The Route

Having visited the Pyrenees 4 times already, including 2 complete traverses of the GR11 and HRP, my trip in 2013 was all about filling in a few blanks, and bagging a few summits along the way. The 15-day route covered about 400km from Eyne-Bolquere train station to Gavarnie, with 25,000 metres of ascent. The route largely followed the GR11 once I'd reached Andorra, but also climbed the following 7 summits:

Monday, July 1, 2013

Day 4 - Arinsal to Refugio Vallferrera via Pic de Coma Pedrosa

Distance: 15km, Ascent: 1560m, Descent: 11300m

View Pyrenees 2013 - Day 4 in a larger map

I made a super-early start, leaving the hotel in darkness at 5:16am, thinking it might be possible to climb Pic de Coma Pedrosa and Pica d'Estats in the same day.  However it took just over 5 hours to reach the summit of Coma Pedrosa and the clouds were already bubbling up, so the idea of attempting Pica d'Estats in the afternoon was quickly abandoned.

I met a couple from the Czech Republic at the summit who had recently climbed Perdido.  We chatted for a few minutes before I headed off towards the Portella de Baiau to drop back into Spain.  The descent was down steep loose scree at first, but lower down I was onto steep snow and faffed around putting the crampons on and using the ice axe to get down to the edge of the frozen lakes, Estanys de Baiau.

I took a lunch stop beside the basic metal shelter of Refuge de Baiau, sitting in warm sunshine, before wading the meltwater stream from the lakes and picking up the GR11 down to Pla de Boet.  I reached the Refuge de Vallferrera just before 3pm, and initially intended to continue a bit further. But once I'd sat down and relaxed, I realised it made more sense to stay at the refuge and get a proper meal and bed for the night.

The evening meal was sociable chatting with 4 Catalan guys from Barcelona who were hiking a 4-day circuit from Tavascan called La Porta del Cel (Heaven's Gate).  Today they had climbed Pica d'Estats from Refugi de Pinet, and tomorrow they planned to finish back in Tavascan.

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