'Aneto is a fine mountain with much character and I can strongly recommend its ascent for all those who are reasonably fit. My climb began in darkness at 5:15 am from La Besurta, having caught the bus from Hospital de Benas. Walking with a local guide I passed the busy Refuge de la Renclusa within forty minutes and continued the strenuous climb to the Portillones ridge as the sun rose,the rocks quickly changing from a dark grey to light pink.There were very few walkers above us on the mountain and the views were tremendous, improving further as height was gained. After descending Portillon Superior, we climbed slightly above the glacier to avoid putting on our crampons initially and hopped from gigantic boulder to boulder. Although tiring, we made steady progress until the glacier barred further progress. Strapping on our crampons we braved the rock hard snow and trudged across the glacier to the final snow cone; I noticed a few small crevasses and evidence of a minor avalanche on the way. The snow cone was steep and arduous to climb but within twenty minutes or so we reached rocky slopes above, took off our crampons and roped up for the final scramble up 'Puent de Mahoma'. The scramble is straightforward and easy but the exposure is a little un-nerving; after a couple of minutes however we had reached the summit and the views in all directions were absolutely fantastic. It had taken us just under five hours to summit from the valley bottom, albeit moving at a fast pace. We left the summit after a few moments and sat beneath the previously mentioned scramble as we had our lunch and watched a legion of walkers battle their way across the final rocky ridge. Some walkers were roped, most were not; the ridge was so congested that I was suprised nobody was knocked off the edge! I was pleased that we had started early. We began our descent at about 10:45 am, by which time the snow on the glacier had become very soft. Using ice axes but not crampons, we glissaded down the front of the glacier toward Ibon del Salterillo far below. We reached the foot of the glacier within about ten minutes, aware that the weather was changing for the worse across the border. The climb down to Riu de Barrancs was hard work and very bumpy; I can not recommend it for those with weak knees or ankles, but the unspoilt scenery in this area is outstanding and there was no sign of any other walkers. Walking down the valley we reached La Besurta at 2:00pm - our walk had taken just under nine hours. Whilst I was absolutely exhausted despite being a keen runner and squash player, I did notice that the guide appeared perfectly fresh and informed me that he was rock climbing later in the afternoon. I learnt a lot about the area from the guide, despite his English being broken, and whilst I could have climbed Aneto without his assistance, I was able to relax and fully enjoy the walk under his supervision. I would therefore recommend any solo walkers contact Casa de la Montana in Benasque for such a service - it is worth every penny / Euro. An early start to this walk is crucial if you want to avoid the crowds on Puente de Mahoma and the thunderstorms so typical of this area in mid afternoon. I have been walking in the mountains for many years but I must say that this was the best day of my life.

Aneto Trip Report Index