The summit of Mont Perdu (3355m), the great lost mountain of the Pyrenees, lies hidden from France by the seemingly impenetrable walls of the Gavarnie and Estaubé Cirques. To get to the mountain from Spain is no easier. Explorers first had to hike from the Aragonese village of Torla along the huge Ordesa Canyon and then up through the Circo de Soaso before attempting the stiff climb to the summit. Mont Perdu is the centrepiece of the Spanish Parque Nacional de Ordesa y Monte Perdido which was established in 1918. At 3355m it is the highest limestone summit in Europe and the third highest peak in the Pyrenees.
This trek is a concentration of impressive mountainous beauty! Every day is intense and diverse as we leave from Gavarnie, through the famous Col de Tuqueroye with its view on the north face of the Mont Perdu, via frozen lakes, above the Anisclo and Ordesa Canyons, THE summit, the Faja de las Flores above the Ordesa Canyon, the legendary Breche de Roland….enough to keep you dreaming for years to come!
- Cross from France into Spain through the Breche de Tuqueroye
– Climb to the summit of the legendary Mont Perdu
– Walk the fabulous Faja de las Flores footpath
- Return into France through the Breche de Roland
Price: 875€ pp. which includes 7 nights accommodation (2 nights hotel, 5 nights refuge), all breakfasts, dinners, and 5 picnics, 6 days guiding, transport to and from trek start and end points. Date: 3-10 August, Sept on demand. Contact and Book: Sian. See photos from the 2010 trip here.
The best way to get here is via train to Lourdes and then connecting SNCF bus to Luz St Sauveur. Hotel Les Templiers is 3 minutes walk from the Tourist Office where the bus lets you off. If you arrive on the night train to Lourdes you’ll arrive in Luz about 9am. You can check into the hotel, relax for the day and perhaps have a warm up stroll around the village. In the evening the group will meet for drinks and dinner.
We drive up to the village of Gavarnie (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and from there we set off on the first day of the trek via the Gavarnie Cirque. The morning ends at a memorable lunch spot below the ‘Grande Cascade‘ (the longest waterfall in Europe at 426m). After lunch we trek along a dramatic balcony path and on up to the Espugettes Refuge where there are great views of the Breche de Roland.
The second day of the trek crosses the border into Spain at the Col de Tuqueroye. This high pass is home to a small mountain refuge (the highest in the Pyrenees) from where you get your first dramatic view of the north face Mont Perdu (see the photo at the top of this page). We pass the Lac Glacé and head steeply down through the Pineta Valley to the Ronatiza refuge.
Today is the hardest and longest day on the route with a 1600 metre climb and a walk around the edge of the canyon. We follow the GR11 to the Col de Anisclo before traversing around the Ansiclo peak with the help of some well placed ‘calvijas’ (see note below). Eventually you come out at the Collado de Goriz and finish with a gentle walk to the hut, perhaps stopping at a small waterfall and swimming hole.
We leave the Goriz Refuge early and head first to the Lago Helado (frozen lake) at the Col del Cylindro before making the long climb on steep slopes to the summit of the Mont Perdu. From the summit, having taken in the 360° views over France and Spain, we re-trace our steps back to the hut to celebrate or rest! This is a possible rest day for the non peak baggers.
The gentle climb to the top of the Cotatuero Cirque is followed by the unforgettable traverse on the Faja de las Flores, one of the most stunning footpaths in the world. From the top of the Salarones Cirque, we climb steadily up to the Breche de Roland before dropping down into France and to the Refuge des Sarradets.
The last day takes us down to and into the Gavarnie Cirque via the Plateau de Bellevue. There are great views across to the grande cascade where we began our walk six days ago. Back to departure point after a very spectacular circuit with a well-deserved rest in view! Last night in hotel accommodation in Luz St Sauveur – warm showers, proper beds and a nice meal celebrate the end of the trek.
Catch the SNCF bus out of Luz to Lourdes station. If you are catching the night train you have the day spare to spend in Luz, Argeles or Lourdes. Visit the beautiful village of St Savin, do the Tour of Luz valley walk or just laze around and enjoy the scenery. Connections to Pau or Lourdes airport can also be arranged.
Price: 875€ pp. which includes 7 nights accommodation (2 nights hotel, 5 nights refuge), all breakfasts, dinners, and 5 picnics, 6 days guiding, transport to and from trek start and end points. Date: 3-10 August, Sept on demand. Contact and Book: Sian.
Fitness Level: This trek involves relatively long days with an average altitude gain of 1000m/day. To consider this trek, you should be comfortable walking for 8 hours in the mountains at your own pace with, of course, short rests here and there and a decent lunch break. The following day, you should be able to get up and do the same again! We are walking in high mountain terrain and although, for the major part, we are on paths, you still should feel happy with rock or scree underfoot. If you feel unsure about your capacity to do this trek, please don’t hesitate to talk to us about it.
Please Note: On this trek breakfast, packed lunches and dinners are provided by the refuges. This itinerary may be altered if conditions, weather forecasts or the overall fitness of the group are judged to put the safety of the group at risk.Our guides reserve the right to make changes to the itinerary without notice. These changes will, of course, be explained to the group if they occur.
Clavijas are a feature on this trek. Years ago people walking up through the Ordesa area used pegs and ropes to help them get safely over some of the more vertical sections of the paths that lead up to the high mountain pastures. There are numerous (and seemingly un-passable) cliff faces in the Ordesa and the clavijas make it possible for people without mountaineering or rock climbing skills to climb them. Some are no more than a length of chain to give you a secure hand hold, others are a series of iron pitons that you climb like ladders. In places there are alternative routes for those who do not want to use the clavijas but sometimes there is no choice.
The Ordesa/Mont Perdu (on Spanish side) and Pyrenean National Park (on French side) were originally designed, amongst other functions, to protect the indigenous wildlife in the area. There are numerous mammals and birds of prey to see including:
Lammergiere (Bearded Vultures)