Tag Archives: GR11

Hiking adventures in Spain

5 hiking adventures in Spain for 2019

Another year is upon us and we’ve chosen some of our favourite hiking adventures in Spain to give you inspiration for a healthy active holiday in 2019.

Explore the spectacular canyons of Ordesa, the limestone spires of the Picos de Europa or the undiscovered Puertos de Beceite – Spain has a wealth of mountain ranges to choose from.

Here’s five of the best adventures to take your mind off the cold weather and to start dreaming of hiking under the Spanish sunshine. One word of warning though – with the excellent Spanish food and wine you may not ending up shedding as many pounds as you hoped on our hiking holidays!

1. Picos de Europa

Picos de Europa

Trumpet gentians in the Picos de Europa

Spain’s oldest National Park and one of the most spectacular with sharp limestone peaks rising from alpine meadows. The famous Cares Gorge splits the massif in two and makes for a wonderful hike. On the southern side the Fuente De cable car whisks you up 700 metres for some great but accessible hiking in high mountain terrain.

At times it appears like a land that time forgot with shepherds still spending there summers in the high pastures, taking care of the herds and making cheese.

Our Picos de Europa guided holiday is dual centre allowing you to explore both the northern and southern sides of the park. With two hikes offered each day – an easier and a harder option this is an adventure suitable for all levels of fitness.

2. Hike the GR11 and summit Monte Perdido

GR11 hut to hut holiday

On the summit of Monte Perdido (3355m)

If you’re looking for adventure start here! The GR11 is a monster 840km trail that traverses the Pyrenees from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic taking around 45 days.

For those without a month or so to go hiking our Refugio Week tackles a week section of the GR11 covering some of the most spectacular and highest legs in the Ordesa National Park and the Valle de Tena.

As a bonus, we’ll take a side trip up Monte Perdido – the third highest summit in the Pyrenees at 3355 metres.

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Refugio Respomuso in the beautiful Circo de Piedrafita

Hiking the GR11: A Practical Guide

I’ve just finished putting together a guide to the GR11. The GR paths are a network of extensive paths that criss-cross Europe, mostly in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain.  Here in the Spain, GR stands for ‘Gran Recorrido‘ and here in the Spanish Pyrenees, we have a number of these GR paths linking key settlements, passes and valleys, but perhaps the most challenging and impressive of these GR routes and the one that many of our hikes are based around is the GR11.  The GR11 stretches the entire length of the Spanish Pyrenees, from Hondarribia, on the Atlantic coast to Cap de Creus, on the Mediterranean coast, and covers a total of 840km, which is divided into 46 day long sections.

The guide can be found here: Hiking the GR11: A Practical Guide

 

 

A Successful Refugio Week.

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The Refugio Week team at Refugio de los Ibones de Bachimala

Han & I (Ken) have recently returned from guiding the first Refugio Week of the season, which proved to be very successful, with everyone reaching the summit of Monte Perdido, which at 3335m, is the third highest peak in the Pyrenees.

For the first half of the week, we started at Sallent de Gallego, in the Valle de Tena, and walked on the GR11 alongside the beautiful Rio de Aguas Limpias, up to Refugio de Respomuso.   We made the most of the afternoon by practising basic winter skills (such as using an ice axe and crampons) up towards the Collado de la Facha on the French/Spanish border.

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The team with Pico Teberrai in the background

The following day, the team made the most of their newly acquired skills by continuing along the snow covered GR11 up the Collado de Tebarrai, from where some chose to reach the summit of Pico de Tebarrai at 2916m.  A long descent, made much easier by the softening snow, led us down to our second refugio, the new Refugio de los Ibones de Bachimala, above Baño de Panticosa.

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Les Treseroles - Cilindro, Perdido & Anisclo

For the second half of the Refugio week, by taking 4x4s up to Punta Acuta, and traversing the southern rim of the canyon then up and over Punta Custodia, we approached the popular Refugio de Goriz, at the head of the Ordesa Canyon, from where we all summited Monte Peridio the following day.  There was still a lot of snow from Lago Helado to the summit, again requiring the use of an ice axe and crampons.  The team descended from Goriz via the Anisclo Canyon. It was a great achievement by Keith, Lindsey, Carol, Michelle & Mike and we certainly celebrated accordingly!

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On the summit of Monte Perdido

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Descending the Anisclo Canyon