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Maladeta y Aneto

Plan de l'Ospital - Portillon de Benás - Plan d'Esán  - Plan de l'Ospital





Map for the route (ED50)


GPS waypoints for download (WGS84, gpx)

How to get there: Drive on the A-139 from southwest to northeast through the town of Benasque. 10 km from Benasque a narrow asphalt road with a sign for "Llanos del Hospital" branches off to the right. Turn on this road and drive less than 2 km to an information post where the road is closed by a bar. On your left you find a large parking place. (Roadmap)

Distance: 4h30min/13km

Walk to the other side of the bar where you find an information panel on a route called "Sendero geomorfológico de Aiguallut" by the bridge on the left hand side of the road (1725 m). From the panel starts a path with green waymarks. You walk through a plain crossing a number of wooden bridges over brooks. The Hospital de Bensaque stays on your right (13min) (1735 m).

You can see a waterfall on your left. After crossing one more bridge the path starts to ascend somewhat steeper and follows the brook to signpost where it forks (22min) (1775 m). Go left for "Portillon de Benás". From here starts a heavy climb along the slopes of La Costera.

The views to the mountains encircling the valley are great. First you can admire the lower hillocks - Tuca Blanca de Paderna and Pico de Paderna - of the Macizo de la Maladeta. Higher up the views encompass the entire Maladeta with its peaks and glaciers. Looking west you can see the Aigüespases, Pico de Puerto Viello and Pico de Remuñe between them.

When the path forks, the green waymarks guide you to the left (46min) (1945 m). At the next fork follow a pile of stones to the right (52min) (1970 m). Once you have reached the crest of Costera (1h24min) (2175 m), you discern the Cottage of Renclusa (Refugio de la Renclusa) in the gorge of Renclusa and the Plain of Besurta. The ascent becomes gentler and path carries you through a meadow to a small lagoon (1h48min) (2355 m), usually dry in the late summer.

When you meet another path (1h52min) (2370 m), turn left following the green waymark. From this point you enjoy a lovely view to the eastern and southern mountains. A little bit further up you see the plain below. At the next crossroads (1h58min) (2400 m) keep straight ahead. Later you will return to this point and take the path marked with a yellow circle and the number 23 downhill to the east.

In a couple of minutes (2h01min) (2425 m) you turn right. Also this path has the number 23. From the Portillón de Benás (2h02min) (2440 m) you see a large blue lagoon in France. A beautiful path zigzags down to the lagoon. Through this pass people cross the border without formalities. If you want to visit the lagoon the descent takes some 30 minutes.

If you want to climb to the top of Salbaguardia, return to the junction (2h03min) and turn right. A steep and vertiginous path ascends to the peak  (2738 m) that opens up nice views to the lagoons on the French side of the border and to the Macizo de Maladeta and Plain of Besurta on the Spanish side of the border. It takes less than an hour to reach the top. 

If you do not want to climb to the Salbaguard return to the crossroads (2h06min) (2400 m) and turn left on the path marked with a yellow circle and the number 23. Almost immediately fork off left. When you meet another path (2h11min) (2355 m) follow the yellow circle to the left. You pass a cleft on your right which is the home of numerous marmots. After you have passed another cleft, the path starts to ascend gently between bolders over some hillocks. When you see two tiny lagoons on your right below, branch off right (2h33min) (2350 m) and descend along the narrow and stony path to another path (2h36min) (2340 m). Turn right. The wide path goes by the lagoons on your right. In front of you rises the  Macizo de la Maladeta. Ahead you can discern the cottage of Renclusa. From this angle the slope of Salbaguardia looks very steep.

Snaking its way downhill towards the Plain of Besurta the path reveals the Lagoons of Billamuerta and the Valley of Escaleta in the southeast and a mountain view in the west. Further down you start to go southwestwards. The Plain of Besurta spreads out on your left. When the path forks  (3h25min) (1950 m) keep right following a red pole. Do not descend to the narrow asphalt road that runs through the plain, but stay on the path.

Soon the road disappears and you see two lagoons (Ibones de Plan d'Están) in front of you. Later you will pass them (3h36min) (1855 m). After the information panel on the "Sendero geomorfológico de Aiguallut" the route has green waymarks again. Ths beautiful and gentle path enters a forest of pine and spruce. You come to a precipice (4h08min) (1815 m) from which you can see the familiar plain. Descend along the path to the already familiar path and turn left (4h11min) (1775 m). Return to the parking place (4h30min).

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