The Pyrenees on the French border of Spain are an extension of the Alps. Although it is thought that the Pyrenees are overshadowed by the Alps, it is one of the most important natural parks in Europe with its untouched nature, areas suitable for extreme sports and unmatched mountains. Every year, thousands of climbers flock to the Pico de Aneto, the highest mountain of the Pyrenees with its 3404-meter height.
The Pyrenees, one of the most important natural sports centers in Europe after the Alps, is a natural area where adventure lovers can do all kinds of activities. The Pyrenees, the 430-kilometer-long mountain range in Spain's Huesca region on the French border, is also a border between the two countries. It is possible to do all kinds of outdoor sports activities in the mountainous region along the border. Canoeing in the lakes, rafting in the rivers, trekking, mountain biking, mountaineering and skiing are the most popular outdoor sports.
Benasque town of nature lovers
Every year, hundreds of climbers flock to the region to climb the highest mountain of the Pyrenees, Pico De Aneto. Benasque Town, at the foot of Pico de Aneto, is a residential area in the center of the Pyrenees.
Benasque Town is easy to reach. Buses departing from the Barcelona bus station twice a day take you to this beautiful town with a pleasant six-hour road trip.
Benasque is a town built exclusively for nature athletes and adventurers. There are all kinds of social facilities in the town. As it is a mountain town, you come across stores that sell most mountaineering equipment. In this border area you can find the most exclusive products of the most famous brands in the world and the best quality of mountaineering equipment. The prices are also very reasonable.
How to go?
The highest mountain of the Pyrenees, Pico De Aneto, can be reached from Barcelona, Spain or Tolousse, France. From Barcelona airport you need to reach Sants Estacio Station by bus. There is a bus terminal which is right next to the Sants Estacio major train station. Buses depart from Benasque Town, the closest residential area to Pico De Aneto, every morning and noon.
The bus departs from Barcelona to Barbastro Town and then reach Benasque Town in 6 hours.
Accommodation is quite affordable
The hotels is extremely clean and affordable. You can stay at the hotes with mountain view for 30 to 50 euro per night. The food in Benasque is quite suitable for Turkish taste. However, those who are keen to taste the local cuisine of the region may be disappointed because there is not much choice in restaurants except grilled meat, chicken and fish. A main course is quite filling. So if you order something other than the main course, you're likely to be unable to finish the second order.
Land of non-foreign language speakers
In this part of Spain, especially in Benasque, the most important issue is the foreign language problem. Almost no one speaks English. People are very kind but you can't even communicate with the waiters in the restaurants because of the language problem. If you don't speak Spanish or Catalan, it's very hard to order even a cup of tea in this town. Even the menus in the restaurants are not prepared in English. So it is advised to learn a few Spanish words on the way to the region. According to some blogs, it’s not that people there do not know English but that they simply don’t want to speak English.
Journey to Renclusa Chalet
Benasque is a base for those who want to climb Pico de Aneto. First of all, you need to reach Besurta Region, which is the last point you can go by road. Buses departing from Benasque regularly take you to Besurta in about an hour. You only pay 7 euro for the bus.
The wooden buffet in the Besurta region is the last stop of the buses. Here, we make the necessary preparations and move to Renclusa Chalet which is used as a camp for climbing Aneto. It is possible to reach the chalet at 2140 meters with a light walk of 40 minutes from a path. For those who do not want to climb the Aneto Mountain, this walk is quite healthy and has a high sightseeing pleasure. The climb to the chalet is a nice, daily hiking activity where you can eat and relax around the chalet and go down again.
Renclusa Chalet is a comfortable place with 100 beds and all kinds of food. In Menclusa, you can have lunch and dinner at very reasonable prices. The meals are quite satisfying. Salads, beans and very tasty meat dishes gives you energy for the tough climb on the next day. This type of chalets eliminates outdoor sportsmen from routine problems with food and shelter and allows you to focus more on climbing, hiking or other outdoor sports activities.
Trekking at 2000 meters
If you arrive early in Renclusa, the best way to spend time is to arrange small trekking tours. First of all, the small place of worship carved into the rock just across the chalet should be visited.
When you follow the glacial stream that passes right next to the chalet, you go up to 100 meters and you encounter a small and beautiful mountain lake with a height of 2250 meters. The lake is located at the foot of the famous Mount Maladeta. The scenery of the lake and the natural beauty of the environment is so impressive that you don't want to go down to the chalet again.
Spending the night at the chalet could be a bit troubled. The rooms in Renclusa Mountain House are quite crowded. After dinner, climbers have to spend the night in rooms for 14 people. Of course, even a person's snoring can cause you to be sleepless all night. If you are a light sleeper, you might spend the night without sleep.
IT IS TIME FOR CLIMBING MEMORIES
Let the climb begins…
We wake up at 3 am at midnight and after breakfast we start preparing for climbing. We have a team of 25 with 22 Catalan, two French and one Turk. The climbing bag must include pickaxe, crampons, a helmet and at least 1.5 liters of water. Some climbers don't need helmets and digging. They prefer climbing with batons instead of digging.
The first 150 meters is an easy footpath walk. When we reach the ridge of Mount Renclusa, we make a 100-meter descent from a narrow gorge. The road from the narrow gorge to the glacier is extremely winding. This is because of the route markers that are placed everywhere. We don't know where the right route is due to the signs that each climber has climbed in a separate place and often take the wrong routes.
When we get back to the beginning of the Aneto Glacier, we remove our spikes from our bag. There's no other way to move on the hard glacier. We are only 350 meters from the Aneto Summit, which shows itself well. During the glacial transition, some climbers are connected to each other with rope due to both hard ice and glacial cracks. I don't have that chance as I climb alone.
Celebration at the summit
When we complete the glacier crossing and reach the main mass of Aneto, we are only 150 meters from the summit. After a few easy rock passes, I reach the happy end, the highest point of the Pyrenees. The peak is 3404 meters high. We complete the climb to which we start with 25, with 21 people. Four people had to return for various reasons. At the summit, everyone congratulates each other and takes photos. The Catalan mountaineer who did not make me sleep all night with his snores apologizes once more by offering me champagne at the summit. We leave the summit in a very pleasant way and begin to descend. The descent is prolonged again because we have taken the wrong routes. We descent the route, we climbed in 6 hours, in 7 hours.
When we reach Renclusa chalet we are all very tired though very happy.
Climbers, who usually return from the summit climb, prefer to spend the night at the chalet and relax. However, as it is very easy to reach the town, it is possible to reach Besurta with a short descent and be in Benasque Town on the same day.