Getting There (Friday 9, June, 2006)
My brother Gabi and me together with our dad Suso, travelled by car from Madrid to Benasque
(Huesca province). It took us 5hs and we arrived with a lot of rain.
Weather forecast for Saturday was pretty bad as a lot of clouds and some storms were expected. During dinner we discussed alternatives and after consulting with the hotel owner the weather forecast for the following 2 days, we finally decided not to climb on Saturday and wait for further news on Sunday when some improvement was expected. As we needed to return anyhow on Sunday we felt a bit disappointed.
Relax in Valle de Benasque (Saturday, June 10, 2006)
We took the opportunity to visit the area and regain the mood. First we approached the starting point of our route, “La Besurta” (1910m)
, to make sure we would not waste time on Sunday morning. Once checked we went to visit Cerler
a small town which hosts a classic ski station in the area.
In the afternoon, we took a short walk from Benasque to Anciles
, where we admired the old houses and the Media-Marathon that took place this same date.
Weather was getting better and better and we were able to admire the beauty of the valley
Our mood was high again when we confirmed back in the hotel that the forecast was very positive for Sunday with no wind, no clouds, no rain. So we had an early dinner and went to bed soon.
D-Day (Sunday, June 11, 2006)
Summary: : La Besurta (1910m/04h30am) – La Renclusa Hut (2140m/5h05am) Aneto summit (3404m/09h35) back to La Besurta (1910m/13h20pm)
Recommneded Technical Gear& other material: Crampons, Ice Axe, Rope (facultative), Telescopic Walking Stick , Hat,Sun cream, Glasses, Liquid (1 litre minimum), Energetic bars
3h30am my clock alarm wakes me up. I take a look through the window and I see the stars – the best signal !!. I wake up my brother. Once ready, we take some breakfast and proceed to the road through Hospital de Benasque
and then to La Besurta
In the dark, with our frontals on, we depart towards Refugio de la Renclusa/La Renclusa Hut (2.140 m)
. Path is well signaled and when we arrive to the hut a group of around 10 people is already heading to the trail, marked with some cairns, which leads to Portillon Superior
After a tough climb in the “roquedal”
we contemplate the beautiful sunrise.
Then we proceed through the Maladeta Glacier
in parallel to Portillon Inferior and Portillon Superior and then turn left (SE) to reach the narrow gap in “Cresta de los Portillones”
that leads to the Aneto Glacier and first views of Aneto peak
We crossed the Glacier at a good pace and reached “Collado de Coronas”
where we make a technical stop to recover enough energy for the final slopes of Aneto
Around 09h15am we reach Paso de Mahoma/ Passage of Mahoma
where some people are preparing to cross it with ropes. After observing how mountaineers negotiate the “blade of the scimitar” I agree with my brother not to use the rope to go quicker.
We cross this mythical bridge to heaven with reasonable diligence and reach Aneto Summit at 09h35.
We enjoy the summit for a while, taking photos of the nice panorama and we go back home through the same trail, reaching La Besurta at 13h20 (4hs later, making a total of 8hs 50 minutes.
We celebrate back in Benasque with Suso this excellent experience and drive back home to meet our families.
There is a key lesson learnt/confirmed from this story we would like to share with SPers:
“Patience and preparation paid-up”
And now guess who was Highest in Pyrinees ; ))