Enclave:

Car Park-El Felqueral-El Cantal-Balcn de Pineta

  • Distance :1,200 m
  • Starting Point :Pineta car park.
  • Total climb/descent :
  • Route type :Linear
  • Time :4 hours (route out only)
  • Difficulty :Demanding. Summer

Mapa

Description

This arduous and demanding yet spectacular and iconic route takes you as far as the Balcn de Pineta and Marbor Lake. Along the way, you will make your way into the heart of the National Park, where the greatest of its treasures lies, the Monte Perdido glacier.

This route is regarded by lovers of the Pyrenees as one of the most beautiful anywhere in the entire chain of mountains, though you must be fit to undertake it given the significant climb it involves.

The first part of the itinerary follows the route to Cinca Waterfall (see route 3.15), but does not go as far as the waterfall itself. Shortly before the spring with drinking trough on El Fequeral (1 hour from Pineta car park), you come to a fork to the right, which you must take to climb up to the Balcn de Pineta. From this point, the path grows steeper, though the continuous zigzags make the ascent somewhat easier.

You quickly gain height, revealing panoramic views out over Pineta Valley. After three hours, you come to the start of El Embudo, the final stretch of the climb. Even though the slope becomes even steeper, it is worth making the effort to get to the Balcn de Pineta.

Eventually you arrive at the top cornice of the huge glacial cirque (2,520 m; 4 hours), where suddenly the immense north face of Monte Perdido will appear before you. The last glaciers on the massif still persist here. These masses of permanent ice are all that is left of the glaciers seen by the Pyrenean climber and explorer Ramond de Carbonnires in the late 19th century when he was looking for a route up to the top of Monte Perdido.

Before heading back, it is worth carrying on for a further 20 minutes to visit Marbor Lake (2,590 m) and the rock outcrops in the Brecha de Tucarroya gap, with its small mountain refuge.

To reach the lake, you must traverse a vast accumulation of blocks of stone and smaller fragments of rock, deposited here by glaciers and so forming moraines.

To return, retrace your steps back along the same path.

Recommendations

In summer, avoid the hottest hours of the day to climb. This route is extremely dangerous if there are snowfields or sheets of ice.