Three are the routes that lead to the Tuc de Mulleres summit: the Besurta one
, the Plà de l’Artiga route and the Ospitau de Vielha route. Their starting points are quite distant among them, the first one departs from the Benasc valley, the second from the Aran valley and the last one from the Noguera Ribagorçana valley.
Of all three routes the Ospitau de Vielha one stands out for its beautifulness and interest. It runs westward along the U-shaped Mulleres valley, limited at south by the walls and ridges of Tuc de la Tallada and Feixant and at north by those of Tuc Gerbós. At about mid route it passes close to several ponds of glacial origin. From the plains of Pleta de Mulleres to the steep ridges of the Mulleres saddle, the slope increases steadily. When, after a short scrambling the Mulleres saddle is reached, the magnificent scenery of the Maladeta massif comes in sight almost as a surprise.
Map of the route
The starting point of this route is very accessible by car. It is located at the Ospitau de Vielha hut (also known as Sant Nicolau deth Pontelhs hut). To get there it is enough to follow the N-230 road until the southern end of the Vielha tunnel is reached. Just to facilitate its location I would say that the nearest most important town at north along this road is Vielha (the Vall d’Aran capital), while the one at south is Pont de Suert (the Alta Ribagorça capital).
- The Ospitau de Vielha hut: This one, from which the name of the route is taken, is also known as Sant Nicolau deth Pontelhs hut. It is attended and located just at the route start.
- The Mulleres hut: Is located at about mid route near the lower Estany (pond) de Mulleres and is unattended. It allows climbers to plan the route in two days.
The Mulleres hut
Interior of the hut
From the southern end of the Vielha tunnel (1609 m., 0 h), we head westward, following a wide track that runs along the bottom of the U-shaped Mulleres valley. The river is at left. The long flat summit of the Tuc de Mulleres can be seen from here closing the valley far away. Those ample meadow plains that make up the flat bottom of the Mulleres valley are known as Pleta de Mulleres. Shortly afterwards the track narrows, steepens and enters a beech wood, gaining height along the river until the top of a picturesque waterfall is reached. Now we are at a plain known as Plà de la Rasa (1730 m., 0.40 h), where the river gently meanders across meadows.
Pleta de Mulleres as seen from Plà de la Rasa
The river across a beech wood
At the far end of Plà de la Rasa there is another waterfall. Its level is gained by the path along a steep rocky channel that lefts the turrent at left. On top of that cliff there is another plain named Pleta Naua (2005 m., 1.30 h). Pleta Naua is not meadowy as the previous ones, but full of scree and rock boulders. The Tuc de la Tallada stands out at left, deeply cut by a rocky channel at its midst.
After crossing Pleta Naua, the path steepens again and winds at right to gain height until it turns to the left to reach the lower Estany de Mulleres -Mulleres pond-, (2353 m., 2.15 h.). Close at right we see the Mulleres hut
, a metallic box with twelve places for free use.
Lower Estany of Mulleres
The route advances among big granitic blocks and boulders, then the path climbs up diagonally and to the right. As we ascend, we find down at left two more glacial ponds, the mid Estany de Mulleres and the Estany Gran de Mulleres. The route winds to the right climbing a more and more steepy and blocky terrain. From here on the path would no longer be visible were it not indicated by cairns. By following them, we reach the base of a granitic wall that we scramble to reach the Mulleres saddle -Coll de Mulleres-, (2935 m., 3.35 h.). That wall is short and a bit aerial, but easy to climb if the right route is followed (see the sketch). Wide and scenic views over the Maladeta massif can be enjoyed from Coll de Mulleres. At right there is a rock pyramid called Cap de Toro, and at left there is the Tuc de Mulleres summit. Head to the left and climb the easy ridge to reach the summit shortly after (3010 m., 3.45 h.).
Tuc de Mulleres
Sketch of the scrambling route to Coll de Mulleres
Tuc de Mulleres summit
To descend you will need 3 additional hours, making for a total timing close to 7 hours.
The Tuc de Mulleres can be climbed in all seasons, but because of the steepy slopes of the Mulleres valley, the route is often exposed to avalanches in winter. On snowy winter conditions, consider climbing through the less risky La Besurta route
Apart from compass and map, crampons and ice axe are needed except in the warmer months of summer. Climbing the route with skies in winter is also a popular option.
Books50 ascensions fàcils pel Pirineu català
Manel Figuera i Abadal, 2008