David von Oheimb's Photo Gallery: Monte Perdido, Pyrenees, Spain, 22 Oct 2011

Monte Perdido (known also by its French name: Mont Perdu) accounts for a minor personal record of mine: the highest summit (at 3355 m) I climbed wearing trekking sandals ;-) From this you can safely conclude that this mountain, despite its elevation, is technically pretty easy to climb. There are just two very short — and not really exposed — sections where you need to use your hands. The return trip from Refugio de Góriz, which is at 2160 m, usually takes about 6 hours. Due to its prominence, being the third highest peak of the Pyrenees, the views from the top are pretty good, as long as not obstructed by clouds.

Arriving from Gavarnie via Brèche de Roland at Refugio de Góriz at 1 PM, I still had more than enough time to climb Monte Perdido on the same day. So I first had a mountaineer's meal (which was bigger and much more fat than I expected) before starting the ascent at 14:00. Since the normal route is from the West, doing the mountain in the afternoon provides sunshine on the trail for almost all the way up and down, and maybe even better light conditions than in the morning for viewing the neighboring mountain ranges.

My idea was to spend an hour at the top for best photo light towards the evening, but already just before I reached the summit at 16:45, clouds started moving in and out, which made me regret having slept in that morning and also having lost time with the big lunch. Yet in the end I was quite happy with the timing because the upcoming cloudy weather provided dramatic lighting (further reinforced by the rather poor dynamic range of digital cameras). Leaving the summit at 17:05, I got back to the hut at 18:50, just before sunset.
On my way down, at around 17:30 I encountered a team of young Spanish climbers who were pretty late going up. I really wonder why they went that late, given also that the summit became more and more hidden in clouds. There was quite a number of poor folks who stayed at the hut for summiting on the next morning although on that day bad weather was moving in. They should have taken this into account as the weather forecast was pretty clear - and proved correct - about this.
BTW, here are two excellent international online weather forecast sites: meteoblue and yr.no.

Not expecting problems that late in the season, I had tried to book online for a night at Refugio de Góriz just a few days ahead, and to my bad surprise they were fully booked for Saturday. Still I took the risk to go there on the assumption that some reservations for the in total 72 berths would be cancelled, and I was glad to hear on arrival in the evening that indeed this was the case. The staff was very friendly and helpful, but in such a situation they appear to be quite strict. So to be on the safe side when you are unable to reserve, it may be advisable to bring some camping gear, though this would make it impossible to go as light as I did, carrying just a Mountainsmith 'Tour' waist pack.


A GPS recording of our hiking route is available for download as GPX file or KML file for Google Earth.
It can be directly viewed on Google Terrain Maps (including waypoints), on Trailguru (including statistics), and on GPSies (including both).

Refugio de Góriz

ascent towards the rim

final ascent

on the summit


Refugio de Góriz

URL: http://David.von-Oheimb.de/gallery/Pyrenees/Perdido.html, Last modified: Tue Jan 1 13:49:37 CET 2013