200 and 175 years of the conquests of La Maladeta (1817) and Aneto (1842)

For centuries, the queen peak of the Pyrenean mountain range was the Maladeta peak (3,308), hence its name was imposed to nominate the whole massif where, by the way, the highest, wildest and most beautiful peaks of the whole Pyrenees are found.

The Maladeta therefore reigned as an icon of altitude, which can only be overcome when, by means of precision scientific devices, it could be demonstrated that the highest summit of the mountain range was not the Maladeta, but the Aneto (3).404 meters) passed this one to become the new king who dethroned another, to the extent that today its surroundings is known as the Kingdom of Aneto, but the massif to which belongs the King of the Cordillera is the Maladeta.

Montes Malditos or Maladeta, one of the names too terrifying for mountains that are not, and, once overcome the impact of its heights, gorges, ravines and breccias, become per se a natural spectacle of permanent and majestic beauty, and therefore a challenge for those who want to overcome the difficulties of its access roads, overcome the mountains, dominate their immense moles, to reach the mountains, to reach their natural beauty.

Geographically the Maladeta is the axial area of the Pyrenees - that is, in the central axis, in the Benasque Valley - granite mole trees that lead us to the upper elevations of the chain and where we find the most important glaciers of the Pyrenees (Aneto-Maladeta) and the only ones in Spain. Remains of a glaciation that occupied the ancient Esera glacier until it reached 36 km long from its upper end - Circo de Mulleres- to its ablation area - at the entrance to the Ventamillo Firth-.

This massif will unite, especially from the early nineteenth century, the interest of all kinds of people, who will be the pioneers of Pyrenees, the first to arrive were scientists: geologists, botanists, geographers, was followed by adventurous aristocrats; all of them mostly French, in fact, one of the first descriptions of the Maladeta will be the one made by Luis Ramond de Carbonières who wrote in 1787; The situation, the size, the height and the ice of this mountain impressed me so much that I thought I could see why it had an inaccessible fame.

In 1807 another botanist such as Carbonières, the Swiss Pyramus de Candolle will attempt to crown the Maladeta peak without succeeding, ten years later the doctor and also botanist Johann Jacob Friedrich Wilhelm von Parrot, will be the one who, at 25 years of age, will set foot for the first time on what was considered the highest peak of the Maladeta.

This interesting paragraph stands out from the extensive and appealing account of the diary of the ascent to the peak:

After arriving at the place they call "Two Men" for their two huge rocky teeth, place that had been the end of all previous trips to the Maladeta.

I approached the highest edge of the glacier and after having taken about twenty steps I saw a very narrow pass through the rocks. I didn't know where it was taking me and I put a lot of effort into it, because in the hole there was hardly any room for my body to pass. With joy I found myself in the southwest slope of the mountain, where the rocks were piled up less perpendicularly some other envelopes and from where I was offered to climb up to the top (...) so together with the guide Barreau, from rock to rock we finally reached the highest one that rises 3 meters higher than the others, forming the true top of the Maladeta.

The famous Maladeta had been accessible, which far exceeded my expectations. Here and for the second time, I felt the euphoria of finding myself on a virgin summit comforted me with that clean and pure air; the pleasant sensation of success that rewarded my time and efforts, the achievement of a beautiful project.    

I sat on those blocks of rocks to admire the world at my feet.

Friedrich von Parrot

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