It has been at least 2 weeks since I made it to Aneto. Still, I feel so proud and the merveilleuse landscape does not leave my mind. It might sound extream but it is really a great experience.
It is the highest mountain in the Pyrenees, 3.404m above the sea level. One of the most known peaks of Spain. Located in Aragon, together with Monte Perdido and Vignemal, this region is the most popular destination among the mountaineering lovers from all over the world.
Located in the province of Huesca, around the Benasque valley, the mighty colossus of the Aragon Pyrenees stands over the majestic landscapes of the montes Malditos as referred to in the mythology. Standing such as a watchtower of granite covered with snow, it is an impressive spot that is surrounded by the greatest concentration of 3.000 m peaks in the Pyrenees, its highest slopes are home to the Spain’s largest glacier. In 1984 this glacier was occupying an area equal to 1.32 square Kilometers and a length of 1.6 km. Other collected data says that more than 80% of it had been lost between 1984 and 2007. Just like the Careser Glacier in Italy, in few years of decades, the Spanish glacier might disappear, unfortunately. So, hiking around this area is an adventure that requires a lot of preparation, care, and respect.
You also need the appropriate equipment. From my point of view, you will need warm clothes, waterproof and Windbreaks light boots and Jacket, Ice-axe and crampons and sleeping bag if you decide to spend a night in la Renclusa refugee (2.140 m). I met a lot of people using touring skis and others using the snow raquetas. Also, some people feel much more secure using the ropes. It all depends on your experience, the weather conditions, when and how you planned the adventure.
From Barcelona, there are direct buses to Barbastro (2 hours journey). We took then another bus from the same station to Benasque (1h30 min) and we were supposed to take a third bus which stops in midway between Llanos del Hospital and la Besurta.
This last bus is not operating before June after the snow is all meltdown in this area. Fortunate we are, we could take a taxi to LLanos del Hospital (25 km) and we started our hiking journey from there to reach la Renclusa where we spent a night. This adventure can be done any time of the year, but the most popular period is June, while the snow still covers the summits, the weather is much better and the hike might be much easier and safer.
Following the normal ascent route, the landscape starts to change. You may spend 2 to 3 hours to reach the Portillón inferior which is most common pass in winter where the glacier begin. In the summer, people go through the portillión superior. Here is a great place to stop, to rest and enjoy the magnificent view, the valley, the peaks and the sea of ice. Crossing the glacier might take one to two hours and should be undertaken with high caution. At the end of the glacier starts the ascent toward the Mahoma pass which is known as the most dangerous part of the whole adventure still essential to reach the very top. Many people choose to stop the journey right before the pass that is around 40 meters long. The round trip to la Renclusa in the winter can be made in 9 to 10 hours. Tiring but worth the effort.