The Sestrales is not exactly a peak but rather a "cape", and forms the east side of the canyon of Añisclo. And not only, the other mountainside is also bordering another gorge, Rio Airés, a subsidary of the Escuain gorges.
Despite not being very prominent from the only altitude point of view, the Sestrales is an emblematic mountain in all the Sobrarbe region, partly because of the impressive cliffs that surround it everywhere except where it links the slopes of Monte Perdido, partly because of its tooth-shape, doubled with an isolated peaklet in its southernmost end.
The plateau of the Sestrales is itself divided into two round-shaped bumps. Additionally, there is a jagged rocky pinnacle below the cliffs.
The toponymy of this mountain and all mentionned features is the object of one of the most famous inconsistency on local maps, each having a different version, and thus, potentially showing some route errors like the unfamous Alpina.
On some, all the summital plateau is Sestrales Alto (high Sestrales) and the peaklet is Sestrales Bajo (low Sestrales). On others, the two bumps of the summital plateau are these Alto & Bajo , while the peaklet is Peña del Reloj. Both mention "El Fraile" as the pinnacle. But some other maps (and local people) also mention "El Fraile" as the peaklet instead of the pinnacle... Some of these maps are produced in Spain, some others in France, and given the number of various editors, the aim is not to provide here a "genuine version" neither to start some polemic, so I'll leave the information like this, recommending to use above all good sense.
Two routes reach the Sestrales, a beautiful mountain with a complex structure. The most simple is from the north and the slopes linking it to the rest of the hillside. The other (also possible from Añisclo) is rather complex, requires strong orientation and scrambling skills, and is described here.
We can also strongly recommend the visit its neighbours (Mondoto, Castillo Mayor) to fully appreciate the beauty of the shape of the Sestales.
Both trailheads (Canyon of Añisclo or Bestué) are reached from Escalona on the A-138 road going from Aínsa to the border tunnel to France.
Bestué is reached via Puertolas, indicated from Escalona. As for the canyon, it is indicated from the verry beginning.
If you arrive from France, this tunnel is accessible from the Vallée d'Aure (Lannemezan exit on the A64).
View Larger Map
Sestrales is not located in the Monte Perdido national park but its neighbourhood. In theory, the park regulations do not apply, but avoid :
- wild camping too close to roads
- leaving trash of course
- pick up flowers (experienced by some of my relatives who were fined)
- do not attempt rock-climbing on the cliffs, the rock is too brittle
- using tracks where it is mentionned "not open for tourist cars"
Keep also in mind that the portion of road inside the Añisclo Canyon is only one-sense, upstream, during the summer monthes (I'm not sure if this information is still up to date)
* Wild-camping, bivouacquing
Do not attempt near roads. Recommended only in discrete areas above the tree-level.
* Unguarded mountain huts & shelters
The area has a certain number of sherperd huts opened to hikers, as well as one "refugio", but rather similar to the same type of accomodation: simple hut in the middle of nowhere:
- Cabana de Plana Canal, near the eponym pass, north from Sestrales Alto
- Cabana de Fon Blanca, even further, under Collado de Añisclo
- Refugio De San Vicenda, inside the canyon, at the level of the eponym peak
* Hotels down the valley
There is an official campsite is located in Escalona, at the junction going to the Cañón de Añisclo. As for hotels, there are a lot in the city of Aínsa as well as other localities such as Labuerda, Laspuña, but deacreasingly often as we drive up the valley.