Tag Archives: Portalet

Hiking Portalet Pyrenees

First hike of the New Year

At the weekend Ruby and I headed out for my first hike of the New Year from the border at Portalet. The weather was beautiful – cold but with clear blue skies and sunshine.

El-Forato-Peak

The peak of El Forato with the Sierra de Partacua in the background

As long as you don’t want to ski we’ve had brilliant weather over Christmas with three weeks of sunshine and warm temperatures – we even had a barbeque on the 28 December!

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Pyrenees snowshoe holiday

Snowshoeing Pic Peyreget

The really warm weather we’ve been having in October and November finally broke and snow’s arrived to the Pyrenees. Gustavo and I chose a great day to head out for the first snowshowing trip of the season.

We headed to Pic Peyreget (2487m) just on the French side of the border. It’s a great peak and the route passes right under the iconic Pic de Midi d’Osau. Hike Pyrenees guests will know this peak as it’s one we often do on our Peaks & Passes and Valle de Tena Explorer holidays.

Gustavo making tracks through the fresh powder

It wsa a beautifully sunny day and the weather was perfect. We were surprised at just how much snow there was. 30 to 40 cm of powder everywhere and around Refugio Pombie in sheltered spots the drifts where up to about 80cm which made for hard going.

Approaching Refugio Pombie

Approaching Refugio Pombie

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Summit of Pic Peyreget

A great season so far…

Well, the 2014 hiking season here in the Spanish Pyrenees is well and truly under way, and despite the occasional late afternoon thunderstorm, things have been ticking along nicely.  Our self-guided holidays are proving to be as popular as ever, with about half of the guests hiking the 6 day Village to Village Walk in the Valle de Tena.  Other guests have explored the Ordesa Valley, Camino de Santiago and other spectacular areas of the Valle de Tena.

It’s also been busy on the guided holidays.  We’ve run a few more dual level holidays this season, allowing walkers to choose between gentle and more strenuous walks, both in the Valle de Tena and Ordesa, on each of their 5 days, giving them the opportunity to enjoy a diverse range of environments, from flower filled meadows through to rugged high mountain terrain.  Highlights have included hiking the Faja de Pelay in the Ordesa Canyon, visiting the Ibones de Arriel above the GR11 and popping over the border to walk in the French Pyrenees.

Phil has also run a new walking holiday this season, in the Western PyreneesThis holiday is split between  the two beautiful villages of Ezcaroz in the Valle de Salazar and Erratzu in Baztan, and is aimed at those looking for relaxed days in the mountains.   Many of the guests on this holiday had hiked with us before (mostly on our Lakes & Valleys holiday), and were looking to explore the Pyrenees further.  Phil will be running this trip again in September.

We’re also all looking forward to running our Refugio Week later this month, which tackles the highest peak in the area, Monte Perdido, which at 3355m, looms over the head of the Ordesa Canyon.

First winter outing the season

Snow finally arrived to the Pyrenees last week so we took advantage of some great weather Saturday to get out onto the snow for the first time this season. Rafa and I headed up to the border at Portalet which is a great place for snow-shoeing, skiing and generally messing around on the white stuff to do the peak of Canal Roya (2231m).

Rafa at Portalet

Rafa at Portalet at the start of the day

We took our snow shoes in the boot but from the car the snow looked quite thin with a lot of areas cleared by the wind so we headed off just in boots. After half an hour we realised this was a bit of a mistake as we made our way through plenty of thigh deep drifts!

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Snowshoeing and ski touring at Portalet

Hannah (who many of our guests will have met guiding here over the past two summers) and her partner Ken have been over for New Years doing some snow shoeing and trying their hand at ski touring. Snow conditions aren’t great at the moment and we’ve not had a huge quantity of snow but they still have had some great days out.

Snowshoeing towards the Col des Arazures

The area around Portalet is always a good bet when the snow’s not so good and there are a whole load of peaks that you can do from there – it’s like a winter playground!

It was Ken’s first taste of ski touring and he’s caught the bug already! You can read more about Hannah and Ken’s adventures on their excellent Apple Mountaineering blog.