Looking for the Lost Mountain
Life ends at 2,700 metres, or so it seems. Gone are the beech, pine and fir and almost all green vegetation. It is when you overcome this barrier when you can admire the Ordesa National Park and Monte Perdido (Lost Mountain) in all their grandeur in the Pyrenees of Huesca. But the way here starts much earlier, and much lower.
The route begins at the meadow. From here there is three-hour walk through the valley, climbing approximately 500 meters. An easy path for anyone with comfortable shoes and a light backpack. Thick forests line the river, the remains of the quaternary glacier gave this so characteristic 'U' form left by the action of ice on the rocks.
At the end of the path, after passing the falls known as the Gradas de Soaso is the Circo de Soaso and finally, a spectacular waterfall over the rocks, called the 'Horsetail'. To the right and left, high up, hunters’ paths, steeper and more difficult, but a surmountable walk for the more intrepid hikers.
The path can end here or go on. If you feel up to seeing the landscape from above, to the right is the Sendero de los Mulos trail, which climbs out of the valley and reaches Góriz, a mountain refuge where the dry land gives the idea that the world is different above there. So different that you should make haste always to arrive before the sun starts to fall because night-time here is very dangerous if you do not know the terrain. There is another, faster and harder, alternative, the Senda de las Clavijas, with dowels embedded in the rock.
From Góriz, the next morning one can plan to attack any of the mountains surrounding the area. The king is the Monte Perdido, at 3,355 meters of altitude and two main routes: one on foot to the south, and another to the north with a glacier whose protected face has to be climbed.
There are other alternatives. This is the case of the Monte Cilindro, named for the shape of its summit, which rises to 3,328 meters above sea level, or, on the opposite side, the Soum de Ramond at 3,263 metres. Together with the Monte Perdido, these are the Tres Sorores crowning the National Park.
The biggest challenge, however, is the Monte Perdido, the highest peak in the area. To face it, the path from the shelter goes through a quarry and, finally around the frozen lake, so called due to its state most of the year. The last rise to the summit should always be done before lunchtime, before the clouds fall and hinder the way back.
Although it may not seem so, virtually anyone can top a mountain of 3,000 meters.
In collaboration with the Photo Library CENEAM. Jose Luis Perea, José Manuel Reyero, J.Eduardo Viñuales
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