/ pic aneto
You can camp by renclusa but it's at about 2500m so gets a bit chilly. We camped at about 1800m and it was baltic!
Personally,we roped up for the glacier because there are crevasses about. It's quite a well trodden route and quite dry, so it's probably not necessary if you keep your eyes open.
As for an axe, we didn't know what to expect so we took a walking axe each. The glacier is not steep but you wouldn't mind a bit of support. A walking pole would be best I think. There was people doing it just in crampons, in fact there were people doing it in just trainers (gnarly spaniards) but I wouldn't recommend it.
I have a topo and description of the via normal. If you'd like a scan of it drop me an email.
Hello Heidi, your post prompted me to dig out some photos of Pico Aneto that I had squirreled away in a windows folder. Hope these give you some idea of the route.
It can be easily done in a day if you are fit and travel light, we decided to bivi as we had driven up from Barcelona the previous day.
There are some nice grassy ledges about 3/4 hour above the hut. There is water seeping through the rocks nearby and you can stash tents and mats in the multitude of rock crevices.
Crossing the Portillon ridge you can see the route ahead.
The ridge is breached via saddle points (Portillion Inferior and Superior)
This is looking back on the way to the summit.
The route itself was mostly benign glacier. We geared up for crevasses but in 2008 there were nothing more than small surface cracks and runoff channels. The locals tended not to use even crampons, one fella whizzed past us with trainers and walking poles!! I think a minimum of crampons,axe and helmet would be prudent, you would slide a long way if you fell off the summit slope.
There is a cheeky finish to proceedings with a small rocky gap to cross.
we were fine on the ascent but roped back up in descent as a squall had coated it in verglas. It is quite an airy traverse.
Hope this helps and enjoy.
Hi, just to add to the above informative posts: the final rocky section just before the summit is called Paso de Mahoma (Mohammed's Pass/Bridge) and is really easy scrambling, but exposed as you could see.
It's not to be overexagerrated, but neither should be treated lightly. The overall grade is nothing, perhaps I or II (max), but there is a big number of people going across in both directions so there's usually a line forming with even 30 min of waiting. Once on the 'bridge', you do need to watch out for other people throwing you off and make sure you don't throw them off ;) Also it gets tricky in windy conditions (last year folks died as they tried to pass the ridge with skis on the backpacks and it blew them off...)
This section is quite 'legendary' in Spain and well known, so be prepared for a big infux of ppl there. I'd say in good conditions rope only complicates things and you risk even more that someone will stand on it and throw you off balance etc... But of course use of your own judgement is needed.
I think it's a lot more interesting, pretty and private to climb from the other side. There is a driveable track up to reasonable parking then follow the path up through woods and then slightly gullied pastures to a lovely lake with several good pitches picked out and stone-ringed. You can see the summit from there. There is a steeper snow section to join the ridge before the final airy traverse. You will need crampons for this early in the morning and an axe (walking axe is fine). You can get back down to the car on the same day. Actually if you are really fit and don't mind an early start you could do valley to valley in a day, but the campsite is beautifully positioned and it's a shame to miss it.
We got told about it in a local shop by some helpful staff, although we went up expecting something like Grib Goch. We climbed snow up to the start of the ridge and I took my crampons off and said to my girlfriend as she was unstrapping her crampons: "I'll just scramble a long a bit and see what it looks like whilst you pack those". I walked a long the first few metres of the ridge and was very confused to find myself next to these big crosses and other bits and bobs. Then I realised this was the summit! The few metres of scrambling was the 'legendary' ridge! :-) So the OP shouldn't get overly concerned about it.
We camped above the big hut in a lovely quiet little spot we found. We alpine-started it and walked down against many many people going up. After getting back to the tent and packing up, the storm clouds had come in and we walked down the rest of the way in pouring, very cold rain, arriving back at the bus stop soaked and chilled. Being high on the mountain in that afternoon storm would not have been fun, so I reckon an early start is important to having a safe day out, the climbing/walking itself is all rather straightforward.
The road that leads to the Ref Renclusa roadhead (A139) has a turnoff about 10km before the roadhead (almost due W of the massif); around 5 km from Benasque. It's a place called Plan de Senarta and there is also a campsite there (1375m). From there follow the road, generally SEto Puente de Coronas (1950m, about 8km). There a refuge Pecadores a little further on there.
Follow a trail up the R bank (W side) of the stream NE then N to a small lake at 2220m with some ruined shepherds' huts (just over 1km). It's a good path, with zigzags. Then leve the lake E then N to aother, larger lake at 2635m (1km). Now NW to another lake at 2275m, through a narrowing canyon and finally E to the last lake at 2750m. Both these have good camping spots and a spectacular view. You can see the obvious col to the NE up snow/ice (3198m) - this is where it rejoins the normal route (and the crowds).
In terms of public transport, whatever transport gets you to Renclusa will pass the turnoff at Senarta. If there ae just 2 of you I'd expect you'd be able to hitch the road to Puenta de Coronas. I think there are buses at least as far as Benasque. Then hitch, or, at worst, take 2 an extra day of approach.
The map is Maladeta-Aneto (1:25,000; Pirineo Aragones; Editorial; Alpina)
Have a blast
> In terms of public transport, whatever transport gets you to Renclusa will pass the turnoff at Senarta. If there ae just 2 of you I'd expect you'd be able to hitch the road to Puenta de Coronas. I think there are buses at least as far as Benasque. Then hitch, or, at worst, take 2 an extra day of approach.
I don't have access to the map, but I think that buses that go to Vallibierna get you pretty close to the camping spot by refugio de Pescadores: http://www.turismobenasque.com/imagenes/HorariosBesurta.pdf
To be confirmed though, as we didn't take that one, and I don't have a map handy....
We camped near Renclusa with no problems. Glacier itself was tame enough when we did it (mid July - it was swarming with French families on 14 July, but I think we did another route from Renclusa that day), but the final steep snow gulley required a little care, and there was certainly the potential to go a long way if you slipped. I think we may just have used a single axe (certainly not two axes - I suspect we'd put crampons on too, we certainly carried them). And we met a runner who'd done it in trainers with flexible crampons on. So, some winter kit needed, but nothing particularly technical.
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