Above and Below the World

Winter climb to the Maladeta peak (3,308m)

Summary:

  • Start & Finish points: La Renclusa hut
  • Distance & duration: 7 km | 6h
  • Profile: +1.170m /-1.170m
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Route type: circular

GPS track:

wikiloc

Activity type:

Map of the trip:

Profile:

Location:

Beautiful and demanding 4-day winter trekking to visit some of the most emblematic peaks of the Posets-Maladeta Natural Park, in the municipality of Benasque. Only the landscapes here with these great white mountain ranges already worth any visit during the winter months.

Among the many ascents and excursions in the area, we will climb the Maladeta peak (3,308m) and the Mulleres peak (3,010m), these are 2 independent routes, which start from the Renclusa refuge. In total 4 days, where the first day will be an approach by car to the Parking of Llanos del Hospital + 2h walk to the hut and the last day, the reverse to return home.

 

 

DAY 1: Approach to the Renclusa hut, from the Llanos del Hospital car park

2h 6,3km +450m.

We left the car in the first parking area in Llanos del Hospital, in the Benasque municipality. We recommend arriving early as the car parks are not very big and fill up quickly.

We take the backpacks with everything we need for the next few days (we’ll take breakfast and dinner that are served at the hut) and we go up to the refuge, first following the road to the Llanos del Hospital Hotel and then by the cross-country ski slopes. Easy walk to the Besurta summer car park, that we do just with boots despite it is snow.

Llanos del Hospital sky station slopes.

From La Besurta we go up to the Renclusa hute with snowshoe. In total about 2 hours of easy walking approach. Upon arrival we enjoyed a beautiful sunset.

Renclusa hut

Sunset from the Renclusa hut

Upon reaching the refuge we find some skiers going down who tell us that it is not necessary to carry snowshoes when going up to the Maladeta peak, that only with crampons we will go well, since the snow is hard enough to be able to go with crampons due to the trace made by the people who have past before.

DAY 2: Classic ascent to Maladeta Peak (3.312m)

6h (4h30min in movement) 7 km +1.170m/-1.170m

After breakfast, at 8:30 a.m., we started our way. And as they advised us the day before, we only go with the crampons (we leave the snowshoes at the hut).

We start the day!

Views near the refuge, at the beginning of the day

We are going up without complication, but yes, there is a good constant climb and quite steep ahead!

First steep slope from the hut

We continue climbing, and in a short time we reach the crossroads to go up to Aneto, ‘the false Portillón’, we ignore it and continue our way towards Maladeta.

Well marked path, near the detour to go up to Aneto

We keep going up, and we can already see the small channel at the end of the climb, on the mountain wall, which we will have to face, before reaching the Rimaya pass to reach the summit.

Towards the Maladeta canal

Towards the Maladeta canal

So then, we get to the canal. We take the ice axe to help us climb, although the climb is not complicated at all, at least for us we did not find it. The snow was hard and there were ‘steps’ already made by preceding mountaineers that helped us a lot in our progress. Always taking care to look carefully, we go up without problem.

We are lucky and we do not find anyone going up (or going down) during the canal pass so we will calmly do it at our own pace.

With ice axe in hand going up the canal

After passing the canal on the Rimaya hill, we already have the top within reach!

And now we only have about 10 minutes to reach the top of the Maladeta. Once up, we enjoy the views of the Aneto and all the Pyrenees, it is fabulous! We also have a great sunny day, without wind and oddly without no one arround. We rest, eat a little and go down following the same path.

Impressive views of the Aneto glacier, from the top of Maladeta

Very happy, we arrived at the hut at noon, where we just spent the day resting and preparing the route for tomorrow, ascent to the Mulleres peak, a peak of 3,010m, a beautiful mountain trekking but much longer than today.

Climbing the Maladeta by the traditional route is a highly recommended and affordable ascent for everyone used to high mountains and walking with crampons on steep slope.

For more information and recommendations of the day:

  • Recommended equipment: Winter clothing, ARVA, shovel and probe, crampons and ice axe, GPS
  • La Renclusa Hut:
    • Half board price for federated: 35 euros/day
    • Link for reservations
    • Good facilities, rooms with individual bunk beds, hot showers without paying extra, the guards are always very attentive and knowledgeable about the area, excellent food and a fantastic mountain atmosphere.

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