Placed on the border ridge between Spain and France, Arlet and its neighbouring peaks offer stunning views of the Pyrenees and a beautiful ridge walk. The french side is included in the french national park of the Pyrenees, while the spanish side is quite isolated from any kind of village or human presence. Therefore, Arlet can be considered as a fine way to discover some hidden beauties of the Pyrenees and to enjoy unusual sights of other more known mountains.
ROAD ACCESS: The climb begins from Les Forges d'Abel, in the french valley of Aspe and about 40 km north from Jaca. The closest spanish province capitals are Pamplona and Huesca. The trip from Pamplona should be done by road N240 (road signs "Huesca") until the small village of Puente la Reina. Right after crossing Puente, on the other side of the Aragón river turn left to follow the signs to Jaca. From the city of Huesca it's all the way along road N330, crossing the Monrepós mountain pass to reach the city of Sabiñánigo and turning left there to get to Jaca in twenty kilometers more. There will be only fourteen kilometers left to go north, and right after crossing the village of Villanúa and the road tunnel after it you shall be in sight of Canfranc. Follow the road towards Canfranc Estación, the railroad station quarter of Canfranc. Cross the road tunnel under the Pyrenees (entrance to the tunnel placed before the entrance to Canfranc Estación) and follow it to the french side. Just after emerging from the tunnel you will find a crossing left (west) signposted "Les Forges d'Abel". Take it and keep driving for some four additional kilometers to reach the parking area of Espelunguère (also signposted as such by the authorities of the French National Park of the Pyrenees. That's the spot to leave the car at.
Autumn dawn over the parking area at Espelunguère
In order to get to Espelunguère from France, start from the town of Oloron Ste-Marie and follow the road to the spanish border, south, all along the Vallée d'Aspe. Turn right just before the french entrance to the Somport road tunnel and follow the previous instructions. From the spanish side, the climb begins at the end of the dirt road of Guarrinza, on the upper valley of the Aragón Subordán. To get there, start from Huesca or Pamplona, in northern Spain. From any one of both towns, follow road N-240 towards the other one. At Puente la Reina (88 km away from Pamplona, or 72 km away from Huesca) you will have to turn north by road A176. This is the road running alongside the river Aragón Subordán, entering the Valley of Hecho. A second possibility is to follow the A176 up to the village of Hecho. After crossing Hecho the road becomes sensibly worst, but goes on to the Boca del Infierno (that's a narrow pass) and Selva de Oza (see approach for Castillo de Acher). Do not leave your car at the camping area of Selva de Oza. Follow the dirt road, turning east shortly after the camping area until its quite abrupt end under the Achar (local term for "pass") de Aguas Tuertas.
NEAREST MAJOR AIRPORTS: Zaragoza / Barcelona / Pau / Biarritz
RAILWAY ACCESS: On the spanish side of the border, the nearest rail stations are the ones at Sabiñánigo and Jaca, thirty to fourty kilometers away from Les Forges d'Abel. Additional transport will therefore be required. Consider hiring a taxi or walking. Bus transport could also be found, but only up to the winter resort of Candanchú. This would still leave you some kilometers away from Espelunguère
Special regulations are applied to the french side of the mountain, include in the Parc National des Pyrenées. See links section
When to climb
Specially advisable for the autumn, but any season is a good moment (as far as you have enough experience and common sense). Don't make an attempt on Arlet in winter conditions unless you are a real expert. Safety comes first!
Camping and Huts
National Park regulations (see External Links section) must be enforced in the french side. A couple of available huts in France: Cabane Grosse de Borce and Réfuge d'Arlet.