For the spanish approach, start from the winter resort of Astún, placed in the valley of the same name (upper valley of the Aragón river). The road ends a few kilometers away north from the mountain pass of Somport. In order to give you some wider references, 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 thirty kilometers left to go north, and right before crossing the old Customs Building at the border turn right for Astún. Watch out for the signs to Astún or Candanchú, if you enter the Somport Tunnel you will miss the right direction.
In order to get to Astún 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.
NEAREST MAJOR AIRPORTS:
Zaragoza / Barcelona (323 km) in Spain, Pau or Biarritz in France
The nearest rail stations in Spain are the ones at Sabiñánigo and Jaca, thirty to fourty kilometers away from Astún. Additional transport will therefore be required. Check the link page ("Autobuses Valle del Aragón").
After leaving the car, start walking eastwards until the end of the resort buildings. There is a dirt track starting over there and leading up to the northeast and north, finishing shortly afterwards by a small stream. In winter time, of course, this track shall be covered by snow. You will therefore have to walk to the eastern end of the buildings and -when you find yourself between them and the chairlift going east (Telesilla "Truchas"), just take the slope on your left (north). Either climbing by the snow or following the obvious path in summer season, you will easily gain altitude. In no longer than half an hour a small plain will appear in front of you, called "Llanos del Sol". Traverse it northwards, grossly following the stream. The path vanishes from time to time but is always easily found again. If ever in doubt, bear in mind that you will have to leave the plain by the right (eastern) bank of the stream, which can be found at the further left end of Llanos del Sol.
Final route from Ibón del Escalar to the summit
That's where the final climb to the Ibón (lake) del Escalar begins. About ten or fifteen minutes left to reach the south side of the lake and find yourself on the shore of the lake. From this point on you have to reach the Col des Moines, which reward you with some extremely beatiful sights of Midi d'Ossau. Turn left (grossly north) at the col and get to the top of the hills overlooking you. When you get there, you shall be facing the rocky pyramid of Pic des Moines. It might get slippery if the rock is wet, but if dry it only calls for some attention. It is a grade I+ scramble with quite an evident route. If in doubt, nevertheless, always choose your left (western) side rather than the eastern one. Just five to ten minutes of funny scrambling will place you on the summit.
No special needs for a summer climb, apart from good mountain boots and -maybe- walking poles. Bear in mind that the final rocky pinnacle, though not difficult, calls for a little bit of a scramble and might be impressive for beginners. Not really dangerous, but consider carrying a rope and a climbing harness if you are going to climb with a tenderfoot.
For winter climbs, the need for ice axe and crampons shall be dictated by snow depth and conditions. Nevertheless, I would recommend to carry both. You never know wether they might be handy...
GPS waypoints for the routeAstún
- 42º 48' 40'' N / 000º 30' 27'' W
Llanos del Sol
- 42º 49' 02'' N / 000º 30' 13 W
Ibón del Escalar
- 42º 49' 25'' N / 000º 30' 15'' W
Collado de los Monjes
- 42º 49' 32'' N / 000º 29' 53'' W
- 42º 49' 50'' / 000º 30' 03'' W