An easy three-thousander of the Pyrenees granting incredible views of the north face of Monte Perdido and the Cirque de Gavarnie. Also offers the chance to climb a second three-thousander (Pequeño Astazú) in the same day. Almost every route means a special climb, with different attractives. The southern route from Pineta will mean walking under the huge north face of Monte Perdido and the northern access via the Swan couloir is an elegant climb, providing a beautiful couloir for practice of winter techniques.
The first recorded climb was attained by Count H.Russell and his guide Célestin Passet on the 21st July 1879.
SPANISH ACCESS: By road: If you want to approach Astazú from Spain, follow the excellent highway from Zaragoza to Huesca. Turn right at Huesca and follow road signs to Barbastro (road N-240). After this town, follow road number N-123 (direction Graus) and turn left on road n A-138 to El Grado and Aínsa. When you reach this last village do not leave that road, follow north the signs to Bielsa or Francia. After 33 km, in Bielsa you can find the crossroads to turn left and reach the Parador Nacional de Pineta (National Hotel) in 11 more km.
The cirque de Pineta is the main spanish trailhead for the climb of Gran Astazú.
By bus: The bus company Hudebus serves 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).The Bielsa web page tells about bus connections between Aínsa and Bielsa at 21.00 h (daily in summer, monday-wednesday-friday the rest of the year) and Bielsa-Aínsa at 06.00 h (same yearly schedule)
Railway access: The nearest rail station is the one placed at Barbastro. This means that a minimum of sixty kilometers or so will stand between you and the National Park from the very moment you leave the train. Additional transport shall 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.
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.
NEAREST MAJOR FRENCH AIRPORTS:
Toulouse / Biarritz.
No need for permits or summit fees. Nevertheless, always bear in mind that Gran Astazú is placed right in the middle of the spanish and french National Parks. National Parks regulations therefore apply. Will go on working on this page, please be patient
When To Climb
Much better for spring, summer or fall time. Winter is usually a hard time of the year, for avalanches can sweep the mountain or parts of the access routes. This is specially important in the final sector of the climb to Balcón de Pineta (southern access), formed by a 35º slope.
The french village of Gavarnie Offers good info, maybe a little bit schematic, about every possible aspect of this village placed under the north face of Gran Astazú