Walk the GR11 with Collett’s
Hiking & Trekking in the Pyrenees at its most dramatic
- Five consecutive stages on this world renowned long distance footpath
- Some of the best high level hiking in the Pyrenees
- 3 – 10 September or 10 – 17 September 2016 – £750 per person (excluding flights)
Join Collett’s for a week on the GR11
In early September Collett’s Mountain Holidays is offering you the chance to walk 5 consecutive stages of the awe-inspiring GR11 high in the Pyrenees.
When Wainwright devised his coast to coast walk in 1973, one can only ponder whether he was in any way inspired to do so by news reaching England of a similar coast to coast route through the mighty Spanish Pyrenees, known as the Gran Recorrido 11, or GR11. Walking in the Pyrenees is a joy for anyone who seeks out a quieter alternative to the more developed areas of the Alps. A combination of spectacular peaks, glistening tarns, deep valleys and expanses of wild beauty unseen by many visitors makes the Pyrenees an excellent choice for the adventurous walker. Indeed, much of the Spanish Pyrenees remains relatively undeveloped and it is still possible to get a true wilderness experience as you leave the trail heads and civilisation far behind.
Click on the ‘Itinerary & Factsheet’ tab above and find out more.
A Collett’s Walking Holiday on the GR11
In early September Collett’s Mountain Holidays is offering you the chance to walk 5 consecutive stages of the awe-inspiring GR11 high in the Pyrenees. Your base for 5 nights will be the delightful 3* Hotel Sabocos in Panticosa, but you will also spend one night at the dramatic Refugio Respomuso and one night in the picturesque village of Torla, gateway to the Ordesa & Monte Perdido National Park. The itinerary is specifically designed so that you can enjoy the high mountain wilderness of a world-renowned route, whilst being able to return each evening (except two) to the comforts of the Hotel Sabocos, where a hot shower, a cold beer and a delicious three course evening meal (with wine included) await you.
Each day (except Wednesday, your rest day) a dedicated Collett’s Walk Organiser will take care of your transport to and from the GR11 as well as provide you with a hearty packed lunch. The price of £750 per person (based on two people sharing a double or twin room – Single Supplement £85) will include all your transport on walk days together with an airport transfer at the start and end of your holiday.
Be warned! Each stage involves between 700-1000m of ascent, 100-1200m of descent and 11-20km of walking, so this particular holiday is not for the faint-hearted and has a Collett’s grading of hard and long!
Day 1 (Saturday)
Arrive & Settle in
After being picked up, you will be transferred to the delightful Hotel Sabocos, our base in Panticosa, high in the Valle de Tena. This will become your ‘home from home’ for most of your stay. After checking in, you will be free to settle in, explore Panticosa or simply relax on the hotel’s lovely sun terrace or in its spacious lounge.
Day 2 (Sunday)
the Canal Roya and Ibones de Anayet
14.5km, 900m ascent and 600m descent – A superb ‘first day’ walk which ascends the Canal Roya up to its near vertical headwall starting off on a good track. Soon the track gives way to a path which in turn somehow manages to find its way up between rocky crags and pops out into the high mountain plateau which is home to the idyllic Ibones (lakes) de Anayet. Weather and legs permitting, you will then have the option to either enjoy an extended lunch stop at the lakes – taking in the magnificent views north to the iconic Pic du Midi d’Ossau – or to climb the distinctive Vértice d’Anayet (2559m, an additional 300m ascent) from where there are panoramic views to be enjoyed. The GR11 then weaves its way down into the Valle de Tena, affording you stunning views of Balaitous (3144m), Vignemale (3298m) and the Picos del Infierno (3083m)
the very mountains you and the GR11 will be rubbing shoulders with over the coming days.
Day 3 (Mon)
Aguas Limpias, the Ibones de Arriel and Refugio Respomuso
11km, 800m ascent and 100m descent – After a short transfer to the GR11 trailhead at La Sarra, just north of Sallent de Gállego, you will continue to follow the now familiar red and white markers of the GR11 on a well graded path as you ascend the Aguas Limpias valley deep into the wilderness. Today you will have the option to leave the GR11 in order to visit the spectacular Ibones de Arriel – four stunning lakes which nestle in the shadow of the mighty Balaitous. From the Ibones you will follow a superb high level traverse into the Circo de Piedrafitta above which many of Spain’s 3000m peaks tower. Since the ascent to the Ibones is a tough climb across steep, loose scree and small boulders, you may choose to stay true to the GR11 and follow it directly to Refugio Respomuso. Tonight, you will sleep in mixed sex dormitories of between 6 and 14 people, and your evening dinner will be provided by the refugio – which serves a fairly basic but none-the-less adequate three course evening meal (wine will be provided). Refugio Respomuso is remote and you will need to carry your own personal belongings for the overnight stay in the refugio.
Day 4 (Tue)
Collado de Tebberai, Ibones Azules & Embalse de Bachimaña to Baños de Panticosa
12.5km, 700m ascent and 1150m descent – After an early breakfast in the refugio (which again is fairly basic), you will continue to follow the GR11 as it weaves it way up and over the Collado de Teberai – at 2782m, it is the second highest point along the entire GR11 route! It is a truly stunning ascent – at first over grassy pastures, then over loose scree and finally up a short but very steep and narrow gully to the collado. An equally short but just as steep descent then follows and leads into a narrow traverse above the enchanting Ibón (lake) de Tebarrai. A well trod but very rocky path then twists and turns as it makes a steady descent past the Ibones Azules and Embalse de Bachimaña into the historic spa village of Baños de Paticosa.
You will need to sure-footed, have a good head for heights and be comfortable on very steep and loose ground in order to rise to the challenge of today’s section of the GR11. On reaching Baños de Panticosa we will arrange for you to be driven the short distance down the mountain to Panticosa, where Hotel Sabocos awaits your return.
Day 5 (Weds)
You are free to have a well deserved lie-in (breakfast is served until 10am!) and to spend the day relaxing in Panticosa. Perhaps you will take a dip in Panticosa’s outdoor pool, or visit the 4* spa at Baños de Panticosa. On Tuesday night we will be on hand to help you to arrange taxi shares should you want to visit the Spa or explore the Valle de Tena.
Day 6 (Thurs)
Cuello Alto del Brazato & the Ara Valley to San Nicolas de Bujaruelo
18.5km, 1000m ascent and 1200m descent – Shortly after breakfast we will whisk you back up the mountain to re-join the GR11 where you left it on Tuesday evening. A well graded path will help you to gain height relatively quickly and will lead you on to the Cuello Alto del Brazato (2578m) which you will reach by another short but steep ascent which is loose under-foot, and a tricky traverse across a small boulder field. From here fantastic views of the impressive Vignemale (the highest peak in the French Pyrenees) may be enjoyed. The descent down to and along the Ara Valley is both stunning and long but other than another short section of boulder hopping and a river crossing, will follow a well trodden path. Upon reaching San Nicolas de Bujaruelo you may feel that a drink at the refugio is long over-due!
You will then make the short transfer to the picturesque village of Torla by taxi where you will spend the night at the Hotel Bujaruelo. You will need to carry your own personal belongings for the overnight stay in the Torla.
Day 7 (Fri)
Faja de Pelay and Ordesa canyon
20km, 800m ascent and 800m descent – Today you will make the short journey (approx 20 mins) deep into the Ordesa canyon on a national park shuttle bus. The final walk of the week is a true classic. This stunning high level walk begins with an intense ascent to a breathtaking mirador (lookout) high above the canyon floor. It then continues along a natural, and at times narrow balcony (faja) which has been formed by millions of years of erosion. Once on the faja, magnificent views of the Ordesa canyon far below, Monte Perdido and the Brèche de Roland are your rewards. After the exhilaration of the faja, you will meander back along the valley floor through delightful forests of beech, pine and fir. Stronger walkers may also choose to continue to follow the GR11 up to Refugio Goriz. The national park shuttle bus will then transfer you to Torla, from where we will return you back to Panticosa (approx. 1hr) in good time for your farewell evening dinner in Hotel Sabocos.
Day 8 (Sat)
Departure Depending on your transfer time, you will have a free morning to have a well deserved late breakfast, and then pack at your leisure. Most guests tend to use the Stansted-Zaragoza flight and will depart for the airport at about 1pm – after a light tapas style lunch at the hotel. Alternatively, if you choose to stay longer, another superb local walk will await you.
Dates & Prices
3rd – 10th September 2016 £750
10th – 17th September 2016 £750
Single supplement £85
Prices are based on two people sharing a double or twin room and sharing a bunk room in Refugio Respomuso.
Please note that there are no single rooms available at Refugio Respomuso.
This is a Saturday to Saturday itinerary, although guests are naturally welcome to extend their stay with Collett’s either side of this itinerary, taking advantage of our usual programme of organised walks which are free of charge and optional. Call for pricing.
Grade : Hard and long
Ascents : 700m to 1000m each day
Walking Time : 7 to 10 hours each day
Descents : 100m to 1200m each day
Terrain : Way-marked paths which can be steep, rocky and loose underfoot. Some short sections are very steep and may be considered by some to be exposed. Previous hiking experience, surefootedness, a good head for heights and a good level of fitness are essential. Some basic scrambling experience would also be beneficial for the crossing of the Collado Tebberai. If you are in any doubt whether this holiday is suitable for you, please call the office on 01799 513331 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to discuss the route in more detail with you.
Included in the price
- Detailed route notes
- Transport to/from the GR11 trailheads each walking day
- Accommodation – 5 nights in the 3* Hotel Sabocos, Panticosa – 1 night in Refugio Respomuso, located at 2200m
- 1 night in 2* Hotel Bujaruelo, Torla
Not included in the price
- Flights & Insurance
- Transport and activities on the Wednesday – your rest day
- Lunch and your evening meal on the Wednesday – your rest day
Your ‘Week on the GR11’ will be spent at your own risk as part of an autonomous group, in which each member of the party is responsible for their own safety and has a duty of care to their fellow walkers.
The following is an explanation of the status of our organised ‘Week on the GR11’ – which we refer to as organised, not guided.
Our ‘Week on the GR11’ is a series of organised walks which are made available to you on a basis of goodwill so that you might enjoy a route you might not otherwise have undertaken if you had visited the area independently. It represents nothing more than the opportunity to go out on a beautiful walk in the company of like-minded individuals.
It is a fact that mountains, mountainous areas and activities undertaken in them are associated with personal injury and death. By coming to such areas, you are exposing yourself and your party to the possibility of personal injury or even death. In such an event, Collett’s Mountain Holidays will not be held responsible for your interest in mountainous areas and your involvement in mountain pursuits, which can occasionally have tragic consequences.
In these days of litigation it is important you know that you (and each member of your party) join us on this holiday at your own risk as part of an autonomous group, in which each member of that group has a duty of care to the other. This is no different from the responsibilities you have on a casually arranged weekend walk with friends or family in the UK.
Our walk organisers all have experience of the mountains, some more than others. Some may have qualifications relevant to mountain activities, but they are not qualified mountain guides. We recruit and train our walk organisers in line with a Health & Safety Policy, which is based on Risk Assessments and recognised mountain safety procedures. Not being professionally responsible for you on our organised itineraries does not mean we ignore safety, nor does it make us exempt from owing a duty of care to each person who joins us on an organised itinerary.
Your safety is paramount and we therefore take our own measures to maximise safety. We do this in line with legal requirements pertaining to duty of care. We apply codes of practice to the procedures carried out by our outdoor staff. We assess, manage and communicate risk. We try to make people aware of the importance of mountain safety and to highlight their responsibilities when part of a group.
Our codes of practice should not really be taken into consideration or relied upon by you when deciding to join this ‘Week on the GR11’, for at the heart of our procedures are basic mountain safety measures, which should be undertaken by every individual when preparing for a day in the mountains.
Finally, during your holiday with Collett’s Mountain Holidays you act at your own risk on any ideas, information and opinions you might acquire from our walk organizers or from material prepared by us to help you get the most from the area.
At your own risk
You join our organised itineraries and make use of our ideas & information at your own risk. It is important that you understand that whilst our own walkers have substantial local knowledge and are familiar with the routes which our organised walks follow, they are not qualified mountain guides.
In pictures – A Collett’s Walking Holiday, Hiking the GR11
We had a lovely week with an excellent team of Rick, Amanda, Sam and Caitlin. The Collett's team went out of their way to make sure everyone enjoyed their walking and got the most out of the holiday. Their friendly professionalism and sociability really helped. Magnificent scenery and weather thank you!!