This was our most challenging peak thus far in my short time as a mountaineer.
1600 meters of cumulative elevation gain, 9 hours in movement.
Somehow I had managed to get a decent night’s sleep before starting out pre-sunrise the next morning. I’m always looking for an excuse to use my headlamp; headlamp = instant adventure.
Of those two golden peaks in the distance, we thought the one on the right was Perdiguero. It was a false summit, which made the last push a real struggle let me tell you. In fact its name is “Hito de Perdiguero” which means “cairn” or “milestone” basically the peak behind which Perdiguero hides, so it serves as a route marker.
The first half of the morning was a steady, simple march up with just a few quick stops to take of some layers, put away the headlamps 😦 and bask in the first rays of the perfect, golden morning rays.
When we checked into our hotel the night before and told the owner we’d be climbing Perdiguero the next AM, he deep exhaled and all he said was, “vaya pedregal”. Pedregal means ground full of rocks. This route is no fun without snow. It’s rough, unless you like scrambling up and down rocky terrain, some stones less sturdy than others.
This was the “pedregal” leading up to Hito de Perdiguero, but do not be fooled, it’s rocky terrain starts just before arriving at Ibonet de Literola, an ideal spot with a tiny lake along the route to stop for a snack and sips of hot tea.
From Ibonet de Literola you’re going to have to channel your inner mountain goat, because it’s all uphill from there and as mentioned earlier, lots of fucking rocks.
The cool part of this route is that you have fantastic markers guiding you the whole time. The first marker we spotted super early in the morning was Perdigueret, and though its name means “little Perdiguero,” it’s much more complicated to summit as you can see by its sharp peaks.
Eventually you’ll make it to another landmark along the trail, Ibón Blanco de Literola, the protagonist of many of the photographs taken from atop Perdiguero (and for good reason, it flaunts a really spectacular shade of blue).
From here you gotta suck it up and get ready for a serious leg burning climb. (pictured earlier).
Atop Hito de Perdiguero (3176 m) we finally have a view of Perdiguero.
Then, we took each other’s hands and summited Perdiguero together. Three-thousand, two-hundred and twenty-two meters on top of the world, right on the natural border of France and Spain.
The descent down the “pedregal” was even worse. So when we overcame that obstacle, obviously I was elated (even though we wouldn’t arrive at the car for another 3 hours :/)
Wikiloc track here.
Peace mountain lovers!! Next mission: winter climbs….