The Mountains of Andorra
Walks, Scrambles, Via Ferratas and Treks
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Guide to 60 walking routes in little-known Andorra. The guidebook includes numerous paths with scrambles, summits, via ferratas and a week-long Andorra circuit. Covers Arinsal, Sispony, Arcalis and Angonella, Valls Sorteny and Rialb, Montcaup, Ordino, Casamanya, Valls del Riu, Ransol, D'Incles, Circ de Pessons, Cortals and Vall del Madrui.
- Summer weather usually excellent from May to September. Snow may have melted in May; sometimes persists until well into June.
- Encamp and towns on the main valley road, but the real delight of Andorra is the higher mountain villages such as Arinsal and Ordino.
- Everything from easy walks, long walks and a trek, to scrambles and (if this is your bag) the excitement of via ferratas.
- Must See
- The scrambly walking on the frontier ridges, mountain villages, an outstanding refuge network. NOT the valley, but this is soon left behind.
This is a guide to the walks, scrambles, via ferratas and treks in the tiny Pyrenean country of Andorra. Hidden away in the mountains between France and Spain, Andorra has only 468 square kilometres, but they include excellent Pyrenean potential. This guide includes 58 walk and scramble routes throughout the country, as well as 9 via ferrata routes and the 6-stage Andorra Circuit - a trek around the Principality.
With 80 mountain lakes and a host of elegant peaks Andorra offers a breathtaking range of walks in a compact area. This is a country of high, rocky passes, snow-speckled summits, flower-strewn mountain meadows and grassy scoops of valleys.
The guide is a perfect companion to making the most of mountain adventures in Andorra. It provides practical information on language and transport to and around the country, as well as details on accommodation, mountain huts, maps, history and places of interest along the way. Sketch maps accompany each route, along with breathtaking photography throughout the guide.
- Andorra is trilingual, with Catalan as the main language. The guide includes a Catalan-English-Spanish-French glossary of useful words and phrases.
- Walks range from gentle valley walks to tough mountain days, and are graded accordingly, so there is potential to explore Andorra for walkers of all abilities.
- The guide includes information on the best times to go, safety in the mountains and key information on making the most out of your walking.
Some facts and figures
Flowers and wildlife
How to use this guide
1 Arinsal and Sispony
Walk 1 Refugi de Coma Pedrosa
Walk 2 Pic del Port Vell
Walk 3 Pic de Sanfonts
Walk 4 Pic de Coma Pedrosa
Walk 5 Pla de l'Estany
Walk 6 Refugi les Fonts
Walk 7 Pic de Medacorba and Estanys Forcats
Walk 8 Pic del Pla de l'Estany and Estanys de Montmantell
Walk 9 Pic de les Fonts
Walk 10 Coll de les Cases
Walk 11 Roc de la Cauba
Walk 12 Pic d'Enclar and Pic de Carroi
2 Arcalís and Angonella
Walk 13 Valira Nord
Walk 14 Pic de Font Blanca
Walk 15 Estanys de Tristaina
Walk 16 Pic de Tristaina
Walk 17 Pic de Cataperdís and Angonella Valley
3 Vall de Sorteny and Vall de Rialb
Walk 18 Refugis de Rialb and Sorteny
Walk 19 Estany Blau
Walk 20 Pic de Thoumasset
Walk 21 Pic de l'Estanyó
Walk 22 Pic de la Serrara
4 Montaup, Ordino and Pic de Casamanya
Walk 23 Pic de Casamanya – South peak
5 Vall del Riu
Walk 24 Refugi de la Vall del Riu
Walk 25 Pic de la Cabaneta and the Eastern Ridge
Walk 26 Pic de l'Estanyó and the Western Ridge
6 Vall de Ransol
Walk 27 Refugi dels Coms de Jan
Walk 28 Coma de Ransol
Walk 29 Frontier Ridge
Walk 30 Pic de la Serrara
7 Vall d'Incles
Walk 31 Estanys de Fontargent and Estanys de Juclar
Walk 32 Pic de Ruf and Coll d'Alba
Walk 33 Pic de la Pala de Sobre l'Estany
Walk 34 French Connection
Walk 35 Peaks of Escobes
Walk 36 Estanys de Siscaró
Walk 37 Pic de la Cabaneta
Walk 38 Cabana Sorda
Walk 39 Pic de la Coma de Varilles
Walk 40 Pic d'Anrodat
Walk 41 Soldeu Circuit
Walk 42 Upper Soldeu Circuit
Walk 43 Pic del Maià
Walk 44 Valira Nature Trail
8 Grau Roig and the Circ dels Pessons
Walk 45 Estanys de Pessons
Walk 46 Pic d'Ensagents and Pic dels Pessons
Walk 47 Pic dels Pessons and Vall del Madriu by the GR7
Walk 48 Pic de Montmalus
Walk 49 Pic d'Envalira
Walk 50 Pic de Fontnegre
Walk 51 Pic d'Encampadana
Walk 52 Pic Alt del Cubil
Walk 53 Pic Alt del Griu
Walk 54 Pic dels Llops
10 Vall del Madriu
Walk 55 GR7 to San Julià de Lòria
Walk 56 Prat Primer and Obaga de Noufonts
Walk 57 Estany d'Engolasters and Vall del Madriu
Walk 58 Pic de la Maiana and the Vall de Perafita
11 Via Ferratas of Andorra
Ferrata 1 El Tossal Gran d'Aixovall
Ferrata 2 Sant Vicenç d'Enclar
Ferrata 3 Roc d'Esquers
Ferrata 4 Clots de L'Aspra
Ferrata 5 Canal de Mora
Ferrata 6 The Directissima
Ferrata 7 Racons
Ferrata 8 Canal del Grau
Ferrata 9 Bony d'Envalira
12 Andorra Circuit
Day 1 Escaldes to Refugi de l'Illa by Val del Madriu
Day 2 Refugi de l'Illa to Refugi de Siscaró via Pessons
Day 3 Refugi de Siscaró to Refugi dels Coms de Jan via Vall d'Incles
Day 4 Refugi dels Coms de Jan to Refugi de l'Angonella by Sorteny
Day 5 Refugi de l'Angonella to Refugi de Coma Pedrosa
Day 6 Refugi de Coma Pedrosa to the Alberge in Sispony
There a number of maps available for Andorra, and none is completely satisfactory. All are inaccurate in many details and fail to reach the standard British walkers would expect in an Ordnance Survey map. At an early stage, and after much thought, it was decided to base the text of this guide on the following map:
• Editorial Alpina 1:40,000 Andorra Mapa y Guia Excursionista (Geograf Salvador Llobet, Edicions Cartographiques, SL, 08400 Granollers, tel: 938 795 083, email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
This map (and the attached Catalan guidebook) has the advantage of being readily and cheaply available in Andorra. Although it has many imperfections it is by far and away the most up to date and least inaccurate of the available maps. A number of editions are on sale in Andorra, but the one used in preparation of this text was the 2nd edition, January 2002. (Note that there are small variations between the editions.) Most of the paths marked are fairly accurate, though there are many errors and a number of existing and waymarked paths are omitted. Any significant discrepancy between the map and the terrain this will be indicated in this guide. Where no such comment is made then you should assume the map is accurate. It marks the GRP long-distance path round the Principality (though with some noteworthy mistakes). The naming of peaks and passes (especially on the border with France) seems to be consistent with local usage and signposting on the ground.
The Andorran authorities publish a number of maps, but all are very out of date and inaccurate. They are published by Govern d’Andorra, Conselleria de Serveis Publics, C/Prat de la Creu, Andorra la Vella, as follows:
• Mapa Topografic 1:50,000 Andorra (1987)
• Mapa Topografic 1:25,000 Andorra (1992)
• Mapas Topograficas 1:10,000 – 19 maps (1976)
The first gives a reasonable overview of the area but is very inaccurate on the paths, and fails to show any of the well-marked long-distance routes. The second is at a larger scale and therefore better on the mountain topography, but is poor on the paths and very unwieldy to use. This is even truer of the largest scale maps available, the Consell General 1:10,000 series. There are 19 covering the Principality, but they are decades out of date and completely useless for all practical purposes.
The most sophisticated-looking map of the area is the French Haute-Ariege Andorra 1:50,000 (Institut Geographique National, 1986), but this map throws up all sorts of problems. The marking of paths on the Andorran side of the border is very vague, careless and out of date. Moreover, the names of the peaks and passes on the French border are often confused and different from local usage and signposts. On balance it is easier to use the Editorial Alpina 1:40,000.
Another good-looking map of the area is the Andorra and Cadi 1:50,000 (Rando/Institut Cartografíc de Catalunya, 2001) which is quite usable but again has fairly unreliable path markings and is less easy to obtain in Andorra than the Editorial Alpina.
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Alf Robertson is a professional walking guide and qualified member of the British Association of European Mountain Leaders (BAEML) who writes regularly for British walking and climbing magazines. Alf and his wife Jane Meadowcroft walk, climb, write and guide together from their home in Córdoba, Andalusia. They have walked and climbed extensively in Andorra over the past seven years.View Guidebooks by Alf Robertson
Jane Meadowcroft left her career in the Civil Service in 1998. She is married to Alf Robertson, a professional walking guide and qualified member of the British Association of European Mountain Leaders, and together the couple walk, climb, write and guide from their home in Córdoba, Andalucia. They have walked and climbed extensively in Andorra over the past seven years.View Guidebooks by Jane Meadowcroft
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