Three-day trek to 3,404m Mount Aneto
Three-day trek to the summit of the highest mountain in the Pyrenees: Mount Aneto, including crossing the largest glacier in the Pyrenees and a 40-metre rope ascent to the summit. Up to 9 hours trekking a day with two overnight stays in mountain refuges. Previous climbing and trekking experience required unless going with an experienced mountain guide and climber. Best months to go: May, June, July
A trek with easy scrambling over varied uphill and downhill terrain. To reach the summit you cross the largest glacier in the Pyrenees and experience of climbing ropes is needed to make the final, challenging rock climb to the summit. No previous climbing experience is necessary if going with an experienced mountain guide. But this is not a trek for the casual or under-equipped walker. Good fitness is needed to complete a 6 to 8 hour daily trekking over undulating terrain carrying up to 6kg in weight.
At 3,404m, Mount Aneto is the highest mountain in the Pyrenees. Home to the largest glacier in the Pyrenees, Mount Aneto affords spectacular views over the Pyrenees.
Reaching the top involves stunning scenery and terrain of steep grassy flanks, sharp rocky ridges, gigantic boulder fields, granite slabs and steep ice. Mount Aneto is rewarding for even seasoned climbers and mountaineers. We advise tackling Mount Aneto with a professional and experienced local guide.
Experienced, local and expert mountain guiding company 360 Expeditions offers the following itinerary (booking details below).
They have also led an expedition to trek up and paraglide off Mount Aneto. Watch this video with Master Paragliding Instructor Alex Ledger, from Sky School UK, for a first-hand account of the expedition.
Day One: Savoguard (2,700m)
Walking time 6 to 7 hours
From the Hospice de France, begin the ascent to the Col de Venesque. The path zig-zags steeply up a heavily-vegetated glacial valley to a mountain refuge and several spectacular ‘hanging’ mountain lakes. Situated just above this point is the narrow notch called the port de Venesque. This narrow opening through the high rugged ridge is an international border crossing between France and Spain. Here you will experience jaw-dropping views of the entire Maladeta massif, which includes Mount Aneto (Pico Aneto). Take a short detour from this point to climb the summit of the Savoguard (2,700m) one-hour to the west for views of heavily-forested French valleys and glaciated Spanish summits. The day finishes with a meal and overnight stay in the Renclusa refuge.
Day two: Mount Aneto (3,404m)
Walking time 7 to 9 hours
After a 6am start, climb the vegetated slopes of the sharp ridge that divides the Maldetta range from the Aneto summit. It takes some two hours to reach the ridge, after which you follow its rocky back to reach a keyhole. From here you can look out across the glacier and see the summit for the first time. A short descent into a vast boulder field marks the beginning of intense boulder hopping session. It takes an hour from here to reach the ice. Following a lesson in crampon technique and basic glacier travel rules, rope up to traverse the steep ice towards the summit. When reaching the steep rocky northern flank of the mountain, climb up to the low summit of Aneto which is 10 meters lower than the true summit. Separating the two lays is the Mohammed step: a 40m long and 30cm wide rock ridge with drops on either side. A challenging and nerve-wracking roped climb up the Mohammed step takes you to the top of Aneto, its unbeatable views and the fulfilling sense of what you have just achieved. The descent takes a different turn. Crossing back down the Mohammed step into the Vanesque valley, the trek begins back to the Renclusa refuge and a well-deserved meal and sleep.
Day three: Hospice de France
Walking time 6 to 7 hours
Climbing back up to the ridge before descending back to the Hospice de France via the stunning Col de Escallarde opens up more spectacular views of the Pyrenees.
360 Expeditions runs small expeditions on demand but also has a scheduled trip for June 3rd 2013. The guiding fee is £900 for three days and is based on leading a team of maximum 4 people (£225 per person). Hire of ice axes and crampons is extra. Visit 360 Expeditions for more information or to book your guided trek to Mount Aneto.