Difficulty: This stage covers high mountain terrain (frequent snow, unstable scree…). There may be snow on Tebarray col until August or September. For the last 50 metres the gradient hits about 40º, so an ice axe would be recommended. In wintery conditions, the access route to Respomuso auberge could be highly susceptible to avalanches.
Suggestions: If you decide to organise the stages differently, you could spend the night at the new Ibones de Bachimaña shelter. An alternative to this stage is, once you reach the Bachimaña Alto lake/reservoir, keep walking via the Bramatuero lakes, cross the Letrero Col, and pass the Los Batanes lakes on the way down to Ara, where you join the main route of the next stage in route to Bujaruelo.
(0h0min; 0 kms) Refugio de Respomuso (2200m). There is a drinking fountain right next to it. The path skirts round the reservoir, and not far away you will see the Alfonso XIII shelter (in ruins, closed). The path drops down to the tail of the reservoir where a stream flows. You follow it upstream in search of the best point to cross it. You head in a south/south-easterly direction following the valley that opens out to the right of the Campo Plano (2,721) and Llena Cantal (2,941) peaks, easily recognisable thanks to their pyramid-like shape. The path advances through fields as far as Llena Cantal lake, then continues across rocks and patches of snow, depending on the time of year. The end is rugged and rocky, and you will often need to clamber (an ice axe is recommended in snow) as you reach...
(2h15min; 4,6 kms) Collado de Tebarray or Piedrafita (2771m). From here, with very little effort, you could reach the Tebarray peak (2,916m). The path continues along the left-hand side across scree, skirting Tebarray lake, and leads to the Cuello de L’Infierno (2,721m), below the Picos del Infierno (3,082m, ascent from the col). You now begin your descent through Piedrafita ravine, - straight ahead in the distance you can make out the imposing Vignemale – where a stream will emerge, and you walk alongside it as far as Bachimaña Alto lake. Before reaching it, you will come to a crossing. If you head left, the path will lead you to Puerto de Marcadau (1h15) or the Bramatuero lakes (possible variant). You continue to the right towards the dam, walking around the lake/reservoir.
(4h05min; 10,0kms) Ibón Inferior de Bachimaña (2175m). You leave it behind on the left, and reach another smaller dam where you will see the Ibones de Bachimaña shelter. Beyond the lakes lies the Cascada del Fraile waterfall, from where a steep drop takes you to...
(5h30min; 13,3kms) Balneario de Panticosa (1640m). Hotel complex, spa, mountain hostel, souvenir shop, etc.
During the stage you can stop at the Ibones de Bachimaña shelter (/). There are also a few cabins along the route. There is a small cabin at the blue lakes (precarious condition) and another small one on the north bank of the Bachimaña Alto reservoir (acceptable condition, a 30mins detour).
At the end of the stage, at the Panticosa spa, you have the Casa de Piedra auberge (/). It has a bar, food service and a free kitchen. If it’s luxury you are looking for, you can always stay at the Gran Hotel.Transport:
There are no bus services to the Balneario de Panticosa. The nearest option is the village of Panticosa, which is 7.3kms away (Alosa-avanzabus bus company).
|- Prologue: Cabo Higuer - Hondarribia - Irun|
|- Stage 1: Cabo Higuer - Bera|
|- Stage 1v (GR 11.3): Cabo Higuer - Lesaka|
|- Stage 2: Bera - Elizondo|
|- Stage 2v (GR 11.3): Lesaka - Elizondo (Spanish)|
|- Stage 3: Elizondo - Pto de Urkiaga|
|- Stage 4: Puerto de Urkiaga - Burguete|
|- Stage 5: Burguete/Auritz - Villanueva de Aezcoa/Hiriberri (Spanish)|
|Stage 6: Villanueva de Aezcoa/Hiriberri - Ochagavia (Spanish)|
|Stage 7: Ochagavia - Isaba (Spanish)|
|Stage 8: Isaba - Zuriza (via Belabarce)|
|Stage 8v (GR 11.4): Isaba - Zuriza (via Ezkaurre)|
|Stage 9: Zuriza - Aguas Tuertas|
|Stage 10: Aguas Tuertas - Lizara|
|Stage 10 (discontinued): Aguas Tuertas - Candanchú|
|Stage 11: Lizara - Candanchú|
|Stage 12: Candanchú - Sallent de Gallego|
|Stage 9v (GR 11.1): Zuriza - Puente de Santa Ana|
|Stage 10v (GR 11.1): Puente de Santa Ana - Lizara|
|Stage 11v (GR 11.1): Lizara - Canfranc Estación|
|Stage 12v: Canfranc Estación - Sallent de Gallego (via C.Izas)|
|Stage 13: Sallent de Gallego - Refugio de Respomuso|
|Stage 14: Refugio de Respomuso - Balneario de Panticosa|
|Stage 15: Balneario de Panticosa - San Nicolas de Bujaruelo|
|Stage 16: San Nicolas de Bujaruelo - Refugio de Goriz|
|Stage 17: Refugio de Goriz - Circo de Pineta|
|Stage 18: Circo de Pineta - Parzán|
|Stage 19: Parzán - Biadós|
|Stage 20: Biadós - Puente de San Jaime (Spanish)|
|Stage 21: Puente de San Jaime - Refugio de Cap de Llauset (Spanish)|
|Stage 22: Ref. Cap de LLauset - Conangles|
|Stage 23: Conangles - La Restanca|
|Stage 24v (GR11.18): La Restanca - Colomers|
|Stage 25: Colomers - Ernest Mallafré|
|Stage 26: Ernest Mallafré - La Guingueta|
|Stage 27: La Guingueta - Estaón|
|Stage 28: Estaón - Tavascán|
|Stage 29: Tavascán - Areu|
|Stage 30: Areu - Baiau|
|Stage 31: Baiau - Arans|
|Stage 32: Arans - Encamp|
|Stage 33: Encamp - Ref. l'Illa|
|Stage 34: Ref. l'Illa - Malniu|
|Stage 35: Malniu - Puigcerdá|
|Stage 36: Puigcerdá - Planoles|
|Stage 37: Planoles - Santuario de Nuria|
|Stage 38: Santuario de Nuria - Refugio de Ulldeter|
|Stage 39: Refugio de Ulldeter - Molló|
|Stage 40: Molló - Talaixà|
|Stage 41: Talaixà - Albanyà|
|Stage 42: Albanyà - La Vajol|
|Stage 43: La Vajol - Requessens|
|Stage 44: Requessens - Vilamaniscle|
|Stage 45: Vilamaniscle - El Port de la Selva|
|Stage 46: El Port de la Selva - Cap de Creus|