SynopsisWe did a day hike & climb of Pico de Posets (3375 m or 11073'), the 2nd highest peak in the Pireneos (Pyrenees) of Spain, via the "standard route" (via Refugio Angel Orus and the Canal Fonda). We started from the parking lot near the Cascada d'Espigantosa (~1510 m or 4954'). The total roundtrip distance was ~15 km (~9 miles) with a total elevation gain of ~1865 m (6120'). It was mostly a class 1 trail with some class 2 and class 3 scrambling on the final summit ridge (F or "fascile" in the IFAS grading system). It took us about 5 hours to reach the summit and 8 hours total car-to-car. We had gorgeous sunny weather.
Trailhead informationJust to the NE of the center of the small town of Eriste on Highway A-139, look for a turnoff that heads N. We saw a sign for Refugio Angel Orus while heading NE on A-139. The side road is paved as it quickly gains elevation through many switchbacks, and then it turns to dirt and continues for another 2 km until it reaches an obvious parking area. There is a second parking area just a few hundred meters up the road from the first parking area, but the last bit of road is rough for regular passenger cars. We parked at the lower of the two parking lots (~1510 m or 4954'). From the upper parking area (~1550 m), cross a bridge and then the trail was mostly well-signed and quite easy to follow all the way up to the Posets summit ridge, which became class 2/3 for the last several hundred meters. Note that there is a poorly-marked split in the trail around 2550 m (8366'), where you need to take the right branch to head toward the Canal Fonda.
Hike and summitWe started hiking around 7am with headlamps as it was still pitch dark. The trail was easy to follow and started climbing immediately. After about 1 hour of hiking we saw the Refugio Angel Orus (~2100 m or 6890'):
We walked by the Refugio, where a few people were stirring inside. Here is Amy shortly beyond the Refugio:
The trail continued climbing and soon passed through bands of rocks into the Vall del Llardaneta.
Around 2250 m, we reached a split in the trail. There was a small mound of rocks with "Posets" and an arrow painted on one rock. However, the rock was displaced and the arrow seemed to point left, but you need to go right for the Canal Fonda route. We first went left and then soon realized our mistake and cut up to join the right-hand trail.
The Canal Fonda was mostly snow free and there was a good climber's trail in the Canal.
Soon we reached the Collado del Diente (~2960 m), a notch just to the north of the impressive Diente de Llardana (3094 m).
From the Collado, the trail headed up through a few bands of rock and continued up a wide ridge.
The trail continued up the broad south ridge of Posets on some loose dirt and soon we reached the summit ridge.
We reached the summit around noon and enjoyed spectacular views and weather. It was a little chilly but not too windy.
We enjoyed a snack on the summit and contemplated a traverse to Las Espadas (3332 m) to the SW. There seemed to be some steep rock steps on the ridge toward Las Espadas. Not having any beta on the ridge nor any technical equipment, we reluctantly decided to descend via our ascent route.
The descent was pleasant and took about 3 hours. Now in the daylight, we could see the waterfall near the trailhead.
We enjoyed some wine (right out of the bottle) when we got back to the car.
NotesNo special equipment was needed except good hiking shoes. The Canal Fonda may have snow late into summer sometimes requiring ice axe and crampons, but it was mostly dry on this late September day. We brought helmets but never felt the need to put them on.
This was a very enjoyable hike and summit. There are harder routes on Posets as well (scrambling/climbing on the SE ridge and snow/glacier routes on the N side). Having done most of our climbing in the Colorado Rockies, this area of the Pyrenees definitely appeared more rugged on average with greater vertical relief. We thought this was a great area/range for hikers/mountaineers who want moderately challenging terrain but not the serious mountaineering of the Alps or Alaska, for example.
I would highly recommend getting the excellent topo map and hiking guide prior to your trip if possible (Reference #1 below). There is also a topo/guide to the adjacent Maladeta massif containing Aneto, the highest peak in the Pyrenees.
There are many hotels and restaurants in the nearby town of Benasque, a nice mountain town. For camping information and staying at the Refugios, please see the Posets page for more information. Although most of the books and guides recommend staying in the Refugio Angel Orus to break up the hike, we thought it was completely manageable as a dayhike, doing it in 8 hours car-to-car. (However, note that we live at ~7300' and are used to hiking/climbing in the higher Colorado Rockies.)
English language references1. Posets Perdiguero Map & Hiking Guide by Editorial Alpina (also contains Spanish & French).
2. Kev Reynolds, Walks and Climbs in the Pyrenees, 5th edition (Cicerone, Milnthorpe, 2008).