Climbing Aneto - A Practical Guide (2023)

At 3,404 m (11,168 ft), Aneto is the highest mountain in the Pyrenees, Pico Posets at 3,371 m and Monte Perdido at 3,355 m are the second and third highest. Aneto is just over 6 km south of the Franco-Spanish border and is in the Posets – Maladeta Natural Park, in the province of Aragon and the Benasque Valley.

The first ascent was on July 20, 1842 on a somewhat tortuous route, as the group got lost on the way and also wanted to avoid the glacier on the north side. 4 days later, the second ascent of Aneto was made through the Aneto Glacier, which, while not without risks, was a much more natural route and is now known as "via normal" - "normal route". More than 150 years after its first ascent, the Aneto Glacier is still the largest glacier in the Pyrenees, but it is decreasing in size every year and, unfortunately, forecasts say it will be completely gone by 2050.

The Aneto Glacier with Aneto in the distance

Benasque - Starting point for hikes

Also known as the Chamonix of the Pyrenees, the village of Benasque is in the heart of the Posets – Maladeta Natural Park and is an ideal base. It is 1138 m above sea level and is the last village before the start of the hiking trails to Aneto. There are also plenty of other day hike options from here if you want to acclimatize a bit or stay longer than necessary to climb Mt Aneto.Hotel CiriaIt is a good hotel for hikers but there are many other accommodation options in the village. There are several excellent outdoor shops within the village. There are also many great restaurants, cafes and a few supermarkets, some of which are open on Sunday mornings.

get there

The easiest way to get to Benasque is to rent a car, but if you are using public transport the next best option is the bus (no buses on Sundays).

From Barcelona – Change at Barbastro. There are about 6 buses from Barcelona to Barbastro and 1 or 2 buses per day from Barbastro to Benasque.

From Zaragoza - Flight to Huesca. Buses from Zaragoza to Huesca run regularly, but again there are only 1 or 2 from Huesca to Barbastro.

From Madrid – Take the train to Zaragoza (normal) and then take the bus route suggested above.

All the buses you need are operated by Alosa.

Bus service –
Train traffic –

High up on the slopes of Aneto, crampons and axes are at work

(Video) Aneto Climb Guide Ascension (Paso de Mahoma Tutorial)

experience required

Navigation and route finding - You are on high mountain paths which are not always obvious, the Refugio Renclusa path is particularly vague for a few hours.

Staples and Ice Ax – You will eventually snow hike, it really depends on when you go, but snow gear is essential; Even in the height of summer, snow is likely to freeze overnight and be rock hard in the morning. You must have basic experience using crampons and an ax to hold them securely.

Glacier Ride – To reach the top of Mount Aneto, cross the Aneto Glacier. The glacier is relatively easy to traverse and a rope is unlikely to be needed. However, you must assess the situation you are in and understand that it is not without risk.

Rock climbing - the last meters to the summit you cross the famous 'Paso de Mahoma'. Before long you'll want to be comfortable on Grade 2 (British Rock Climbing) ground without a rope, and a head for heights would be advisable.

The famous climbing rock 'El Paso de Mahomo' just a few meters from the summit of Aneto

When to go

While it is possible to reach the summit of Aneto at any time of the year, mid-June to late August is by far the best time to reach this summit. Before mid June and there is a lot of snow making parts of the route awkward, more dangerous and an extremely long drive. By the end of August much of the previous winter's snow will have melted, meaning many loose rocks are exposed and awkward to traverse, making the trip arduous and memorable for all the wrong reasons!

Die Route – Via Normal

As previously mentioned, the "Via Normal" route is the most popular and is the route detailed below. Although possibly possible in 1 day (by the fit itself) it is usually done in 2 with a night at Refugio Renclusa before reaching the summit of Aneto and descending and leaving the valley the next day.

Benasque for the Renclusa Refuge

Every summer (29 June to 11 September 2018) there is a bus service from Benasque via Hospital Vado to Besurta (as close as possible to Refugio Renclusa by road). Outside of these dates you can go to Besurta, but remember the best season to climb Aneto.

Most people drive from Benasque to Hospital Vado (20 minutes), park at Hospital Vado (due to road closures after this point in the summer) and take the bus to Besurta.

Hospital do Vado – Besurta – 5:00am, 5:30am and every 35 minutes between 8:00am and 8:30pm

Besurta – Hospital do Vado – 5:15am, 6:00am and every 35 minutes between 8:00am and 9:00pm

(Video) To the peak & back: Aneto

If you don't have your own transport, there is a bus service from Benasque via Hospital Vado to Besurta.

Benasque to Besurta - 4:30am, 7:30am, 9:00am, 11:00am, 2:30pm and 6:00pm

Besurta to Benasque - 6:00am, 10:00am, 1:30pm, 5:00pm, 7:00pm and 9:00pm

If you don't have your own transport, below are some taxi numbers in Benasque that will take you to Benasque and also to Vado Hospital if you prefer that to the bus.

Taxi Benasque Cerler – 655 65 06 77
Taxi Benasque MG – 699 01 75 29
Taxi Benasque Cerler – 974 55 35 45

Once in Besurta, the path to Refugio Renclusa follows the GR11.5 and is signposted. It takes about 50 minutes to walk to the cottage.

Besurta and the bus
Simply signposted path to the Refugio Renclusa de Besurta

If you want to make your walk to Refugio Renclusa longer, there are many options. Tuca de Salvaguardia 2738m on the Franco-Spanish border is a very nice peak with spectacular views or the 5km hike from Hospital Vado along the GR11.5 to Besurta is also easy and beautiful.

Renclusa Refuge – 2140 m

Although Renclusa has 92 beds it is a popular refugio and booking as early as possible is recommended, especially in August and at weekends. The easiest way is to book online.HereHowever, if the refuge is almost full on the booked nights, booking is only possible by telephone.

Tel: 974 344 646

You can buy a basic 3 course meal and the beds are in dorms but very comfortable with single beds. Blankets and pillows are provided, but you must pack a sleeping bag with a lining, as is common in mountain huts.

Dinner is at 7pm (they can do a double session if they are busy).
Breakfast is at 5am

The price structure can be found online, but for non-association members the prices apply (as of 2018);

Overnight stay – 17 euros
Dinner – 16.20 euros
Breakfast – 6.30 euros

(You have to pay your bill at night and not at 5am)

(Video) Climbing Aneto - The highest peak in the Pyrenees (3404m).

Hütte Renclusa 2140m
This is where the dining room, dinner and breakfast are served.
Accommodation options at Refugio Renclusa

Refugio Renclusa to Aneto and back

The following description is not detailed as it is only an aid and the ability to read and interpret a map is essential.

Distance - 13 km
Ascent/descent – ​​1390m
Time – 10 – 12 hours

Aneto is not visible from Renclusa and the path that leads from Renclusa to Aneto is not obvious either. It is highly recommended to walk at least 30 minutes of the route from Renclusa day/night before daylight as you will be leaving in the dark the next morning when things are even less obvious. In the morning most people leave as soon as possible after breakfast - around 5:30am. The most fearful also left before breakfast to avoid being held up on some of the more technical sections of the route - around 4:30am.

In the early morning - about 40 minutes uphill - it is not easy to find the clear path in the dark
Early morning, about 1.5 hours after climbing from Renclusa
One of the many cairns that mark the trail

The path climbs over rocky terrain and is marked by some red painted dots and many small cairns on the way to Portillon Superior (2.5 km and approximately 2 hours from Renclusa). The PortillonSuperior is not visible from the refuge, nor is it very noticeable when approached; is a small notch in the rocky Crencha de los Portillones at 2898m. Depending on the time of year (around mid-July), crampons and an ax may be required to get to this point. There is a short descent from Portillon and from here the route is much more obvious, as is Aneto itself.

The route on the Editorial Alpina map (copy of the picture on the right from Editorial Alpina).

The next 4 km traverse rocky terrain and the Aneto Glacier before the route climbs more steeply to the north flank of Aneto itself. After only about 30 meters and very little incline you will reach the famous 'Paso de Mahomo'. The Aneto summit cross is also visible from here.

The last 30m – 'Mohammed's Step'
A local guide taking his 3 clients along the Paso de Mahoma
Aneto peak and cross

Paso de Mahomo takes its name from a Muslim legend that describes the entrance to paradise as narrow as the blade of a scimitar through which only the righteous can pass. It's a short rocky ridge climb on solid granite with good hand and foot holds. When people are busy, they can wait a long time for their turn in this section, which is why some groups start before breakfast. It's not easy to overtake people on the summit, so make sure there aren't people coming your way when you start the traverse. With a clean run, it only takes about 5 minutes for the last 30 meters and you're at the summit!

Phil and Hannah - Hike with the Pyrenees guides to the top of Aneto

To descend, you must first reverse the Paso de Mahoma. After this you can return back to Renclusa along the same route and continue down to Besurta or you can retrace your route 1km from the summit to the Collado de Corones and then take a path north that descends via the Aneto Glacier to Ibon del Salterillo and beyond by Farau d'Aiguallut and Besurta. This second descent option is highly recommended because it makes the route circular and, in addition to crossing some beautiful meadows, you spend more time in the snow, which is more pleasant.

(Video) Hiking Mt. Aneto - the Highest Mountain in the Pyrenees


Along with your normal hiking gear for a day's hiking, below is a short list of "extras" you may need.

Map – Benasque Valley, Excursion Map 1:30,000, published by Alpine Publishing House. You can buy this card atEditorial office AlpinaOr fromAmazon UK.

Sleeping bag liner - mountain huts provide bedding but expect to have an inner liner - silk is best as it is lighter than cotton.

Headlamp - You will need this in the refuge as the lights turn off automatically around 10pm. You will also need it first thing in the morning when hiking before sunrise.

Warm jacket – even in midsummer it can get chilly before sunrise and a down or synthetic jacket is also a good idea on the summit.

Gloves - in addition to a warm hat, gloves are needed even if it is not very cold, as it is advisable to wear gloves when walking with an ax. When it's cold, thicker gloves are essential.

Ax and Cleats - A hiking ax is just as important as crampons and boots that are stiff enough to withstand a cleat. Even in midsummer, the snow can be very hard in the morning, later the ascent is quite steep and a slip can have unpleasant consequences.

usefull links a good Spanish predictions site - look for Benasque in the drop down menu. The forecast for Aneto himself can be found here. Benasque has a ski resort called Cerler, look for Cerler in the drop down menu. Information on all refuges in Aragon. Renclusa stands under "L" for "La Renclusa". Blende Renclusas Webcam aus. Timetables for the bus from Benasque to Besurta and the shuttle bus from Hospital Vado to Besurta.– Beasque Tourist Information


Is Aneto hard to climb? ›

Although it isn't an excessively difficult climb, it is a “three thousander” and there is a glacier to cross and other minor difficulties which people tend to forget and in fact many climb the mountain who are not really well prepared to do so.

How long does it take to climb Aneto? ›

Although potentially possible in 1 day (by the very fit), it is normally done in 2 with a night spent in Refugio Renclusa before summiting Aneto and walking all the way down and out of the valley the following day.

How high is pic de aneto? ›

Aneto (pic d'Aneto in French, formerly pic de Néthou) is the highest mountain in the Pyrenees and in Aragon, and Spain's third-highest mountain, reaching a height of 3,404 metres (11,168 feet).

Where is Mount Aneto? ›

In the heart of the Maladetas National Park rises Aneto, 3404 m high. In France, this mountain is also known as Nethou. Located in the region of Aragón, it is one of the most famous peaks in the Pyrenees, together with Monte Perdido.

What is the most technically difficult mountain to climb? ›

At 28,251 feet, K2, which straddles the Pakistan-China border, is about two and a half football fields shorter than Everest, but it's widely considered the planet's toughest and most dangerous mountain to climb, earning the nickname “Savage Mountain.” Unlike Everest, it is not possible to “walk” to the top; all sides ...

What is the hardest climb in America? ›

The 14 Hardest Climbs In America
  • #5 Le Rêve (5.14d/5.15a; Arrow Canyon, Nevada)
  • #4 Flex Luthor (5.15a; Fortress of Solitude, Colorado) ...
  • #3 Jaws II (5.15a; Rumney, New Hampshire)
  • #2 Southern Smoke Direct (5.15a; Red River Gorge, Kentucky) ...
  • #1 Jumbo Love (5.15b; Clark Mountain, California)
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