The valley of Sotllo was the most popular route for long time to climb the Pica d'Estats but it's long. Nowadays it's the normal route from Spain but the new mountain hut of Pinet, in the French side, has the posibility to divide the climb in 2 days.
A good option is the camping in the estany of Sotllo if you want to climb in 2 days.
Slope: 1450 meters.
Time: 5h 30min.
Getting ThereSee the main page to approach to trailhead in the forest track of Vallferrera.
We begin in the end of forest track (1,840m) and after 5 minutes we turn to left in direction to mountain hut of Vallferrera (the track goes to right to Pla de Boet, a good place to sleep in the night). Crossing the river we reach the hut (1,940m, 20 min). The path goes to right side near of the fountain and after a short but hard slope we arrive to the signal of crosspath. We turn to left (right is for the path of lake of Areste). We go to a little col with a metallic signal (2,100m, 45 min) and we turn in horizontal to walk in direction to the ravine of Sotllo. Reaching a higher point we begin to descent to the ravine in a very bad terrain with some climb of grade I in the rock with trees and ground. It's the bad path of the route. Finally we reach the bottom of ravine near of the river (new signal, we turn to right) to cross the river in a good bridge.
In the plain we go for the left side searching cairns to climb the little walls (grade I) in direction to the first lake, the estany de Sotllo (2360m, 2h 15min). The lake is bordered for left side (west) and in the final we turn to right to reach the upper part of the little river to cross to the other side reaching the second lake, the Estany d'Estats (2840m, 2h 45min).
The route turns another time to left bordering the lake in direction to the evident point of pass, the great ramp of stones of Puerto de Sotllo.
The path is easy to follow among the stones but the slope is the hardest of the route to reach finally the Port de Sotllo (2,895m, 3h 55min). This hard slope has 30º with snow early on spring.
From Port of Sotllo we have two option to climb the Pica: west ridge and normal.
Route (A) from Port de Sotllo: West ridge (PD-)
West ridge: in east direction we see some great cairns in the right side of Port de Sotllo. After some stepcrossings and chimneys of I+ and II- we reach first the peak Verdaguer and after a little descent we reach the col to climb the Pica (4h 40min). It's not a hard rock-climb but the ground has a ot of stones and it's not very safe.
Route (B) from Port de Sotllo: normal (F)Descending 150 meters of slope in direction to the lakes and turning to right following the marks of paint red and white. It's longer but easier. Bordering the walls of peak Verdaguer we entry in a little ravine to reach the bottom of the north face of the Pica. You can walk to the col with Montcalm (in front of us) but it's shortest following the cairns to right and across little climbs of I among the great quantity of rocks we reach the col between Verdaguer and Pica. We can climb the nearby peak Verdaguer in 5 minutes (3131m, 5h) and after the return we climb the last meters of Pica d'Estats across a path among the stones (3143m, 5h 15min).
The long descent it's following the same route but initially we can descent to the col with the peak Montcalm (Col de Riufret) and climb this peak in 20 minutes. The Montcalm (3077m, 5h 40min) it's an enterely French mountain and it's the easternest three-thousand of Pyrenees, a very advisable complement of the climb. From there we return to Port de Sotllo and Vallferrera in 3 hours more.
Essential GearIn winter and early in the season (may, june) it's necessary the use of crampons and ice-axe to reach Port of Sotllo. As well the snow remain in the north face under Verdaguer.
In july and august only remain snow in the north face but generally you can to evitate the snow with a little descent.