ROUTE 09: RESPOMUSO REFUGE – LARRIBET REFUGE
Respomuso refuge - Passing of Lavedán - Larribet refuge
- Time4h 0'
- Vertical rise625 m
- Vertical descent705 m
- Horizontal distance10,3 Km
- Type of journeyMountain Crossing
- Severity of the natural environment4
- Difficulty in movement5
- Amount of effort required3
From Respomuso refuge (2200 m), take the GR 11 long distance footpath westwards, bordering round the lake of the same name and descending a zigzagging path towards Virgen de las Nieves hermitage, near the dam. Shortly before we arrive at the hermitage a sign indicates another path to the right where we leave GR 11 (crossing with route 01) and bear right towards the Arriel lakes and Palas peak. The path traverses some fairly level terrain around the south side of Frondellas and, after passing a couple of small Ibones (lakes) leads us to Arriel Baxo (2168 m). Leaving the lake to our left, the path crosses a small plain (crossing with route 08) in a northerly direction and takes us to Arriel Alto lake (2245 m).
From this point the route covers more barren, harder-going terrain. We border round the western side of the lake following the markings and partial footpaths. Once at the head of the lake the climb becomes steeper and we now head northwards towards the imposing south face of Palas peak overlooking the cirque. Unfortunately we have to ascend a boulder field to the Lavedán pass, a breach located to the right (east) of Palas (remember it is important to keep this gap as a reference point on the final part of the climb). At around 2530 m there are some painted markings (crossings with routes 13, 28 and 29) but there is no path and the boulders block out any reference points. The many barely discernible multitude of cairns and markings mean we have to pay great attention to diagonally cross towards the final stretch to the pass, reaching the base of the crest under the breach in the mountain. A short vertical section challenges us with a fairly simple climb to overcome the gorge passing of Lavedán (2614 m).
On the French side of the mountain the terrain is still characteristically rough of the mountain, but does enable us to continue more easily. Nevertheless there are snowdrifts until well into the summer months, meaning we should take care here. The painted markings are easier to follow here and the path is more continuous leading us down the rock fields to the grassland below and the Micoulaou lakes (crossing with route 35). Now at a lower altitude the terrain is easier going and the path heads towards the first of the Batcrabère lakes and borders round its right side. We continue on our gentle descent, leaving the second of the lakes below us to the left (crossing with route 12). Shortly before the final slope towards the refuge the terrain levels off and there is a fork. We can take either of the two paths to reach the refuge, which are only separated by a few metres, and the way down steepens somewhat before reaching Larribet refuge (2072 m).