Standing just north of the french-spanish border, this is not a specially difficult peak, neither an extremely beautiful one. It has even got to suffer the proximity of the ski resort in the valley of Astún, making the initial climb a not-so-beautiful one. It's not even a really high summit. The main reason to include it here is the unforgettable views it offers over nearby Pic du Midi d'Ossau. An easy way to spend a summer morning (or a winter day), enjoying fine views, as long as the weather stays reasonably good.
Getting ThereROAD ACCESS:
For the spanish approach, start from the winter resort of Astún, placed in the valley of the same name (upper valley of the Aragón river). The road ends a few kilometers away north from the mountain pass of Somport. In order to give you some wider references, the trip from Pamplona should be done by road N240 (road signs "Huesca") until the small village of Puente la Reina. Right after crossing Puente, on the other side of the Aragón river turn left to follow the signs to Jaca. From the city of Huesca it's all the way along road N330, crossing the Monrepós mountain pass to reach the city of Sabiñánigo and turning left there to get to Jaca in twenty kilometers more. There will be only thirty kilometers left to go north, and right before crossing the old Customs Building at the border turn right for Astún. Watch out for the signs to Astún or Candanchú, if you enter the Somport Tunnel you will miss the right direction.
In order to get to Astún from France, start from the town of Oloron Ste-Marie and follow the road to the spanish border, south, all along the Vallée d'Aspe.
NEAREST MAJOR AIRPORTS:
Zaragoza / Barcelona (323 km)
The nearest rail station are the ones at Sabiñánigo and Jaca, thirty to fourty kilometers away from Astún. Additional transport will therefore be required. Check the link page ("Autobuses Valle del Aragón").
A second trailhead is placed at the french lake of Bious-Artigues, under the north face of Midi d'Ossau. It can be reached from Pau via Oloron Ste-Marie and Laruns, beginning afterwards the climb to the Col du Pourtalet. The road to Bious-Artigues starts from the proximities of the village of Gabas.
No need for permits or parking fees. If visiting Pico de los Monjes during the winter season, consider reaching the parking lot of Astún quite early, for the skilifts open at around nine o'clock in the morning and the parking area can become quite crowded.
When To Climb
The only real precaution to be taken is choosing as fine a weather as possible, mainly because of confort reasons. Not that experienced mountaineers should have problems here, but the place can turn nasty if you get caught by an electric storm (it's experience talking...)
Camping is officially not allowed on the spanish (southern) side of the mountain. For the french access from Bious-Artigues, National Park Regulations apply.
For weather conditions check the links section of this page. Includes meteorological information and some webcams.
- French weather predictions
- Spanish weather predictions
Private web page supported by a mountain shop of Benasque (Spain). Also english version available
- Ski Station of Astun
Information about the snow, webcam of the zone, weather, hotels & housing,...
Info about the valleys of Pirineos and the zone: Astún, Candanchú,...with hotels, services, villages,...(spanish)
- Ski Station of Candanchú
Info about the neighbor ski station of Candanchú with weather, webcam,...
- Canfranc village
Web page of the Canfranc Area. Includes webcam.