If you have been lucky enough to choose a sunny day and your climbing skills are good enough to tackle an UIAA grade II, this is not a difficult route. About three quarters of it are simple hiking with incredible panoramic sights. The final part, nevertheless, implies walking along an exposed grassy sledge and climbing a rocky chimney with a doubtful rock quality. For those turning back (or simply finding this task a little bit too difficult) there will always be the possibility to bag the secondary summit of Peña Foratata occidental (2251 meters high). That's where you have to turn right (south) and gain the upper slopes of the Foratata ridge. The occasional cairns will lead you along the ridge and around Peña Foratata Occidental to reach the small col placed between the two points of the mountain.
Getting ThereROAD ACCESS:
You have to start from Formigal
, a ski resort placed at around 1660 meters of altitude. To get there, take at Huesca road number N-330 to Sabiñánigo, across the tunnels of Monrepos. After Sabiñánigo you have to get road N260 north for 13 km to Biescas. North of Biescas, follow road A-136 towards the french border and keep going until you reach the signposts of “Sallent de Gallego”. Shortly before that, you will have begun driving by the shore of the second barrage on this road and Peña Foratata will be a prominent sight. Do not enter Sallent, stay on the main road and the next deviation to your right (east), placed shortly after the last gas station in Spain, will be the entrance to the ski resort of Formigal.
Another possibility is to approach from the city of Pamplona (via road N-240 towards Huesca, turning left to Jaca and Sabiñánigo at Puente la Reina de Jaca).
In order to get to Formigal from France, you will need to cross the mountain pass of Portalet from Pau and Laruns. Note that the road (D-934) crossing this mountain pass is usually a troublesome one during winter, and you might find it closed. In such a case, the only road access from France would have to take place by the neighbouring valley of Aragón and the Somport Tunnel.
The closest rail station is the one at Sabiñánigo (about forty kilometers south of Formigal)
NEAREST MAJOR AIRPORTS:
Zaragoza / Barcelona (about 330 km)/Pau-Pyrenées
Start walking from the upper part of the Formigal resort. There's a dirt road leading (grossly northeast) towards the lower cliffs of Foratata, starting from the uppermost hotel in the resort. The dirt road soon turns into a small (but good) path, with yellow-and-white paint marks indicating its PR nature. That means it's a path officially considered as a short hike (petite randonnée - pequeño recorrido) and it will take you up around the west face of Foratata, until you reach the col placed between Foratata and Pico Forato
. That's where you have to turn right (south) going up the slopes and the ridge of Foratata. The path is fairly well marked by cairns, and will take you along the ridge and around the east face of the western summit (Peña Foratata Occidental). When you reach the col between both summits, there's a short descent in order to reach a grassy shelf on the west face of the mountain (you can see it in this picture
as a small green band under the rocky point to the right). Simply follow it and climb the final chimney (UIAA grade II) to reach the summit of Peña Foratata.
Climbing harness, rope and helmet. Not really essential, but they might make the way down the final chimney rather easier.
External LinksValle de Tena
- Spanish language (sorry) official web on the area of the Tena Valley. Click on "Alojamientos" for information on lodging and on-line reservations
- Placed at Escarrilla, south of Sallent de Gállego
- English language info on the valley and available lodgings
- Official web page of the Formigal ski resort