Many areas in the Pyrenees are National Parks and have an abundance of flora, fauna and wildlife. The Salenques Valley follows the river of the same name with lush forests of beech trees and stunning waterfalls.
We aim to climb the peaks of Tuc Culebres 3051m, Tuc Vallibierna 3067m, Tuc Russell 3207m, Tuc del Alba 3118m and Aneto at 3404m during the week over our 6 trekking days. The last peak of Aneto has a small glacier so crampons will be required; the other peaks are all non-glacial but may have some late season snow in places so sure-footedness is useful.
The trails in the Valley are well defined most summits are rocky, you will be roped together with your guide on the more technical terrain. Walking times will vary but you should expect to walk for 6-8 hours per day, the pace will be relaxed with plenty of time to enjoy the scenery and take photos.
We leave Viehla by minibus and transfer to the start point of the trek. We begin with a trek up the Salenques Valley, following the river of the same name, past beautiful waterfalls and through the beech forests.
We trek to the Llauset mountain hut, one of the most modern mountain huts in the region. It's located at 2450m and was only opened in July 2016; it can currently sleep up to 30 people. Walking time to the hut will be around 3-4 hours at a steady pace. We can take some lunch at the hut and leave any additional kit not required for the afternoon.
In the afternoon we set off to climb Tuc Culebres at 3051m and Tuc Vallivierna at 3067m. Both peaks are a great start to the week, challenging but non-technical. We return to the Llauset hut for the night.
We leave the hut after breakfast to climb Tuc Russell at 3207m. Tuc Russell is one of the highest ridges in the Pyrenees and its rocky summit is a fine scrambly-type climb. The summit is wide and flat and offers wonderful panoramas of the Catalan Pyrenees as well as the peaks of the Mulleres, Barrancs, and Vallibierna.
You should expect the day to be around 6-8 hours in length, there will be stops for food and water and you will return to the Llauset hut again for the night.
We leave the hut and trek towards the Salenques Pass at 2809m, a height gain of around 400m. From here we go down through the Barrancs Valley to Aiguallut. Here we meet the minibus with your bags, its an opportunity to swap any clothing and kit over for the following days.
We then hike to the Refuge de la Renclusa at 2140m in the Esera Valley. This will take around 4 hours, the hut is a large stone building with dormitory style accommodation and can sleep around 80 people in total.
We will leave the hut early today and head to climb the peak of Tuc del Alba at 3118m. This is located at the Western end of the Maladeta and is a pyramid type peak of granite with an impressive summit. The climb is a rocky scramble but graded F+, so it's not technically difficult.
We return to the hut after climbing the peak for the night.
Today we aim to climb Aneto the highest peak in the Pyrenees at 3404m. It has one of the last few glaciers on its flanks so we usually need crampons and an ice axe to cross. The climb from the hut is a bit more demanding but again not technically difficult.
The height gain is close to 1300m and the 360-degree panorama from the summit certainly makes the climb a worthwhile effort. The route of ascent and descent are the same and we will traverse the glacier that extends to the north of the peak. The summit has a short rocky passage called "The Bridge of Mohammed", its a little exposed on either side but not technically difficult. At the summit, there is a large cross to mark the top of the peak.
We descend back to the hut for the night.
We leave the hut after breakfast and descend toward Besurta. We then have a short climb to the Portillon de Banasque, one of the border crossings used by merchants and smugglers located between the Peak of the Mine and the Peak of Salvaguardia.
From here we descend towards Artiga de Lin in the Aran Valley. Here we are pick up by private minibus and returned to the hotel in Vielha. Overnight in the hotel.
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Base Layer Top and Bottoms – a few base layer tops, usually long sleeved is best, wool base layers form Smartwool or Icebreaker are good as they offer good wicking properties and dry quickly. A short sleeved top is worth brining too for hot days. For your legs a couple of pairs of long or ¾ length bottoms are best.
Mid-layer fleece tops – a couple of fleece type jacket or tops that can be worn between your base layer and outer layers. The “Layering” approach offers the best heat retention and flexibility in warm and cold weather.
Insulation Layer - a down or primalotf jacket is a good item to have ready to wear in the event of cold weather, it can live in your rucksack as a spare layer and can come in very handy for sudden changes in the weather.
Lightweight softshell type trousers - you want to wear a lightweight softshell or similar material on your legs, these types of trouser offer good protection from snow/ice as well as abrasion on rock and are comfortable to move in.
Walking shorts or pair of trousers with zip-off legs. Useful for walk-ins to huts on hot days.
Gore-Tex Jacket - Gore-Tex or other waterproof breathable jacket. Best to have a lightweight jacket that can be worn in the event of wet or windy weather but is packable enough to fit in your rucksack. Your insulated ski jacket will be overkill and too hot and bulky.
Gore-Tex Pants - Gore-Tex or other waterproof breathable trousers. Lightweight is important plus side zips for putting on over your boots and crampons. Used in cold, wet and windy weather.
Sun hat and warm hat – bring a wide-brimmed sun hat or baseball cap plus a warm beanie style hat.
Light, thin gloves – a thin pair of fleece or softshell gloves for warm weather are a must.
Insulated gloves - You need to have a pair of waterproof warm gloves to wear on cold days
Gaiters – these are useful to wear to keep snow out of your boots.
Socks - 3-4 pairs of medium weight socks usually mid-calf length is good.
The Haute Route is a glacier trek and significant time is spent walking on snow and ice. You therefore require a boot which is ‘B2’ rated. This is a semi-rigid boot available in either leather or plastic/composite options. Leather boots tend to be more comfortable and breathable whereas plastic/composite boots are warmer and more waterproof. B2 boots are compatible with C1 and C2 crampons.
Boots can be hired in resort but to avoid discomfort we do strongly recommend that you have your own pair which need to be well worn-in prior to your trip.
Alpine huts supply hut slippers, croc type shoes, that you can use. We do recommend you pack a pair of flip-flops for the night you spend in Arolla on our Haute Route Trek as the hotel does not supply any shoes and its more comfortable to walk around in these than your boots or socks!
These items are essential for all our alpine trekking trips.
All items can be hired from Mountain Tracks or from sport shops in the Alps.
Rucksack - A simple and lightweight pack with a capacity of between 35-45 liters is recommended. You need to have one loop for carrying an ice axe on your rucksack.
Lightweight sleeping bag liner – a silk or cotton sleeping bag liner is now compulsory in all mountain huts.
Water bottle or Thermos – a water bottle or hydration system is needed.
Head torch with spare batteries
Personal first Aid Kit - Should contain:
Plasters – of various sizes and possibly some adhesive wound dressings.
Pain Killers – aspirin or Paracetamol/Nurofen
Antiseptic cream or wipes
Blister kit – compeed and elastic tape to hold it in place (essential)!
(Note: Guides will have comprehensive first aid kits and are qualified in mountain first aid)
Sun Glasses - minimum category 3.
Ski Goggles – these can be very useful if you encounter strong winds and poor weather.
Sunscreen and Lip Protection
Ear Plugs - For noisy huts!!
Hold-all bag - for gear not required on trek. Will be left at first hotel and collected on return.
Money - You will need some cash for food and drinks. There are some ATMs and most hotels, shops and restaurants will accept credit cards, but most huts still accept cash only. You should allow about 30-40 Swiss Francs or 25-35 Euros per day for lunch and drinks (amount approximate and depends on consumption).
Toiletries – Should contain:
Toothbrush and paste - a mini one is ideal
Anti-bacterial hand cleaner
Wet wipes – essential to try to maintain hygiene
Tissues and toilet roll
Small light quick dry towel e.g. a Lifeventure Soft fiber towel
(Any other essentials you need but remember there are no shower facilities and generally no running water in the huts and you have to carry everything with you!)
Alpine club card - If you're a member.
Book, pack of cards and or Ipod/MP3 player – It’s nice to have something to read or listen to when you are in the huts or to challenge your fellow travelers to a game of card. These items are not essential but if you have space you might appreciate them.
Kabi Travel can provide kit hire to our clients on arrival in Vielha. We have a meeting with the guide in their office in the town, a short walk from the hotel, on the first evening.
They can rent to you boot crampons, ice axe, harness. If you need to rent suitable boots then we can make arrangements for this with them. You need to provide your own clothing and rucksack to carry your equipment in.
The Pyrenees mountain range separates the Iberian Peninsula from the rest of Europe, stretching more than 430km between Spain and France and rising up to more than 3,400m in elevation. There are ski resorts on both the French and Spanish sides plus in the small independent state of Andorra. Between the resorts, the mountains are rugged and wild.
The Val d'Aran is located close to the French/Spanish border in the region of Alta Ribagorza. The main town of Vielha is large and has many hotels, shops, bars and restaurants. The ski resort of Baqueira, Beret and Bonaigua are located a short drive from Vielha.
Ths Salenques Valley, where we run our 3000m Peak trek in the Pyrenees is located to the south and contains a number of 3000m plus peaks which are easily accessible to the adventurous hill walker.
It is a condition of booking that you are insured for your chosen activity and the cover must include medical expenses, personal accident, personal liability, third party risks and rescue (including helicopter rescue). You are strongly advised also to take out cover against cancellation and curtailment.
For more details and to purchase a policy online visit http://www.skiclubinsurance.co.uk/
If you need assistance arranging your personal insurance please let us know.
In the Pyrenees, we work with Kabi Travel a renowned tour operator run by Edurne Pasaban, the first women to climb all fourteen 8000m peaks in the world. Her team of guides are very professional, speak excellent English and are mostly from the Spanish Pyrenees, Basque Country, and Catalonia.
They hold either the Spanish National Mountain Guide qualification from the Spanish Association of Mountain Guides or an IFMGA Mountain Guides qualification.
In Vielha our preferred hotel is the Hotel Riu Nere, this is a comfortable hotel in the heart of the busy old town of Vielha. The rooms are modern and comfortable, the hotel has a restaurant and a lounge area. Within in a short walk are a variety of restaurants, bars, and shops. We stay one night at the start and one night at the end of the trip in this hotel on a half board basis, twin room sharing.
On the other nights, we stay in mountain huts, the huts have dormitory style accommodation, some will have hot showers, some will not. The huts are warm, have electricity and serve plenty of excellent Spanish food and wine.
I have little or no alpine experience but I enjoy hill walking and trekking. I am competent trekking on rough, rocky footpaths. I would like to use crampons, understand basic rope work and glacial travel. Any snow patches encountered are crossed without too much fuss. Carrying a 30 litre rucksack with my daily equipment is no problem.
I am an experienced trekker, used to walking between 6-8 hours per day, carrying a reasonably heavy rucksack (8-10 kg) with all I need in it for the trip. I am confident in my foot placement on all terrain, particularly on rocky exposed paths. I enjoy the challenge of more technical treks and don't mind some sections of scrambling on steeper ground.
On our Wild Blue Trek in Sardinia, we require participants to be at at least this level with a good head for heights, sure-footedness and happy to "climb" and abseil in exposed situations.
IFMGA / UIAGM / IVBV
The IFMGA / UIAGM / IVBV symbol is the logo of the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association.
Nick, Olly and Matt are all fully-qualified UIAGM Mountain Guides and members of the British Mountain Guides Association.
The International Ski Instructors Association is the world body for professional ski instructors.
The ISIA was formed in 1971 and there are currently 39 member nations representing the very best in ski instruction around the world.