Breakfast is at 7:30am today in the Refugi JM Blanc (I could choose the time because I was the only guest). There is buffet with everything the heart desires – and a toaster from hell which toasts the toasts in record time, so you have to watch out for not not burning them. Feel the fire!

Here is day 1 of the hike!

Thanks to my track preparation yesterday and the assurance of Guilliem that crossing the lakes is safe, I am very fast at Estany de la Llastra from where I have to keep right now. It is early morning and the slope is still frozen. I put on my climbing assists and go up the 35 degrees easily. Reaching the plateau, there is another lake (of course, because Aigüestortes, the name of the National Parc, means meandering waters). This one is really idyllic. Before going completely up to the shoulder of Pic de Peguera, I shoot about a thousand photos.

Estany de la Llastra

The climbing assists helps me here also in gaining a lot of altitude very fast. I checked at the Refugi for an easy summit which I already had a look at at home: Pic de Monestero. This one should be “muy facil” like they said, so I planned it in. I deposit my backpack at the crossroad and take the path to the peak. The first meters are ok, but the rest is hard: climbing with snowshoes (maybe I should have taken them off…). This would have been the point where BabyM would have gone berserk. But I still have the “muy facil” in my ears – so let’s continue. The direction is correct, here and there are cairns. Climbing through grade II scrambles, I ask myself what is hard for him… Seeing a 40 degrees steep snow flank with a possibility to slide down some hundred meters, I turn around. No peak for today.

On the shoulder, view to Pic de Monestero

Here was the end: glissade to the Estany Gran de Peguera

Back at the shoulder I now go down as steep as going up before. After hitting the ground two, three times the hardest part is done. Now I can actually enjoy the descent with the snowshoes in the deep snow. I go down all the way to Estany de Sant Maurici through a verry idyllic valley. All day I was alone, but that will change now. Day tourists are at the lake which is a famous destination. I search a quiet place beneath a tree and after lunch I take a small nap at the lake, in the sun, with blue sky. Envious? Rightly so!

You can see the descent at the right side of the image

The valley from Monestero to Estany de Sant Maurici is very idyllic!

Yes, nearly done! (don’t look at my potbelly)

This is the view from my nap-place at the Estany de Sant Maurici

After taking a lot of photos of Els Encantat, the last stage begins: up to Refugi d’Amitges. After strolling by a small waterfall there are two pathes now: direct or via the mirador. Today I still have energy, so let’s go to the mirador. Correct decision! Soooo amazing. I stayed there for about 20 minutes. Without sun – which is saying something!

Els Encantats – two petrified hunters who went hunting chamoises instead of going to church…

Viewpoint to the lake – do it!

It’s time to go and tackle the last ascent to the Refugi d’Amitges. A south wet snow flank – exactly what is needed after a long day! But the longest ascent has an end, too. After 8 hours I can see the Refugi with the Agulles d’Amitges. Beeeeautiful! Nearly as nice as the obligatory Radler on the terrace of the Refugi with a view to the mountain range.

Refugi d’Amitges with Agulles d’Amitges in the background

Refugi d’Amitges with Agulles d’Amitges in the background

Sunrise at the Refugi d’Amitges

Sunset at the Refugi d’Amitges

Notice: there is an avalanche risk when hiking outdoors – take your beacon, probe and shovel with you and study the avalanche bulletins. Do an avalanche course also!