Col de Bujaruelo - Brecha de Rolando

Col de Bujaruelo - Brecha de Rolando

Page Type: Route
Lat/Lon: 42.68900°N / 0.01600°E
Route Type: Hike & Scramble
Time Required: One to two days
Difficulty: Grade I UIAA


Historically speaking, this is the second earliest route to the summit of Monte Perdido. It was the access route used by the pioneers coming from Luz and Gavarnie during the nineteenth century, and replaced the "Vía de las Escaleras" used by the first conquerors of the mountain.

SPANISH ACCESS: From Zaragoza to Huesca, excellent highway. After that follow road number N-330 to Sabiñánigo, across the tunnels of Monrepos. After Sabiñánigo you have to get road N260 north for 13 km and turn right at Biescas following the road C-138 (road signs "Ordesa"). Then you cross the Col of Cotefablo and after 24 km turn left at the crossroads marked Torla. From that point on it's only 5 km to the National Park Entrance at Puente de los Navarros. Turn left there to enter the Ara valley by a medium quality dirt road. It will take you a further 6 km or so to reach Bujaruelo, easily identifiable by a stone bridge across the river Ara (on your right) and a stone building. Leave the car here and start walking east, uphill, by a well marked path leading to the Col de Bujaruelo. It will be about one hour and a half before you get to this border col and join the route description seen below.

BUS ACCESS: The bus company "La Oscense" serves the village of Torla starting from Sabiñánigo or from Aínsa. More details available at Phone contacts are 974355060 (in Jaca) and 974480045 (in Sabiñánigo).
Another possibility is Hudebus, a company serving the line from Sabiñánigo to Aínsa and back (including stops at Torla and Broto, the villages placed closest to the Park). Phone number 974213277 (in Huesca)

RAILWAY ACCESS: The nearest rail stations are the ones at Sabiñánigo and Barbastro. This means that a minimum of forty kilometers will stand between you and the National Park from any of them. Additional transport will therefore be required (see "Bus access").

NEAREST MAJOR SPANISH AIRPORTS: Zaragoza / Barcelona (323 km)

FRENCH ACCESS: From the french village of Gavarnie, easily accesible from Pau or Tarbes. From any one of these towns, follow the signs to Lourdes and afterwards to Argelès-Gazost and Luz-St Sauveur. Gavarnie is placed about twenty kilometers south of this last village. Good roads all over the way, but mountain roads nevertheless. Consider that winter conditions might make it a rather hazardous trip. After Gavarnie follow the road signs to the ski resort of Gavarnie-Les especières. The road leads west, climbing the slopes to the Col de Bujaruelo on the french-spanish border.
Another possibility to reach Gavarnie would be to enter France from Spain through the mountain pass of Portalet. After going all the way down this Pass, turn right at Laruns following the signs to the Col d'Aubisque and Argelès-Gazost to join the french approach described before.

Toulouse / Biarritz.

Route Description

Start walking at the Col de Bujaruelo, following the path to the Mountain Hut of Sarradets (east) and the Bréche de Roland. The path goes under the north face of the pic du Taillon, climbing steady towards the Hut and the obvious gap in the rocky barrier standing south and separating our position from the spanish valley of Ordesa. No real difficulties here, just walking and enjoying the views for one hour and a half until you get to the Réfuge de Sarradets (2587 meters high), hidden behind a small rocky ridge. The huge gap of the Brèche de Roland shall be standing right above you, defended only by the snow and ice of its glacier. A further 30 minutes should place you at a height of 2805 meters above sea level, right in the middle of this border gap, overlooking both the Gavarnie area and the spanish National Park of Ordesa and Monte Perdido. This is the point to start making decisions: two options are before you to join the normal route of Monte Perdido.
The easiest possibility is to take the path leading east-southeast from the Brecha, towards the Góriz Hut. That will mean losing some altitude, crossing the wide col known as Cuello de Millaris and joining the normal route of Monte Perdido at Góriz.
The second possibility is to walk directly east from the Brecha, round the southern walls of the summit known as El Casco. That way you will soon come to see a narrow pass hanging in the mountain slope, equipped with a thick metal rope and known as "Paso de los Sarrios". After crossing it and overcoming a I grade climb you will come to the Col de la Cascade (3073 m). The trail will go on east to lead you over the southwest slopes of the Cilindro to join the normal route of Monte Perdido high above Góriz, almost at the level of the Pequeño Lago Helado (at the base of the northwest couloir).

Essential Gear

Depends on the route you choose at the Brecha de Rolando: if coming down to Góriz Hut there will be no special needs apart from those dictated by winter conditions (or alike). If crossing the "Paso de los Sarrios" a climbing harness might be useful for security, though not strictly compulsory.