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A guidebook for trekking the Pyrenean Haute Route, which zig-zags across the Franco-Spanish border and stays close to the main ridge in the highest and most spectacular central Pyrenees. It covers 800km with a total of 40km ascent, so is only suitable for experienced mountain walkers. The route is split over 45 stages and is largely unwaymarked.
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The Pyrenean Haute Route is probably the most scenic, spectacular and challenging walk in the Pyrenees, and has become one of the classic walks in Europe. Unlike the GR10 and GR11 the Haute Route crosses the French-Spanish border many times, exploring both sides of the mountain range and staying as close as possible to the main ridge of the Pyrenees. As a result the Haute Route leads the trekker through landscapes of immense variety and impeccable beauty.
The Pyrenean Haute Route is a long-distance footpath from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean that follows the main ridge of the Pyrenees. It covers 800km of spectacular and challenging trekking through the highest and best of the Pyrenees. The route is described in 45 day stages and is largely unwaymarked. Furthermore, throughout the route, there are numerous alternative routes that allow you to avoid a difficult section, should weather conditions not be in your favour.
The Haute Route is suitable only for experienced trekkers. Those who undertake it must have wide experience of walking on all sorts of terrain, including steep scree slopes, boulder fields and snowfields. Knowledge of how to navigate mountains in difficult conditions is also a prerequisite. The Haute Route leads sometimes through untamed, remote areas where there are no waymarks or paths. The ability to read the landscape is necessary; a good intuition of route finding is useful and knowledge of how to use a map and compass is indispensible.
In addition to the Pyrenean Haute Route, this guidebook contains descriptions for ascents of 10 classic Pyrenean summits: Grande Fache, Vignemale, Le Taillon, Piméné, Pic Perdiguère, Pico de Aneto, Montardo d’Aran, Mont Roig, Pic de Certascan and Pica d’Estats.
Many thanks to Peter Forrest for the following updates. They are the most important of a series, and Peter has set up a website www.hrpguide.org to make them available. He is also selling his GPX files for the route, with proceeds being donated to various Himalayan earthquake relief funds. Peter is a big fan of the HRP and his site has valuable information for trekkers.
Day 18: Refuge de Barroude was burnt to the ground 2-3 years ago (2014) so this is a long 10hrs day! Since then Refuge de Barroude is now partly compensated for by modernised but unmanned Cabane de Barrosa 8 hours into the walk (GPS ref: 267125/4731897). This cabane has 12 places. People were still rolling up to Heas in 2016, astonished to find the next refuge defunct!
Day 23: the refuge at Hospital de Vielha has closed. Drop down 1.2km on the GR11 to now-manned Refugio de Conangles.
Some maps listed in the guide are now no longer available so with The Map Shop help we have some suggested alternatives as follows:
Day 13 to 17 - Rando Map 4
Day 18 Editorial Alpina Bachimala
Day 19 and 20 Editorial Alpina Posets Malada
Day 21 to 24 Rando Map 5
Day 25 Editorial Alpina Val d'Aran
Day 26 to 31 Editorial Alpina Alt Pirineu
Refugi de Certascan to Pla de Boavi:
A Reader has commented that there is a well tagged way with waymarks and cairns between these refuges; it may not be necessary to improvise through the forest here.
With thanks to H. Setzer
The Editorial Alpina map mentioned in the book is no longer in print. A recommended alternative is from the official 1:25,000 series, number 91-1.
Many thanks to The Map Shop for this information.
GPS points in this book use the UTM (Universal Transverse Mercator) system
|When to go|
|How to get there|
|Essential things to take|
|Food and water|
|Money and insurance|
|Walks and climbs in this guide|
|Mountain safety and first aid|
|Wildlife and flowers|
|SECTION 1 Hendaye to Lescun|
|Day 1 Hendaye to Col de Lizuniaga|
|Day 2 Col de Lizuniaga to Arizkun|
|Day 3 Arizkun to Les Aldudes|
|Day 4 Les Aldudes to Roncevalles|
|Day 5 Roncevalles to Egurgui|
|Day 6 Egurgui to Col Bagargui|
|Day 7 Col Bagargui to Cabane Ardané|
|Day 8 Cabane Ardané to Source de Marmitou|
|Day 9 Source de Marmitou to Lescun|
|SECTION 2 Lescun to Gavarnie|
|Day 10 Lescun to Refuge d'Arlet|
|Day 11 Refuge d'Arlet to Candanchu|
|Day 12 Candanchu to Refuge de Pombie|
|Variant From Lac de Peyreget via the Col de l'Iou (2194m) to Refuge de Pombie|
|An easy summit Pic d'Ayous (2288m)|
|Day 13 Refuge de Pombie to Refuge de Larribet|
|Day 14 Refuge de Larribet to Refuge Wallon|
|Variant Refuge d'Arrémoulit to Refuge Wallon|
|Ten classic summits — 1 Grande Fache (3005m) from Refuge Wallon|
|Day 15 Refuge Wallon to Refuge de Bayssellance|
|Ten classic summits — 2 The Vignemale (3298m) from the Refuge de Bayssellance|
|Day 16 Refuge de Bayssellance to Gavarnie|
|Ten classic summits — 3 Le Taillon (3144m) from Gavarnie|
|Section 3: Gavarnie to Salardu|
|Day 17 Gavarnie to Héas|
|Ten classic summits — 4 Piméné (2801m) from Refuge des Espuguettes|
|Day 18 Héas to Parzan|
|Day 19 Parzan to Refugio de Viados|
|Day 20 Refugio de Viados to Refuge de la Soula|
|Day 21 Refuge de la Soula to Refuge du Portillon|
|Ten classic summits — 5 Pic Perdiguère (3222m) from Refuge du Portillon|
|Day 22 Refuge du Portillon to Refugio de la Renclusa|
|Ten classic summits — 6 Pico de Aneto (3404m) from Refugio de la Renclusa|
|Escape route From Refugio de la Renclusa to Bagnères-de-Luchon|
|Variant Hospital de Benasque — GR11 trail|
|Day 23 Refugio de la Renclusa to Hospital de Vielha|
|Day 24 Hospital de Vielha to Refugi de la Restanca|
|Variant GR11 from Estany de Rius to Refugi de la Restanca|
|Day 25 Refugi de la Restanca to Salardu|
|Ten classic summits — 7 Montardo d'Aran (2826m) from Coll de Crestada|
|3-day Variant GR11 from Viados to Hospital de Vielha|
|Section 4: Salardu to l'Hospitalet-près-l'Andorre|
|Day 26 Salardu to Refugi Gracia Airoto|
|Day 27 Refugi Gracia Airoto to Alos de Isil|
|Day 28 Alos de Isil to Refugi Enric Pujol|
|Ten classic summits — 8 Mont Roig (2868m) from Refugi Enric Puyol|
|Day 29 Refugi Enric Pujol to Refugi de Certascan|
|Variant 1 Via Tavascan to Pla de Boavi|
|Variant 2 Noarre via Camping Masia ‘Bordes de Graus’|
|Ten classic summits — 9 Pic de Certascan (2853m) from Col de Certascan|
|Day 30 Refugi de Certascan to Refugi del Cinquantenari|
|Short-cut From Coll de Sellente to Estany de Sottlo|
|Day 31 Refugi del Cinquantenari to Refugi de Coma Pedrosa|
|Ten classic summits — 10 Pica d'Estats (3143m) and Montcalm (3077m) from Refugi de Vall Ferrera|
|Day 32 Refugi de Coma Pedrosa to El Serrat|
|Day 33 El Serrat to Cabana Coms de Jan|
|Day 34 Cabane Coms de Jan to Refuge du Rulhe|
|Day 35 Refuge du Rulhe to l'Hospitalet-près-l'Andorre|
|Section 5: L'Hospitalet-près-l'Andorre to Banyuls-sur-Mer|
|Day 36 L'Hospitalet-près-l'Andorre to Refuge des Bésines|
|Day 37 Refuge des Bésines to Barrage des Bouillouses|
|Variant GR10 avoiding Pic Carlit|
|Consolation walk 1 From Chalet-Refuge des Bouillouses to Pic Carlit summit|
|Day 38 Barrage des Bouillouses to Eyne|
|Day 39 Eyne to Refugi d'Ull de Ter|
|Day 40 Refugi d'Ull de Ter to Refuge de Mariailles|
|Day 41 Refuge de Mariailles to Mines de Batère|
|Variant The GR10 from Refuge de Mariailles to Chalet-Refuge des Cortalets|
|Consolation walk 2 The ascent of Canigou from Cortalets|
|Day 42 Mines de Batère to Moulin de la Palette|
|Day 43 Moulin de la Palette to Las Illas|
|Day 44 Las Illas to Col de l'Ouillat|
|Day 45 Col de l'Ouillat to Banyuls-sur-Mer|
|Appendix 1 Useful addresses|
|Appendix 2 Glossary|
|Appendix 3 Facilities list|