Strategically situated at the head (N) of the Canfranc Valley, this peak once allowed access to bunkers located in the slopes, used to keep watch over this border land between Spain and France (it is just east of the Puerto de Somport). Nowadays its summit, with its distinctive red coloured rock - houses a “búnquer” and numerous telephone antena and as well as watching over the frontier, you could say it’s also a watchpoint over the ski slopes – the ski village of Astún is just to the north. Strangely, the ski station trackle does not detract from the fine viewpoint. Being set apart somewhat from the adjacent peaks, it is a grand “mirador” (viewpoint) of the area.
TERRAIN. The slopes are vegetated and stoney. The route from Candanchu is marked vaguely with cairns and it can be difficult to follow in places but it is not a difficult route. Here, a lot of the pictures are from an ascent in early november 2007, when the first snowfall of the winter surprised us.
WHY HIKE IT? Despite the clutter on the summit, it is a fine view point specially over the Canal Roya, Aspe, Midi Ossau etc and in summer an interesting, short hike that is well worth doing to get to know the area.
WHEN TO HIKE IT: In summer: The summit can be accesssed from just before the entrance to the town of Candanchú or at a parking place on the N-330, just before the military base Campamento Rioseta (see ACCESS). In both cases, the path uses at the start the GR11 (GR: Gran Recorrido or long distant footpath), though the GR does not go right to the summit.
In winter: You have a popular route from the Ski station at Astún. (600m of ascent and 1h 30m) but it's full of skiers. The area is prone to avalanches. Vital to check snow conditions and avalanche warnings before setting off and to be properly equipped for snow conditions. If ski resort is open you have a route at South, just in the Castillo de candanchú, where Camino de Santiago crosses (GR-65.3).
Note: a lot of thanks to ojo, the first owner of this page.
ACCESS: Taking the national road N-330 north to Canfranc and continuing towards Candanchú, there is parking at km 670 just before a large U curve in the road, (on the left of this curve is the Military base La Rioseta). From the parking you can join the GR 11 and GR 65.3 direction NW. (GR: gran recorrido – long distance footpath, marked by a red and white stripe).
Or you can continue to just before Km 673 where there is a small parking area on the right (before the entrance to Candanchú town). From here, you start with a small section of the GR11 which starts in a SE direction and passes a rock face known as Peñas Rojas, a small climbing crag.
[img:658118:alignright:medium:Misty days are common even in high summer. (July 09. From above Astún.]
Red tape: No permit is required.
Be careful: in summer the danger of forest fires is high. Do not light fires or throw away lighted cigarette ends.
Recommendations: Carry water and wear mountain footwear, and sun protection. Check the weather forecast from a reliable source before setting off.
Recommended seasons: spring, summer (temperatures may be very high!), autumn before the first snow fall. Winter: danger of avalanches. Check conditions prior to setting off.
If walking in summer, try to start early in the day to avoid the heat.
Always check on the weather forecast – from one or more reliable source – before setting off on this or any mountain excursion.
Federación Aragonesa de Montañismo – 974 22 79 71
S.O.S. Aragón – Protección Civil – 112
Normal route from Candanchú. (spring-summer-autumn ascent)
Map: Edition Prames. No 2 Valle del río Aragón. Jaca-Canfranc. Mapa Excursionista 1:40.000.
Route description: With reference to the above map, a description of this route (Route Number 6, page 27) can be found in the accompanying guidebook, (in Spanish).
760m of ascent. (About 1h 30m to the summit. Return: by the outward route.
Grade: Terrain is not difficult. Route finding may be awkward to find the best ascent through the trees. Once above the trees, the rest is obvious.
Camping: Camping Canfranc is no longer open despite what you may find on web sites. (2010). There are albergues in the town. I have stayed happily in the albergue Pepito Grillo, located on the main road through the town. It is a popular Camino de Santiago stop, so can get very busy at certain times of the year. Booking recommended.