Great news that refugios in the Aragonese Pyrenees are due to reopen on the 22 June and we’ll once again be able to spend a night in the mountains and access the high peaks.
There will be changes in capacities and other safety/hygiene measures introduced. Refugio Goriz, in the Ordesa National Park, called me last week to explain the new procedures and how things will work this summer.
The new procedures for this summer will be as follows:
- Reduced capacity for all refugios – roughly a third of current capacity. For example, Refugio Goriz has a capacity of only 35 this summer, compared to normally around 100. The new dorms that usually sleep 8 will hold only 3 this summer.
- Each party should assign a ‘leader/organiser’. The warden will explain the new regulations at the door of the hut to the assigned leader to communicate to the rest of the group before they enter.
- Bar and meal service will be offered as normal. Dining rooms will have reduced capacity but everyone sleeping in the hut will have a breakfast and evening meal. In fact, those staying in huts that can’t be reached by vehicle will have to reserve half board (which includes breakfast and evening meal). If the hut can be reached by car then you’ll need to have a minimum of bed and breakfast.
- Washing hands with antiseptic gel will be compulsory before and after meals – I’d always recommend this anyway when staying in huts.
- The communal free kitchens where you can cook your own food will be closed.
- Masks will be needed to be worn in all common areas of the refugios.
- No hut slippers will be provided and you’ll need to bring your own.
- No blankets or pillows will be provided – you need to bring your own sleeping bag.
- It’s not certain if shower facilities will be open or not – get ready to smell!
Due to the reduced capacity most huts are not taking bookings at the moment while they try to organise their bookings and reduce reservations for the dates that they are now overbooked on. A busy hut like Goriz which is usually fully booked most summer will be difficult to get places in this summer. It’s such a shame after all the rennovations carried out in Goriz the last couple of years that they are not going to be able to take advantage of the increased capacity.
I’m not certain if reservations are going to be mandatory this summer, but I would definitely recommend always booking ahead this year. Normally the wardens are great and try and squeeze everyone in, but this summer this just won’t be possible and the huts would actually be breaking the law to squeeze extra people in.
The procedures above are for all huts run by FAM (Aragones Mountain Federation) which includes the vast majority of huts in the area. There are a few private huts such as Refugio Bujaruelo and I presume they’ll be following the same (or similar) norms.
The wardens at all the huts have been doing a great job maintaining the refugios in total isolation for a few months now.
You can read more details (mainly in Spanish) on the Refugio Goriz website: https://www.goriz.es/abrimos-el-22-de-junio/ Also see the Refugio Goriz Facebook page which is a great source of information on route conditions and updates.
The easiest way to book Pyrenees huts and make reservations is online.
I hope that some of you manage to get out and spend a night or two at one of our wonderfully located huts here in the Pyrenees.
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Tent rental at Refugio Goriz
This summer Refugio Goriz will be renting tents for those that prefer to camp outside rather than stay in the hut, or for those unable to get bunks with the reduced capacity in this popular hut.
You can rent a dome tent (tienda de campaña in Spanish) and two sleeping mats for 20€ per night. Tents and mats will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between use. I’m presuming you’ll be able to order an evening meal and breakfast in the hut although I’m not certain. The meals are excellent and plentiful at Goriz! You’ll need to bring you’re own sleeping liner or sleeping bag and remember at this altitude it often gets pretty cold at nights even on a hot August day – bring a warm jacket to sit outside in the evenings.
Remember, the camping rules in the park are you can only have your tent up between 8pm at night and 8am in the morning. These rules will still apply for tents rented at Goriz.
You’re still allowed to bring your own tent and camp if you’d prefer – this is just an extra option they are offering.
Bus service into the Ordesa Valley
The bus service from Torla into the Ordesa Valley has been suspended until at least the beginning of July (and probably longer). You can take private cars into the valley and park at the Pradera until the shuttle bus restarts.
I have to say there is nowhere near enough parking at La Pradera for the amount of cars that would be there each day in July and August. I’m not sure what happens once the car park is full – presume you’ll be turned away at the park entrance and have to park in Torla and hike in via the Camino Turieto. This is a pretty path but adds about 6km each way to your route, so makes hiking the Faja de Pelay or the valley floor as far as the Cola de Caballo a very long day!