Peña Foratata (2341 m) is a rather modest peak, even if considered by Pyrenees standards. But we all know altitude is not the only parameter to be considered in mountains. There’s also beauty. Or views. Or interesting climbs. And Foratata offers all these concepts. It’s a rocky limestone pyramid placed in the very center of the upper valley of Tena, in the spanish Pyrenees. The sights are wonderful all around, and include at least ten peaks over three thousand meters high, and the normal route implies a grade II (UIAA) climb that makes it fun for experienced climbers while scaring away simple hikers. And there’s even an easier secondary summit for those who don’t want to face the final chimney.
Getting ThereROAD ACCESS: You have to start from Formigal, a ski resort placed at around 1660 meters of altitude. To get there, take at Huesca road number N-330 to Sabiñánigo, across the tunnels of Monrepos. After Sabiñánigo you have to get road N260 north for 13 km to Biescas. North of Biescas, follow road A-136 towards the french border and keep going until you reach the signposts of “Sallent de Gallego”. Shortly before that, you will have begun driving by the shore of the second barrage on this road and Peña Foratata will be a prominent sight. Do not enter Sallent, stay on the main road and the next deviation to your right (east), placed shortly after the last gas station in Spain, will be the entrance to the ski resort of Formigal.
Another possibility is to approach from the city of Pamplona (via road N-240 towards Huesca, turning left to Jaca and Sabiñánigo at Puente la Reina de Jaca).
In order to get to Formigal from France, you will need to cross the mountain pass of Portalet from Pau and Laruns. Note that the road (D-934) crossing this mountain pass is usually a troublesome one during winter, and you might find it closed. In such a case, the only road access from France would have to take place by the neighbouring valley of Aragón and the Somport Tunnel.
RAILWAY ACCESS: The closest rail station is the one at Sabiñánigo (about forty kilometers south of Formigal)
NEAREST MAJOR AIRPORTS: Zaragoza / Barcelona (about 330 km)/Pau-Pyrenées
Red TapeThere's no need for permissions nor any special requirements to make an attempt on Peña Foratata. Consider, nevertheless, carrying some climbing gear (harness, rope, helmet). The rock is rather fragile and the final chimney is easier on the way down if you abseil it.
Camping and lodgingFree camping is officially illegal, though it might be tolerated in the area, but it’s not necessary for a Foratata climb. The normal route is a short one and will get you to the summit in scarcely two and a half hours under good weather conditions. Anyway, if you are going to pitch your tent at least try not to do it too close to the buildings of the ski resort. Just in case…
There’s a nearby camping site at the village of Escarrilla (about six to seven kilometers south of Formigal by the main road. Also plenty of hotels and lodging establishments, of almost any price. Check the links section.
External LinksValle de Tena - Spanish language (sorry) official web on the area of the Tena Valley. Click on "Alojamientos" for information on lodging and on-line reservations
Camping Escarra - Placed at Escarrilla, south of Sallent de Gállego
Aragón Guide - English language info on the valley and available lodgings
Formigal - Official web page of the Formigal ski resort