Centenary of the Renclusa Refuge in Benasque

Antonio Lafón (1955) Keeper of the Renclusa refuge since 1970, he is the most veteran of all Spain, he tells us about his enormous experiences and experiences.

Antonio, how did you become the shelter guard?

To my uncle Antonio Garíe. He was the guard and I was going up with the animals, when he went down to Benasque to start a hotel business and I already stayed up in the shelter.

But before him, there were other guards... and another shelter, right?

Yes yes, the first guard was José Sayó, after him and before my uncle were Antonio and José Abadías, father and son.

And on top of the refuge, already in 1878, next to the present one and to the protection of a natural shelter, a first refuge was built, as a stage of protection and rest of Pyrenees in their ascents to the Maladeta and the Aneto. In 1914, Julio Soler Santaló designed and began the construction of the refuge that we see today, which was inaugurated in 1916.

In so much time so many anecdotes and serious events have happened that it is impossible here to make a review, but tell us some more outstanding.

Well, a lot of very good ones in general. Perhaps the one that surprises people most is the issue of rescues, which was an odyssey.

When we heard about an accident, he would go out to look for it and find it, which sometimes was not easy. Then we had to go down again to the refuge and from there to Benasque walking for about 4 hours. Then we had to look for the commander of the civil guard, since the telephone of the barracks was sealed and only he had the key. Boltaña was called, where the Rescue Groups were located since 70-71. We waited until they reached Benasque and went up to the Baths (although we civilians could not go in Guardia Civil vehicles), where the road ended, and from there walking to the injured... it was always many hours, sometimes too many unfortunately. We would bring them down with the stretchers and since there was no doctor, they were pricked nolotil or put the man or whatever he touched.... in short, what could be done. That was the system until the Vielha Firefighters put a radio in the shelter and - not without difficulty - we were able to start using it. Over time everything has improved and fortunately we now have one of the best and fastest Rescue Groups in Europe.