Route and ascension to the Aneto (Hiking in the Pyrenees)


He Aneto, located inside thePosets-Maladeta Natural Park in the province of Huesca, it is the highest summit of the Pyrenees and a perfect place for hiking. The Aneto is not only famous for being the emblem or summit par excellence of Spain, but also for hosting the largest Pyrenean glacier, a glacier that I dare not say its surface since day after day it bleeds from the high temperatures and its surface melts.

Ascent to Aneto


On a weekend in June we depart from Madrid to reach this mythical summit. From Madrid it is about 6:30, a small beating, especially because you get to Benasqueat night if you go out in the afternoon and if you want to sleep in the shelter or near it you have to walk about 2 hours.

Trekking in the Pyrenees

As a particular fact, in July and August there is the possibility from Benasque to take a bus to the park entrance. From the Llanos del Hospital parking lot, the bus also leaves until 8 in the afternoon with frequencies of every 30 min. In summer as an exception, there are two additional routes, one at 5am and another 5:30 am.

The route does not present great technical difficulties, its degree of difficulty is F +, which means technically easy but a bit demanding on a physical level, since we are talking on this occasion about more than 21km and 12 or 15h walking.

Aneto 2,700m

Route to the Aneto

We arrive at the parking lot at 12 pm and set off to camp next to the Shelter of the Renclusa. After an hour and a half walking we arrived at the shelter where they received us, I confused them in the dark with Andy and Lucas, two donkeys that grazed freely near the tents. Only 3 hours later we got up, I do not remember it as one of the best awakenings, since to attack this summit for its duration it is convenient to leave just before dawn. We were waiting for more than 12 hours of route through snow, glaciers and large rocks, the breakers par excellence and those that make you go slow and sometimes bite the dust. The start of the climb, depending on the time, can be a small procession, since the 97 people in the shelter plus the people who come from the bus "agree" to ascend all at once. Bingo !!, with so many people, these will mark the route ...

Where everyone is wrong, in the background small "ants" lost

Yes, yes, if you do, big mistake. By custom and as in the good classics, following the shepherd or in this case the sheep can make you fall into a serious mistake. Al Aneto climbs a lot inexperienced or there are simply many people who are guided by the tracks and therefore ends up in another peak or in another valley, so if you continue, you get lost. Two hours after leaving the shelter, turn left to go to the Upper Portillon Pass, key to avoid the crest you have during the beginning of the route on the left. If you pass this point, your climb could be penalized at some other time and even, in not achieving your goal, the summit.

Weather station, next to the Upper Portillon

Once the first difficulty has been raffled off, not going on like sheep and finishing the wolf's snack, we see the Aneto at the bottom and its glacier shining, shining and melting because of the unusual heat it is doing at this time.

Aneto, in the background the Upper Portillón

After descending the Portillon, sometimes with our hands because of the wind, we raffled a large number of large rocks, the "terror" of the Aneto, since they are not only uncomfortable, but they make you waste a lot of time already It seems that you neither advance nor ascend.

On the Aneto glacier, Miguel Blanquer and Miguel Vicario

Shortly after the glacier appears, where water is seen flowing internally through it, indicating that it is disappearing, that it is perishing. At this point crampons are mandatory, since you run the risk of slipping and falling, and know where.

Aneto at 3,350m

After the glacier at more than 3,100m, the last path of the summit appears, a shovel that takes away the desire to move on and also encourages us to say, we are almost there. After the shovel, we are almost at the top of the Aneto, since at this point you have the option of covering only 10m more height through a dangerous step called the Muhammad's Pass, where unfortunately almost every year some life is claimed. Pass carefully and you will be on the highest summit of the Pyrenees. On the way back we started planning the Mont Blanc, but this is another story and it's another trip. Javier Blanquer, trekking Aneto.

Aneto 3.404m, next to the Muhammad Pass

Practical data

When to go?

Avoid weekends in summer if possible, unless you want to go in procession at more than one point in the tour. In addition, from July to September, since the summits do not have snow, the climb will be a bit more uncomfortable, as you have to cross sections with infinite rocks. Perhaps the best time is from May to July, or from October to December, since you have the possibility to see a green landscape, good temperature and snow.

How to get?

The main part of the parking lot Plains of the Hospital, located 10km from the town. From there it is possible to walk up to the refuge, an hour and a half, or take a bus for € 2.60 to the park entrance, in this way you save about 45min walking.

What to wear

In summer do not forget the ice ax, the canes, the crampons and the helmet. The rest of the year it is recommended to bring rope, harness and carabiners, in addition to winter clothes and warm clothes, but really. In winter the 10 degrees below zero at the top is more than a classic and in summer there have been cases with a lot of wind and temperatures below 5 degrees.

Where to sleep?

If you are looking for something economical, if not free, camp next to the shelter, if you are looking for something economical and that you cook a warm soup the Shelter of the Renclusa and if you are looking for something comfortable and clearly more expensive, the Hotel Llanos del Hospital, where you can receive a massage that does not come badly, after a suffered trekking. It is just after the parking of the Aneto.