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Aneto

Pyrenees

  • Where?

    France

  • Altitude

    3404

  • Duration

    5 days

  • Weather

  • Physical

    P2

  • Technical

    T3

  • P2 - Prolonged walking over varied terrain. There may be uphills and downhills, so a good solid fitness is required. Expect to be able to do a 6 to 8 hour walk over undulating terrain with a few punchy uphill climbs carrying a pack up to 6kg in weight.

    Visit our Grading Information page for a full overview.

  • T3 - May involve harder scrambling or some trekking and climbing with ropes. If snow is encountered then glacier travel with ropes, ice axes and crampons will be necessary. Basic climbing skills is ideal, but will also be taught and certainly practiced during the expedition and  pre-summit phase.

    Visit our Grading Information page for a full overview.

  • Overview

  • Date & Prices

  • Pics & Vids

  • Itinerary

  • Kit List

  • FAQ's

Overview

Aneto (3,404m), is the highest mountain in the Pyrenees. Its flanks retain the largest glacier of this spectacular mountain range. 360’s packed 5-day trip with an ascent to the lofty summit introduces the trekker to the best of Pyrenean adventure.

The view from the top is staggering. Getting there is perfectly achievable by any fit trekker. Which is not to say it’s a doddle to be taken lightly. Summit day is long but rewarding. As you cross passes that have been used for 1000s of years, the mountain will throw multiple challenges your way on varied terrain ranging from steep grassy flanks to sharp rocky ridges, gigantic boulder fields, glass smooth granite slabs and steep bulletproof ice – all requiring careful navigation. We don’t like going back the way we’ve come if we can avoid it, so you’ll descend via a completely different route, dropping down into a pristine alpine valley, passing braided streams, waterfalls and curious marmots.

Even for seasoned mountaineers Aneto never gives up its treasure easily. A more varied and satisfying short adventure is hard to imagine. All 360 trips to Aneto are led by professional guides who know the mountain well. All equipment is provided and the skills needed to climb the mountain are taught before the summit attempt.

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Aneto, Pyrenees Aneto, Pyrenees

Date & Prices

Departure & Return

Duration

Price (excl. flight)

Price (incl. flight)

Start: 29 August 2018
End: 02 September 2018

Price without flights:  £680

Based on a team of 4

29 August 2018

02 September 2018

5 days

£680

N/A

Based on a team of 4

Start: 15 June 2019
End: 19 June 2019

Price without flights:  £680

Based on a team of 4

15 June 2019

19 June 2019

5 days

£680

N/A

Based on a team of 4

Included

  • Expedition cost based on group of 4
  • Rolfe Oostra as your guide for the whole trip
  • Airport transfers to and from Toulouse
  • Transfers to and from the mountain base
  • Technical equipment (ice axe, harness, crampons and snow shoes)
  • Food while on the mountain
  • One town meal on arrival
  • 2 nights of accommodation based on 2 sharing at Papilio Guest House with breakfast
  • Mountain accommodationion

Not Included

  • International flights
  • Personal equipment
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Any additional snacks
  • Trip insurance
  • Items of a personal nature: phone calls, laundry, room service, etc.
  • Any additional town accommodation due to bad weather
  • Lunch on town days and final dinner
  • Any additional costs associated with leaving the expedition early

Pics & Vids

Itinerary

DAY 1 : Fly from UK

Arrive Luchon and settle into guesthouse/hotel. Course briefing covering essential information for the following days, talks on food, personal equipment and group equipment. Shopping for food and gear. Local trek to get accustomed to your gear and to stretch the legs after the travelling. Weather forecasting and general first aid information.

(D)

DAY 2 : Sauvegarde (2,738m)

Transfer to the Hospice de France from where we ascend the spectacular Port de Venasque. The path zig-zags steeply up this heavily vegetated glacial valley to a mountain refuge (food and drinks available) and several spectacular hanging mountain lakes. Situated just above us at this point is the narrow notch called the Port de Venasque. This narrow opening through the high rugged ridge is an international border crossing between France and Spain.

We are rewarded for our efforts by jaw-dropping views of the entire Maladeta Massif and Pico Aneto itself. We take a short detour at this point to climb to the summit of Sauvegarde (2,738m,) which lies to our west (1 hr). From here we can see the heavily forested French valleys and the glaciated Spanish summits and on a clear day get a great view of many of the Pyrenean giants. Accommodation in the Renclusa refuge.

(BLD)

DAY 3 : Ascent of Pico Aneto (3,404m)

Today will be an early start with breakfast at about 6am. We then climb up the initial vegetated slopes of the sharp ridge that divides the Maladeta range from the summit of Aneto.

After 2 hours we reach the ridge and follow its rocky back for a while until we reach a feature known as the keyhole from where it is possible to look across the glacier and see the summit for the first time. A short descent puts us into a vast boulder field and an intense boulder hopping session begins.

After an hour we reach the ice and begin a lesson in crampon technique and basic glacier travel. Then we rope up and begin the traverse across the steep ice to the summit that looms closer with each step. Eventually we reach the steep rocky northern flank of the mountain and climb up to the low summit of Aneto. This broad summit is 10 meters lower than the true summit but separating the two lays the famous Puente de Mohammed, a short, but extremely impressive and exposed knife edge ridge with immense drops on either side. We rope up and cross this challenging feature. After a nerve racking moment or two we stand on top of Pico Aneto.

The ascent complete, we are rewarded with unbeatable views and a fantastic sense of achievement. We descend via a different route once we have re-crossed the Puente de Mohammed into the stunning Benasque Valley. From here we walk back to the Renclusa Refuge.

(BLD)

DAY 4 : Hospice de France

Today we climb back up to the ridge before descending back to the Hospice de France via the stunning Col d’Escalette giving you a chance to see more of this amazing mountain range that divides France and Spain.

Accommodation at Papilio Guest house.

(BL)

DAY 5 : Day of leisure in Luchon and fly back to UK

Depending on your flight time you can enjoy a day of leisure in Luchon, either relaxing or taking in one of the many outdoor activities that the beautiful mountain town has to offer.

Transfer back to Toulouse Airport.

(B)

These are subject to minor changes depending on flight arrival and departure times, weather, group dynamics and fitness and so on, but the itinerary outlined provides an excellent indication of the expedition and what you will experience.

Kit List

Bags & Packs

Daysack

Approx. 40-60L capacity. Your day to day pack that you carry with your daily essentials, fitted with shoulder straps and importantly a waist belt

Waterproof rucksack cover

To protect rucksack from rain

Dry stuffsacks

Nylon rolltop bags (or even just large plastic bags) that keep fresh clothing and other important items like passports and iPods dry in the event of a total downpour that seeps into your rucksack. Good for quarantining old socks

Sleeping Gear

Sleeping bag liner

The refuge provides blankets but a liner is nice to sleep in

Headwear

Warm headgear

This can be a warm hat, beanie, balaclava, anything to reduce the heat loss from your head

Wide brimmed hat

Keeps the sun off exposed areas like ears and the nape of the neck

Buff/Scarf

Essential for protection from the sun and dust

Sunglasses

Worth spending money on good UV filters. For glacier work category 4 with side and nose protectors.  Julbo is our preferred supplier

Sunblock

Buy the highest SPF you can find as UV intensifies with altitude

Lip salve

Sun cream will not work on your lips and they are very susceptible to burn without proper protection

Upper Body

Base layer

This is the layer closest to the skin and its principal function is to draw (wick) moisture and sweat away from the skin. You can also get thermal base layers for use at higher altitudes that provide an additional insulative layer while still drawing sweat during times of high exertion

Mid layer

These are typically lightweight microfleeces or similar technology that provide varying degrees of warmth and insulation without being overly bulky or heavy to pack

Soft Shell

These should be windproof (not all are) and insulative. They are mostly made of soft polyester and sometimes resemble a neoprene finish which makes them very mobile and comfortable to wear. While offering a degree of weather repellence, they are not waterproof

Waterproof jacket (Outer layer)

A good Goretex Hardshell jacket provides effective defence against wind and rain as your outermost layer

T-shirts / Trekking tops

A couple of t-shirts or loose fitting (non-cotton) trekking tops / shirts to wear whilst walking

Quantity: 2

Warm gloves

Consider liners or a light polartec pair for lower altitudes and evenings, and a thicker waterproof pair like ski gloves for higher altitudes

Lower Body

Waterproof overtrousers

Like the jacket, an essential piece of kit to stay dry and should also be Goretex

Trekking trousers

These tend to be polyester so they dry quickly after a shower and weigh little in your pack. Consider perhaps a pair with detachable lower legs as an alternative to shorts

Underwear

Merino or wicking material, not cotton. How many pairs you take is entirely up to you

Technical Equipment

Climbing harness (available to borrow from 360)

Try a variety on in a shop before you buy to ensure a good fit. Leg clips are a good option and avoids having to step into the harness to put it on.  If you have got a climbing harness already, then this is good as it’s always good to have your own.  If not 360 can lend you one.

Climbing helmet (available to borrow from 360)

A plastic helmet is more suitable rather than the expanded foam helmets available. Make sure you can wear it with a woolly/fleece hat underneath.  If you do not have a climbing helmet then 360 can lend you one.

Ice axe (available to borrow from 360)

A walking ice axe between 55cm and 65cm.  If you have got this already, then this is good as it always helps to practice with your own.  If not 360 will lend you an ice axe

Crampons (available to borrow from 360)

10/12 point crampons with anti-balling plates (not ice climbing crampons).  If you have got these already, then this is good as it always helps to practice with your own.  If not 360 will lend you crampons

Trekking poles with snow baskets

Hydration

Water bottles / bladder

2L capacity either in a combination of bladder and Nalgene bottle or just Nalgene bottles

Water purification

Purification tablets are better than any other system.  Highly unlikely to be needed.  Always good to have in your bag

Toiletries

Wash kit

Keep it simple on the mountain. Essentials are toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant. Moisturiser is advisable, everything else is a luxury!

Travel towel

Travel towels from the likes of Lifesystems are perfect

Wet wipes

These are great for washing when modern shower facilities become a thing of the past

Alcohol gel

A must have for good camp hygiene

Medications

Personal first aid kit

Blister patches, plasters, antiseptic, painkillers; (see FAQ’s)

Personal medication

Keep this in your daysack

Misceallaneous

Ear plugs

For protection against the inevitable snorers!

Head torch

Bring spare batteries

Camera

Bring plenty of spare batteries and memory cards

Penknife (optional)

Snacks

You will be fed very well and given snacks each day however we advise bringing a small selection as a little bit of comfort.  For summit night it’s always good to have a few extra chunky bars for that extra boost. Energy gels and protein bars are not suitable

Documentation

Travel insurance

Copy of own travel insurance details.  And relevant contact numbers.

We have a partnership with True Traveller and would recommend that you contact them when looking for travel insurance for your trip with 360. However, it is vital that you ensure that the insurance cover they offer is suitable for you, taking your personal circumstances (items to be insured, cancellation cover, medical history) into account. Many other insurance providers are available and we do recommend that you shop around to get the best cover for you on the expedition you are undertaking.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the appropriate insurance for your intended trip.  To include medical evacuation and coverage up to the maximum altitude of this trip.

Dental check up

Worth having this done BEFORE you go out to prevent problems occurring some distance from a French or Spanish dentist

Passport

Don’t forget this! Your passport should have at least 6 months validity.  With your passport expiry date at least six months after the final day of travel.

EH1C (formerly E111)

While you do have travel insurance, this can save you paperwork and reduce upfront costs should you have a minor ailment or need to see a local GP if you already have one

FAQ's

Food and Water

Where do we get drinking water from?

All drinking water is from the refuge or can be bought at various stops for the first day’s walking. We pass streams in various places that you can top up from if you should run out, so take purification to add to it in the form of silver chloride or chlorine.

What is the food like in the refuge?

The food in the refuges is plentiful and of very good quality, often using locally sourced ingredients. Breakfasts consist of pastries, fresh bread and jams and you can expect a three course meal in the evenings.

Do you provide snacks during this expedition? Or do you recommend that we bring our own?

360 provides some snacks for your days on the mountain, however do bring some of your favourite snacks from home, a range of fast and slow release energy snacks. The pure ‘energy’ style bars which are solid are quite tough to eat on the mountain so go with simple things. Flapjacks, shortbread, sweets, nuts and chocolate are great, snacks that you’re going to really look forward to eating and which will give you energy.

Accommodation

What are the guesthouse and refuge like?

Papilio guesthouse is a comfortable lodge that sleeps 10 to 12 guests. The Refuge is dormitory style accommodation but each person will have their own bunk bed.

Can you get a hot shower there?

Yes, hot showers are available. There may be a small supplement for hot water.

Health and Safety

What happens if there is an issue on the trek with a client – a fall or an illness?

360 Expeditions have conducted detailed risk assessments and put the necessary plans in place to cope with any accidents or illness whilst out on the trek. Our expedition leaders are highly qualified and experienced mountain leaders who hold expedition first aid qualifications and are used to working in remote environments. Their training allows them to deal with situations quickly and safely.

Should someone find themselves requiring further medical attention,the leader will organise for that individual to be taken from the trail and transferred to the nearest hospital. The leader and the 360 office team will also be on hand to offer guidance and support for insurance claims and contacting next-of-kin.

Is there any risk of altitude sickness?

There is minimal risk of altitude sickness on this trek.

Kit

Do we need crampons and ice-axes?

These are necessary for the climb above 3,000m. To reach the summit you have to climb the ever steepening Aneto Glacier. The ice and snow conditions vary according to the time of the year but crampons and ice-axes are mandatory for each ascent. For crampons non-technical strap-on types will do. If you are using crampons with the more modern heel clip make sure you have boots that are compatible. We recommend the Grivel 10 point walking crampons. A general walking ice-axe is ideal. These can be sourced locally, please let us know in advance and we can arrange it.

What sleeping bag do I need?

The idea is to be as comfortable and warm as possible for the night and henceforth to ensure plenty of sleep for the arduous days ahead. A thin summer sleeping bag or better a silk sleeping bag liner will do the trick just fine. The refuge provides clean blankets.

How much weight will I be carrying in my rucksack?

If you are borrowing or buying a rucksack, ask someone to help you adjust it to fit your back. And ensure you are making these adjustments with weight inside it, not empty. Generally it should sit reasonably high on your back so that the weight is acting vertically downwards, not forcing your shoulders back or drooping past your backside. Again, it’s about how you feel comfortable wearing it and important to get right.

Make sure too that it is either waterproof or you have a waterproof cover for your rucksack. It is also advisable to pack your kit in plastic bags/bin liners or waterproof bags before placing them in your rucksack. You should bring a rucksack with you of approximately 40-60L for personal gear, clothing that you need close to hand if the weather changes like additional layers and waterproofs, and sustenance. It’s importance to go as light as possible as weight makes a huge difference at altitude and steep ascents. You will be carrying your daysack so think twice before putting too many hipflasks in. This is a non-camping trip and meals and bedding are supplied by the refuge.

What clothing do we need?

Think about how much of the kit you are likely to use again and what sort of expeditions you are likely to do in the future. The cost of equipment is usually a major deterrent for people coming onto trips in the first place. If you think you’ll reuse your gear, then it’s worth starting to invest in good gear. The old adage often applies – you get what you pay for. Think about the time of year, and how high you are going. While you may swelter at the bottom of the mountains, it can get surprisingly nippy at altitude.

Both long sleeve tops and trekking trousers are recommended rather than shorts. Long sleeves and trousers are recommended as a deterrent to insects, scratches from bushes and to act as sun protection. Equally, if you wish to bring short sleeve tops or shorts, that’s fine, just be careful. Keep an eye on sunburn. The prevailing conditions of the day on the mountain will dictate what you feel like wearing. And the layering system never fails. If you’re cold, put a layer on, if you’re hot, take one off.

If this is a taster into the world of climbing and trekking, borrow kit from friends, alternatively you can hire it from our partners at Outdoorhire.co.uk at a fraction of the cost of buying kit new.

What boots do we need?

Because of the huge variety of terrain encountered when ascending these mountains it is very important to wear the right footwear. Boots should be sturdy, waterproof, insulated against cold temperatures and offer adequate ankle support. In addition it is highly recommended that your boots are well worn in to prevent the formation of blisters.

A wide range of suitable boots are on the market and further advice as to which brand names are available can be found online or at your local outdoor store. The leather / Goretex combinations are endless and each with their merits. Our best advice is to try them on – if you think they’re comfortable, and will be for several hours a day, buy them.

Do I need a down jacket?

A down jacket is not essential, a good thick fleece or jumper will suffice for the evenings.

The Climb

Is there a quicker way to climb this peak then the one outlined on your itinerary

Yes there is. We call it the fast and furious. This involves a very long day of both driving and climbing. We leave the Papilio guest house at around 3 am to arrive at the National park gate at 6 am. Then we walk 40 minutes up to the refuge and from there commence the ascent of Aneto peak. We usually summit after a 5 – 6 hr climb and (conditions depending) descend in 3 – 4 hrs. Then its back into the car for a 3 hr drive to Pailio guest house in France. Total time on the go is around 16 to 17 hrs. For the super keen only!

How tough is this trek?

Just because we’re in Europe and reasonably close to home, it doesn’t mean that you’re undertaking a gentle walk in the hills! This is a fairly challenging trek with significant altitude gain and some long days, learning techniques that may be new to you like use of crampons.

The Weather

What is the weather like?

During the day temperatures can be warm and can even reach to the mid 20 C. In the evening higher up, it could drop to below freezing and have a chill in the air.

For early spring or late autumn ascents there can be snow from the refuge and the temperatures on the summit well below freezing.

As you will be trekking in a mountain environment, the weather can rapidly change for the worse so you need to be prepared for all conditions. Even in good weather it is not uncommon to have short heavy downpours or heavy snowstorms.

Travel

Flights aren’t included what time should I arrive and depart to Toulouse?

We haven’t included flights as this gives you options from the UK. There are many flights that come to Toulouse daily from many different airports.

For our Aneto Pyrenees expedition we will be suggesting you get the following flights:

  • EasyJet Gatwick – Toulouse 0840 arriving at 1130
  • EasyJet Toulouse –  Gatwick 1805 arriving at 1900

 

If these do not suit then all you need to know is that we will be at the airport at midday on day one of the itinerary.

On the day you leave we will be dropping the team off at Toulouse airport for 3 PM.

Please therefore find flights that work for these timings.

If there are any issues with this please let us know and we will also try and help however it might mean in getting a hire car/train or taxi to your start / finish point.

Bagneres de luchon is 1h 40 mins drive away.

Insurance

Do I need special travel insurance for the expedition?

You must carry individual travel insurance to take part in the expedition. We cannot take you on the mountain without proof of insurance.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the appropriate insurance for your intended trip. To include medical evacuation and coverage up to the maximum altitude of this trip.

Your insurance details are requested on the booking form, however this can be arranged at a later date. 360 Expeditions will be requesting your insurance details 8 weeks before your departure.

Do I need an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) for this expedition?

As the trip is based in France it is also worth having a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) as this “gives card holders the right to access state-provided healthcare on temporary stays in other European Economic Area (EEA) countries or Switzerland. Treatment should be provided on the same basis as it would be to a resident of that country and is provided either at reduced cost or, in many cases, for free.

The EHIC covers treatment that is medically necessary until the card holder returns home. This includes treatment for pre-existing medical conditions.” If you don’t already have one, you can apply for one here and it is free.

Many travel insurers won’t cover your medical costs in the unlikely event that you need medical treatment whilst you are away which could have been covered by an EHIC.

Training

What training do we need to do?

Being trekking fit before coming to the mountain is of great importance not only to maximise your chances of reaching the summit but much more importantly to enhance your overall enjoyment of the expedition: if you are struggling from day one then you will not enjoy the rest of the trip.

Physical preparation does not have to be Herculean: concentrate on cardio vascular exercise during the week by taking short runs when time allows and try to spend at least 2 weekends a month going on good long walks (longer than 6 hrs) carrying a rucksack of around 10kg, and head for the hills.

This kind of regime will not only prepare your body for carrying minor loads but will harden your body against the big days on the mountain itself. In addition it will help break in your boots and get used to your equipment. This will pay dividends when you reach the mountains.

Electronics

Is there mobile reception?

Mobiles will work fine once you get to 3000m but not at the refuge.

Will I be able to get WIFI along the way?

The refuge doesn’t have WiFi due to its remoteness, but you will be able to get it at the guest house in Luchon.

Can I charge my camera / iPod in the mountains?

The refuge does have electricity so you will be able to plug things in to charge, but depending how busy the refuge is, you might find yourself competing for a socket with other guests.

We had an amazing experience climbing Aneto in the Pyrenees with Rolfe who is an amazing, very knowledgeable and really entertaining guide.

Ben, Pyrenees, August 2017
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