First snowshoeing trip of the season

Fabien snowshoeing near Astun

Fabien snowshoeing near Astun

It’s been snowing heavily in the Pyrenees for over a week now but the weather cleared on Friday and Saturday and it was time to dig the snowshoes out of the back of the cupboard for the first snowshoe outing of the season.The ski resort of Astun was our destination on Friday afternoon and we walked up to Col de Moines on the French border. Great views over the resort to Pico Aspe with the sun setting behind.

The ski resort of Astun with Pico Aspe behind

The ski resort of Astun with Pico Aspe behind

On Saturday we visited Ibon de Estanés – an area I’d not visited before. It was an unexpectedly wild and beautiful area. Our route took us through woods to a wide plateau called Aguas Tuertas perfect for snowshoeing. Fabulous snow covered mountians rose above us.

Aguas Tuertas and the peak of Secús

Aguas Tuertas and the peak of Secús

As we passed over a low hill we disturbed a large herd of Sarrios (Pyrenean Chamois). There must have been 25 or even 30 grazing on a grassy patch. We were fairly close but they soon sped off at a pace that made us feel like snails!

Sarrios or Pyrenean Chamois

Sarrios or Pyrenean Chamois

There was a fair amount of snow but wew were a bit lower than the day before and took our snowshoes on and off several times during the day. We took a circular route back past Ibones de Estanés nestled just on the Spanish side of the border. The route down was quite exciting and had there been much more snow would have been impassable. It started with a nice traverse on a narrow path across a cliff face.

Descending from Ibon de Estanés

Descending from Ibon de Estanés

For the final section there was a set of ‘escalera’ marked on the map – this translates to stairs but we weren’t quite sure what to expect. When we got there we found exactly that – a nice set of steps!

The 'escalera' at Ibones de Estanés

The 'escalera' at Ibones de Estanés

Great day – beautiful weather and whetted my appetite for more snow snowshoeing. The snow’s continuing this week and the mountains around Biescas all have white peaks. Formigal and Panticosa ski resorts are expecting to open on the 27th November and that looks possible with the good base of snow they’ve already got and the forecast for the next week. Can’t wait!

3 thoughts on “First snowshoeing trip of the season”

  1. Hi Phil, loved your photos :)

    Me and my mate are thinking to visit Spain at the end of February.
    I saw your blog and the beautiful photos and I was hoping you could help us with some planning.
    We want to hike and maybe to do some snowshoeing in the Pyrenees and would love to get recommendations for daily trails or even several days hikes (are there huts?).
    I should note that we’ve hiked before in the Austrian alps and in Canada, and we took a basic mountaineering course two summers ago, but we don’t have any previous experience with snowshoeing (although it doesn’t seem too hard :))

    Thanks a lot,
    rita

  2. Hi Rita,
    The end of Feb is a great time for a snow shoeing trip in the Pyrenees. For Refugios take a look at Refugio Linza which has a lot of good snowshoeing routes from it.

    Next winter Hike Pyrenees are starting snowshoeing holidays with options to be based either in a village or refugios.

    I’ll drop you an email with some suggestions about routes and information on refugios.

    Have a great trip – let us know how you get on.

    Phil

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