Pyrénées - Pirineos / España - France
Balaitous-Gran Facha-Vignemale

 

ROUTE 27: RESPOMUSO REFUGE – BALAITÚS SUMMIT

Respomuso refuge - Latour gap - Balaitús summit

  • Brecha Latour

Info

  • Time5h 45'
  • Vertical rise985 m
  • Vertical descent985 m
  • Horizontal distance7,1 Km
  • Type of journeyReturn
  • Severity of the natural environment4
  • Orientation3
  • Difficulty in movement5
  • Amount of effort required3
Valuation method used MIDE
Download guide MIDE in  Spanish  |  French    More information:   www.montanasegura.com

Description

Standing at 3146 m of dizzying landscape, Balaitús is one of the great mountains in the Pyrenees. Because of its size and features it is a technically demanding summit and is not suitable for all people. Before tackling this mountain we should check the capabilities of each member of the group. Caution and prudence are necessary to conquer this mountain, more than on other occasions.

From Respomuso refuge (2200 m) a good path heads towards the north up the right bank of Respomuso ravine. After a short steep slope, around 2300 m altitude, the valley opens up a little and to the left there is a path that leads towards Las Frondellas (crossing with route 33). Continue along the path to the right heading northwards all the time, whilst climbing towards Buelta Barrada cirque. To the left is the wall of the ridge that descends from Aguja Cadier towards the south, and to the right, quite a way beneath the route, Ibón d'Esclusera can be seen. The terrain alternates between grassland and granite slabs, and the path, although somewhat twisting, is easy to follow. As we gain height glacial moraine appear and the going gets tougher and more rocky. This leads us to the south end of the moraine of the agonising Balaitús glacier. Pay attention at this point since there are often snowdrifts lasting until well into the summer. There is also usually snow or ice in the next stretch leading to the Latour gap. The incline requires the use of crampons and ice axes. The terrain here also justifies the use of ropes on this part of the route. Take care.

We need to scramble over the moraine and tackle the ascent towards the Latour corridor. First we have to progress halfway up the slope to the entrance to the corridor and then go up it, climbing over a couple of jutting rocks if they are not covered in snow (levels III+ / IV). If there is snow over the rocks, there will be a steep ramp.

After this delicate first part the corridor becomes easier and we continue along it beneath a gap where we leave the corridor and climb up the wall to the right. There are some old pitons in the rock to help climb the last part of the face which is more vertical (III) and reach the south ridge of the peak. There is a short scramble over a rocky ridge which descends a few metres down the other side (west) and then rises again diagonally up a craggy, exposed side where there may be snow. Finally we overcome the last ledge and reach a wide summit ridge. Following the ridge northwards we soon arrive at the summit of Balaitús (3146 m).

The return route retraces our steps. We have to be careful on the way down since there are five points where we have to abseil down to leave the corridor. There are anchor points for abseiling. Helmets, harnesses, slings, ropes, descenders, karabiners and winter climbing equipment (crampons and ice axes) are indispensable if there is snow and ice. Please ask for information at the refuge and be prudent.

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