How to get there:
The nearest village is Benasque, it can be
reached rather easily from Barcelona in Spain
or from Toulouse in France. Route description:
This climb is practical to do in two days. The elevation gain is large,
and you have to start early, which can be inconvenient unless you stay at
the Refugio La Renclusa. The route is mostly non-technical, but requires
crampons and ice-axe.
Day one: Drive past Benasque, and follow the road (which forks after a while,
take the right fork past the hotel (Hospital de Benasque) until you reach
the campground at 2010m. Hike up to Renclusa (2140m), which should take less
than an hour. Spend the night here.
Day two: Breakfast is served around 6 am, and it's not a bad idea to start
early. Scramble up the poorly defined, steep and rocky path up the mountainside
towards Portillión Inferior, a cut in the ridge which leads from Pico de
Renclusa (the prominent peak above the refugio) to Pico de Maladeta far above.
Here you have two choices: you can go down into the rocky basin in the direction
of Aneto (like we accidentally did, it is not recommended) or follow the ridge
upwards, until you reach another
cut in the ridge, called Portillión Superior. From here, hike across
the boulderfield until you reach the glacier (these boulders are large and can
be quite tiring to pass, hence it is much preferable to to go down through
Superior than Inferior). When you reach the glacier, put on crampons and head
towards Aneto, the furthermost peak along the glacier. The glacier was
not crevassed when we were there, but that may and will change... be alert!
Then the hard part begins. Climb up the steep glacier on Aneto itself
(crampons and ice-axe are important here), and follow the ridge. Soon
you can see the large cross at the summit ahead.
There is still one obstacle to go, though. The ridge narrows, and has a few
cuts in it. The ridgetop is quite exposed, and you might wish to rope up, but
it's not difficult climbing. You might be able to circumvent
the ridge top, first
on the left, and then on the right, if snow conditions permit it, but this is
trickier, if less exposed. The best and easiest is just to stay at the very
top of the ridge these few meters.
After climbing the last pitch on the ridge, a 10 foot wall with plenty of
handholds and footholds, you are at the summit. It's a large, rocky area, with
plenty of room. Several monuments, including a large cross, stand on the summit,
where one may relax for a while, if the weather is good. Comments:
The climb is rather long, and has a vertical of about 1500 meters
from Renclusa to the summit (including the climb up to Portillón
Superior on the return). There is no good trail to follow (except across the
glacier, unless it has been snowing), mostly it's climbing up, around and over
the large boulders that tend to block your route. You may need an ice axe and
crampons to get up the steep Corona glacier.
Aneto is, however, a fine summit, which really gives
you a feeling of being at the top of the world. If the weather is good,
it's a wonderful climb.