Refuge du Portillon to Plateau of Aiguallut.
This morning was very windy. And then foggy and windy.
It was about 1.5 hour climb up to Col Inferieur de Literole (2983 meters) the highest pass on the HRP.
It was very foggy at top. The book doesn’t give much hint of which might be the best way down. The fog parted a few times so we could get a glimpse of our options. We down climbed some boulders to our right which got us to a steep snow field. It didn’t look too bad. Before we put on our microspikes a very fit guy passed us and jumped onto the snow. He immediately stopped and got out his ice axe and quickly stepped downhill. He slid a couple times but stayed upright. Once we got out there it was WAY more sketchy than it looked. The snow was soft but not soft enough. Jim went slowly. I went even slower. It felt like forever and I was really relieved when I got to the island of rocks.
Just like yesterday we had constantly changing views. The fog would part, then roll back in. Sometimes I could get my phone out in time to take a photo. Sometimes not. It was incredible and never the same for more than a few minutes.
Finally we got to the road and the huge hotel/restaurant complex of Hospital de Benasque. This hospital is not what we think of in America. We stopped but didn’t get anything. We walked another hour to the “place where the road ends.” It is at the end of the road and the start of the trail up the tallest peak in the Pyrenees, Pico d’Aneto. This is a very popular hike and There is a small sandwich and snack cafe. We sat in the lounge chairs and ate a bag of potato chips, can of olives and chorizo sandwiches. Then we ordered a couple more sandwiches for tomorrow. One for breakfast and one for lunch. A group of Spaniards noticed our ZPACKS packs. They had heard of the brand but had never actually seen any of the gear. We were happy to talk it up because I love their stuff.
Our original plan was to end the day at Refugio de la Renclusa. But it’s a 40 minute side trip each way. It’s Saturday night so it will be crowded. The weather is good and I want to sleep in my tent again.