30 Dec 09 – 1500 Local
Location: Refugio la Renclusa
Yesterday, we woke up early in the construction site we had slept in. It was a great bivy, dry, warmish and just outside of Benasque. The weather was not great, so we decided to try to climb a low peak near the village. This turned into an adventure unto itself. From the ground, it looked like it would be an easy gully climb. Once we were on it, however, it would have been pretty difficult, so we stuck to the edges, out of the gully. This resulted in a few hours of hard bushwhacking before we decided to turn around and head back to town. When we made it back to town, it was time to eat lunch, so we grabbed a bite. We had planned on fuelling up and then heading towards Aneto. However, the gas station was taking a siesta that would last until 3PM. So, we kicked around, window shopping at Barrabe’s, eating, looking for wifi, etc. Finally, we got some gas and started on our way to Aneto.
After a bit of walking, a skier picked us up and gave us a ride all the way to the road that would take us to the trailhead. He was skiing near the spot he picked us up at, but took us the whole way because he was worried about us getting arrested for hitch hiking. After he dropped us off, we were quickly picked up by the Hospital Benasque bartender. The Hospital Benasque is not actually a hospital; it is a fancy hotel that is also the trailhead for Aneto. We started moving along the trail towards Aneto, but it started to rain and was getting dark, so we bivied for the night. We had some dinner and went to sleep.
We woke up the next morning in a downpour. We had to hole up in our bivy bags for several hours. As the water creeped deeper and deeper into my sleeping bag, I curled more and more into a ball in the bottom of my bag. Eventually, it stopped raining so hard and we could start moving. As soon as we started moving the weather got better and we had beautiful views the whole way. The last part of the walk to the refugio was relatively steep and was hard with our packs on. We made it, though, and were impressed by the views from the refuge, both up and down the valley. The innkeeper was pretty grouchy, but it didn’t really bother us, as we had a place to dry our gear and prepare for our attempt on Aneto tomorrow.