Last week we ran our first snowshoeing holiday and it was a brilliant week with excellent routes, fantastic views and sunshine every day! We did five routes during the week – three in the Valle de Tena, one from Somport and one in the Ordesa Valley.
On the summit of Pico Canal Roya
There were five intrepid guests with varying level of snowshoe experience, but all did brilliantly so we got to do some great days and reached a couple of high summits.
Snowshoeing out from Portalet
The weather couldn’t have been better – clear blue skies all week, not a breath of wind and perfect temperatures. The snow line is quite high this year so all of our routes started from quite high altitude. The Portalet pass on the French/Spanish border in the Valle de Tena is perfect for this as it has an altitude of nearly 1800 metres and always good snow conditions.
Next February we are running a guided snowshoeing holiday in the Valle de Tena. We’ve been asked about this lots of times by readers of the blog, so hopefully some of you will be able to come and join us for this advenure!
Snowshoeing near Portalet
Snowshoeing is brilliant fun and requires no previous experience or technical skills – if you can hike you can snowshoe! We’ll teach you all the techniques you need to know during your stay. It’s a great way of discovering the mountains in winter. The scenery is simply beautiful and the winter really is a magical time to be in the mountains.
The great snow conditions continue in the Pyrenees and yesterday we got the snowshoes out. The weather didn’t look that great up the valley so we headed across to Cotefablo – the pass halfway between Biescas and Ordesa/Torla. It’s south of the high cliffs of the Sierra de Tendeñera so gets much better weather than just 10km north on the other side of the cliffs!
Many of our guests will know the spot as we sometimes head here in the summer to hike up to the summits of Pelopin or Erata. It’s nice and high at around 1500metres so there’s usually snow right from the off. Yesterday we headed in the other direction to the north to the peak of Toronzué (2263m).
The ‘A-Team’ – Gustavo, Brecas and David
Four of us headed out – David our guide who I’m sure spme of you will have hiked with, Gustavo and Brecas two friends from Biescas and Ruby our dog who had her first winter mountain day and had the most fun of us all!
Heading out from Cotefablo
What are you thinking about doing this weekend?
I wondered the same question last week and I decided to go snowshoeing. On the border with France, at the head of the Valle de Canfranc there are some fantastic snowshoeing routes.
Making fresh tracks in the snow – fantastic!
I decided to go to “El Bosque de las Hayas” or Beech Forest; between Candanchu and France. You can park at the ski resort and head out from there.
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
It’s been snowing heavily over the last week in the Pyrenees and yesterday got out on the snowshoes for the first time this season with Rafa and Emilio. We headed up to the ski station of Formigal and set out from there. Sunny lower down but cloudy with a freezing wind higher up. Beautiful scenery though and great to see the mountains covered in snow again – every year the first time out on the snow is special.
Rafa and Emilio heading out from Formigal
There’s plenty of snow around in the Portalet and Anayet area of Formigal and and the ski station is due to open this Friday. Sextas has suffered from the really high winds we’ve been having which has swept most of the pistes clear of snow there. Plenty of deep drifts in the sheltered spots though!
Emilio showing how deep the powder was….
Ordesa has had lots of snow this winter and you can snowshoe straight from the Pardera car park where there’s several feet of snow. The valley looks beautiful in the snow and I’ve been over there a couple of times in the past few weeks – one time with Anna and Isabel and the other with a group of student journalists from the States.
Anna and Isabel snowshoeing
Isabel loves playing in the snow although as she was waist deep in places she was soon carried by Dad in the rucksack.
On my second visit with the journalists from Alpine Living magazine we got great views of this Sarrios (or Chamois) in the snow – he wasn’t far off and didn’t seem bothered by us. Had quite a fluffy winter coat with lovely colours.
Chamois (or Sarrios in Aragonese) in Ordesa
The waterfalls were flowing quite fast however as not much sun gets this deep in the canyon lots ice and icicles flanked them making them look really beautiful.
Cascada del estrecho