Ascent of Monte Perdido on 2013-07-19

Climber: Martin Richardson

Date:Friday, July 19, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Monte Perdido
    Elevation:10984 ft / 3347 m

Ascent Trip Report

For pictures and context, see my blog 'Went up a hill and came down' at:

Extract of text from my blog:
The road into the Ordesa y Monte Perdido Parque Nacional has been closed to traffic. So you either have to walk in from Torla or use the provided park and ride bus service. The parking is free, the return bus fare is 4.5 Euros. The bus starts from the large Torla car park N42.62416 W0.11177 (1006m) and there is a frequent service from 6.00am until late at night. There is a sign saying that the bus will be suspended when 1800 people have entered the park on any one day. I was lucky there wasn't quite that many on the days I went in. The bus terminates at the large almost deserted carpark at Pradera N42.64964 W0.06026 (1308m)
Initially there are wide paths on both sides of the Rio Arazas in the Valle de Ordesa until it starts to rise more steeply – for much of the lower section the rio is more an aural experience than a visual one with occasional glimpses of pretty waterfalls until you come out of the trees near a series of waterfalls, the Gradas de Soazo N42.63731 W0.00269 (1627m). The tourist path keeps going into a wide steep-sided valley, the Circo de Soaso, and ends where the river drops down the Cascada de la Cola de Caballo.
There is a bridge over the river and then the path to Goriz starts in earnest – with a choice of routes for clavijas/climbers and for sendero/walkers at N42.64847 E.01585 (1774m). I reckon the clavijas route is more of a scramble than a rock climb, but as I was fully laden and it was pouring with rain I did not bother to try it.
The sendero path zigzags up the steep wall then there is a long rising traverse to meet the clavijas route at N42.65125 E0.01819 (1923m).
There is more zigzagging and traversing until, at last, there is the welcome sight of the Refugio de Goriz N42.66373 E0.01557 (2190m).
Overnight camping is allowed in the terraces above the refugio. ...
Next morning it was cloudy but not raining. Finding the start of the path is not easy as there are various tracks created by campers. The trick is to start from a hand-painted sign for the Fuente (it says H2O on the back), which consists of a small plastic pipe sticking out of the ground, and head diagonally up the first of several escarpments to N42.66336 E0.01716 (2257m). From this point the path is more obvious, but there are variations. The next key thing to seek out is an awkward step at the left side of an escarpment at N42.67051 E0.02399 (2623m) and make sure you know how to find it on the way down. Otherwise you will have to tackle the small cliff with a bergschrund - even without the snow it would be awkward to get down. And, note the next part of the path crosses a boulder field where the path is cairned but twists about with variations.
Then the snow (this year, at least) begins to become unavoidable at N42.67465 E.002483 (2724m) – crampons not needed, but there was evidence some people had been using them. There is at least another rocky escarpment to clamber up before you arrive above the blue icy Lago Helado N42.68040 E0.02726 (2977m). ... Initially the snow was quite soft and none too steep, however it gets steeper and icier higher up and the atmosphere is getting thinner. I was labouring so much on the last part of the main slope I did not realise just how precarious it would be without ice axe and crampons – it was more obvious on the descent. One slip and ice axe arrests would be needed. As I reached the collado before the easier but still breathless final push I met a party of four coming down who were roped together.
And found just one person sat by the summit trig. There was no view – so we did the camera swap thing and then I went to measure the longitude/latitude of the snow which was higher than the base of the trig. I think he was telling me off (in Spanish) for doing so, even though there was not really much exposure.
I descended by roughly the same route as the ascent – thanking myself for marking on my GPS the location of the awkward step. As I reached the refugio it started to rain. Decision time – do I spend another night camping near the refugio or do I get everything out of the locker (you are not allowed to leave tents erected during the day) and hump the heavy load all the way back to the Pradera bus? The drizzle made me decide to walk – I couldn’t be bothered to put the tent up in the wet. As it was a Friday there were large numbers of people coming up the path – it felt like the 1800 limit was going to be breached by Saturday lunchtime.
As I reached the tourist path down in the Circo de Sousa it started to rain in earnest – all the Spanish and French tourists, I was overtaking despite my full load, had put on their capes/ponchos – I just got wet and dry quite quickly after the thunderstorms ended.

The GPS track only shows the route from the refugio to the summit.
Summary Total Data
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Martin Richardson
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

This page has been served 973 times since 2005-01-15.

Copyright © 1987-2020 by All Rights Reserved. Questions/Comments/Corrections? See the Contact Page Terms of Service