Ascent of Pic de Coma Pedrosa on 2015-04-04

Climber: Seán Caulfield

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, April 4, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Pic de Coma Pedrosa
    Elevation:9656 ft / 2943 m

Ascent Trip Report

Drove to trailhead of Torrent Ribal, just through the tunnel past the Arinsal ski lifts. Parked up my little Opel Corsa rental & set off at 9:30am. First 1.5km was easy, flat or only slightly inclined on a yellow-dotted trail. Then it started to get tricky - from here on up it was all snow.

I don't tend to do much preparation for my hikes, every mountain I have hiked previously I have done in trainers or less. For Coma Pedrosa I had just bought a new pair of B2 hiking boots & figured I'd be fine. Nowhere online did it say that I'd need crampons & an ice axe to climb Coma Pedrosa in April, so I didn't splash out the £155+ they would have cost.

Anyway, the trek to the top was tiring, very difficult in places due to the lack of grip from my boots & the steep inclines, but I was lucky because most of the snow was soft or had footprints for me to follow (a day or two old, all with crampon marks). The most difficult parts were the first snowy/icy incline where I had to use trees to pull myself up & a very steep section after the frozen lake. It took me 5.5 hours to get to the top, about 4.5hours walking & 1hour taking photos - longer than I had expected, but I still had plenty of energy left.

I was following a GPS track that I had found elsewhere online - all the tracks I found were loops, ascending via the Coma Pedrosa Refugio & then descending the other side. I knew the other route down would be steeper, (my descent was almost 2km shorter than my ascent), but I didn't think it would be so dangerous.

The first part of the descent was steep, but manageable - there were footprints & the snow was still soft. But then I came to an extremely steep, icy section. I tried to go down one of the sides, holding onto some rocks, but it got too steep there, so I had to shuffle across. I was using my penknife as a handhold, jabbing it into the icy snow as I tried to prevent myself sliding down the steep slope. It worked for a while, but eventually the ice gave out & I was sliding down the slope on my ass at speed - involuntary glissading!

I was very, very lucky that I had a clear path to a level patch, either side were huge rocks that would have left be with broken bones, or worse. I lost 90m of elevation on that slide, which lasted just a few seconds. From there down the descent was often just as steep, but thankfully the snow was softer (although not by much in places).

Eventually, I made it back to Arinsal, 9 1/2 hours after setting off. The views were absolutely amazing & it was really cool to be the only person on the mountain that day, but I would only recommend this hike (in April - I'm sure the conditions are different in Summer) to people who are experienced & properly equipped - minimum crampons & ice axe.

Note: the main Refugio at 2237m was closed for the winter, but there was a small unlocked shelter with four bunk beds (one mattress), a fire, some firewood & a saw. Would be fine for a night if you had a decent sleeping bag. No water available here, so bring your own, melt snow, or top up from one of the streams on the earlier part of the trail.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4472 ft / 1363 m
    Total Elevation Loss:4472 ft / 1363 m
    Round-Trip Distance:8.2 mi / 13.1 km
    Quality:9 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Snow Climb
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear
Beautiful clear day, cool breeze near the summit
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:4472 ft / 1363 m
    Distance:4.7 mi / 7.6 km
    Route:Via Refugi de Coma Pedrosa
    Start Trailhead:Torrent Ribal  5184 ft / 1580 m
    Time:5 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:4472 ft / 1363 m
    Distance:3.4 mi / 5.6 km
    Route:The other side, steeper route
    End Trailhead:Torrent Ribal  5184 ft / 1580 m
    Time:4 Hours 
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Seán Caulfield
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

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