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Canal de Cachivirizas y Terrazas Norte
Route

Canal de Cachivirizas y Terrazas Norte

 
Canal de Cachivirizas y Terrazas Norte

Page Type: Route

Location: Huesca (Aragón), Spain, Europe

Lat/Lon: 42.69800°N / 0.3769°W

Object Title: Canal de Cachivirizas y Terrazas Norte

Route Type: Scramble

Time Required: Most of a day

Difficulty: grade I+

Route Quality: 
 - 4 Votes
 

 

Page By: eza

Created/Edited: Aug 28, 2003 / Dec 28, 2009

Object ID: 158676

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Approach

 
The sketch of the full route....
The route

The trailhead is the small village of Piedrafita de Jaca, 18 kilometers north of Sabiñánigo (Huesca) on the road (N-260) towards the french border. Some two or three kilometers after passing by the Búbal Dam you must turn left following the sign to Piedrafita de Jaca. Do not stop in the village. There is an obvious road going on afterwards, which will lead you to the "Parque Faunístico La Cuniacha". If you find that the barrier of the dirt road is open, go on for a little bit more to the signs of "Ibón de Piedrafita" (on your left, marking a path). If the barrier is closed, you can leave your car in the parking lot placed on the right side of the road and go on walking up the dirt road.
 
The sight from the summit of...
Approach

Route description 1: Ibón de Piedrafita

 
Ibón (lake) of Piedrafita in...
Ibón de Piedrafita

Starting from the dirt road, follow (south) the path marked by the wooden signs as "Ibón de Piedrafita". It will only be some five or ten minutes before you get to the round lake placed right in front of three rocky north faces. The GPS coordinates of the lake are 42º 41' 49'' N / 00º 21' 12'' W. From our position, left to right, they are Corona del Mallo, Peña Parda and Peña Telera. Our route goes south from this point, to climb the steep rocky couloir (Canal de Cachivirizas) in the first place. Walk round the lake to reach its south-west end and find the beginning of the path.

Route description 2: Canal de Cachivirizas

 
Hard and heavy Channel of...
Canal de Cachivirizas

Start walking uphill following the cairns on the obvious scree slope. The path winds uphill (south/southeast) and soon turns right to face a small cliff. It's not steep, and the path crosses it easily. Your hands might have to lean on the rock, but there will be no real problem about this. After these couple of "climbing" steps, follow right (west) to reach some grassy slopes. There is a second variant -before the cliff- that turns right to reach these same slopes by means of a short scramble. Both alternatives are marked by cairns.
Both paths also rejoin at the grassy slopes to go southeast again. Now this is grassy terrain with a well-marked path, winding east and west to face the final rocky couloir that can be seen in the photographs. Climbing it is not difficult, do not let it scare you as steep as it may look. There is a marked path starting in the right bottom of the couloir and winding up and to the left. Following it, you will be able to reach the upper col (Forca de Cachivirizas) in 45 to 60 minutes. The exit of the couloir is on the right (western) side.

Route description 3: Forca de Cachivirizas y Terrazas

 
Forca de Cachivirizas
Forca de Cachivirizas
 
The first step-crossing of...
Terrazas

First things first: DO NOT TAKE THIS ROUTE IN DOUBTFUL WEATHER OR WHENEVER YOU FIND SNOW IN THIS SECTOR. This is not a joke, I have heard of people having to be rescued by a helicopter in the Terrazas de Peña Telera as late as mid-June.
Now for the description of this sector: once you have got to the Forca de Cachivirizas, you will discover that this is not a flat col. It's more like a slope, coming up from the south and falling steeply into the Canal we have already climbed. We have to get to the edge of this slope and walk to the western end of the Forca, right under the white rocky walls of Peña Parda. This is where the "Terrazas" begin. We are talking about a wide balcony leading northwest, hanging between the cliffs of Peña Parda on your left and the abyss of the Circo de Piedrafita on your right. If you find them unaffected by snow, it's no big problem. All you have to do is walk carefully for the balcony has an outward (right) slope of some 25-30º. After leaving (on your left) a rocky spur coming down from Peña Parda, you will get to a grassy terrace where the path turns left (west) and climbs in search of the final climb. Entering this area in doubtful weather or whenever it's affected by snow is NOT recommended.

Route description 4: The final climb

So: we are finally facing the last sector of this climb. Right in front of you there is a rocky wall. It can be crossed in two possible ways: either a path winding up your right side (north) or by means of a little climbing (grade I+) in front of you. If you choose this last option, make sure that the rock is dry and put your walking poles in the backpack for a while. Anyway, after crossing the barrier you will find yourself in a small rocky hollow placed between Peña Telera (the summit on your right side) and Peña Parda (the one on your left). Best thing to do in the next place is to reach the col that joins both (west, in front of you) and turn right to go all the way to the top of Peña Telera, marked by a geodesic signal. An alternative option is the southeast face of Telera, shown in the photograph in this section. Not difficult, though it is a steep walk marked by cairns. Afterwards, all that will be left is to enjoy the views from the summit.

Essential Gear

 
In this desert of rocks and...
 

Walking poles are nice, specially for the long way down the Canal de Cachivirizas. They will take a lot of stress off your knees. Full winter equipment is mandatory when attempting this route in winter conditions.

Images