Cotiella is an important massif and peak at South of main line of the mountainous chain of the Pyrenees, near valleys of Ordesa and Benasque. For this reason it does not reach the mythical level of 3,000 meters and it's less visited that its neighbours of the North, but in proportion it is a very top mountain in entity, since one show higher on the surrounding valleys that many of the most famous summits (Monte Perdido, Vignemale, Posets..). It’s curious but in agreement with the geographical measurements, which qualify the entity of a mountain as the elevation on its lowest col that it separates from another mountain, its entity of 1180 meters is the third one of the Pyrenees after Aneto and Pica d'Estats, in spite of having at least 250 higher summits in the list of this mountainous chain.
For its height and situation it is understandable that is a magnificent observatory.
Independently of the considerations on height that often they are a bit infantile among mountaineers, this mountain offers an spectacular circus to visit in Armeña's route and sights haughty.
I believe opportunely it prove to be some of Henry Russell's commentaries, one of the first ones in climbing this mountain, which reflects perfectly what is this range: “The sight is beautiful enough, but what especially I was charmed with, was the sudden appearance of the emaciated giant who had meditated so often of distant view, or in my dreams and of the one that had never been so nearby. What a singular object! Burned throughout it was looking like a mountain of ashes. Even the same snow that was furrowing its desolate valleys, was increasing its sadness ... I have never seen anything so lugubrious and so naked, and nevertheless, the set of this kind of monster was impregnated with a strange majesty”
First climb: Franz Schrader (?), Henry Russell (august 1865).
Massif of Cotiella
Main summits of the massif:
-Raimond d’Espouy (2823m)
-Peña de las Once (2660m)
-Punta Llerga (2246m)
-Peña Montañesa (2291m)
Another summits: Pico las Coronas (2821m), Punta Alta (2732m), Cotielleta (2711m), Peña de la Una (2721m), Peña Litase (2623m), Movison Grande (2593m), Reduno (2545m)
Some secondary summits: Pico Neis (2768m), Llosat (2698m), Angón (2512m), Yali (2705m), Peña del Mediodía (2427m), Peña de las Diez (2555m).
Of all the massif the two principal places to visit are the Circo de Armeña and the little lake of Ibon de Plan, but the two normal routes to climb are Armeña and Santa Isabel.
*Approach to Armeña’s route:
From Huesca to Benasque (N-240 to Barbastro (see main page of Maladeta Massif, Aneto)
In direction to Benasque from Barbastro across the A-139, in the village of Seira (73km from Barbastro) we turn to left side in direction to Barbaruens (9km). In left side is the bad forest track for 3-4 km (if you love you car very clean it’s not a good idea but you can to avoid 45 minutes of walk). In the cross the direction is left to a little parking with a signal.
No permits required, not fees, not natural park,
When to Climb
May to september. Personally I think that june and september are the best months (very hot in july-august in the arid karst without trees)
The camping is allowed on the mountain. A good place is the hut of Armeña with fountain of water.
*Free mountain huts:
-Hut of Armeña (1835m): 24 places, chimney, radio, tables, mattresses,...very very good. 1h 30 min from the track of Barbarunes (2h 30 min from the village)
-Hut of Collada de Santa Isabel (1540m): 8 places, table, chimney. Good. Near of the road, not walk.
*Villages with lodges, restaurants...:
-Seira, Plan, San Juan de Plan, ...