TOPO Ski Touring
Location ✦ Espot ski resort
Region ✦ Aigüestortes National Park, Catalunya
Country ✦ Spain
Orientation ✦ East then South
Max altitude ✦ 2782m
Ascent length ✦ 7.5km
Vertical drop ✦ 1065m
Difficulty ✦ R-2.3-E1
Max. gradient ✦ 35
Duration ✦ 4h to 5h
Interest ✦ ★★
Access to the place
Map & topo
Hiking to the start 1940m, 10' ou 45'
From the bottom of the resort, there are 2 options: go back up the slopes to reach the top of the chairlift, or take the chairlift. Having already climbed up the resort to do the Pala d'Eixe, we were transported for 6€ to the first landing at 1940m. Starting point of the itinerary.
Course 2h30 à 3h30
In fact, the route quickly leaves the valley where the Espot ski resort is located and heads south. The summit of Bony de les Picardes is not directly visible from the chairlift, but in the background. The choice of the south-facing descent was made because of the snow conditions (spring!), whereas the classic route down from the summit is via the valley, which faces north-east and then east.
Part 1: Talweg under the Bony de les Picardes (1h)
From the top of the chairlift, climb along the most southerly slope on a very slight incline. It makes a wide curve, there are a few hilly passages to cross and then you end up next to the lake and at the end of another chairlift. The ridge to the south is obvious, and to cross it, follow the snow-covered track heading east again, which gradually rises until it reaches the top and swings over to the south.
Descend and continue to follow this snow-covered track, passing a ridge and behind a small house. You can now see the south-east face of Bony de les Picardes. The trail follows the relief and joins the torrent bed at a talweg in line with the summit.
Section 2: Bony de les Picardes (1h)
From the talweg, start climbing diagonally up the opposite slope to join the south ridge of les Picardes. Once more or less on the wide, rounded ridge, climb this time towards the summit. There are several landings with some steeper sections, but nothing serious. Finally, it ends 30m below the summit and, given today's conditions, we have to finish on foot to reach the peak.
Ski descent (30′ to 45′)
Below the summit, cross a little to the east to choose the best exposure. Great descent in the middle of this wide combe. At the bottom, either continue down the narrower couloir or cross to the right to give yourself some room to ski the eastern slopes above the lower piste. Finally, we return to the talweg.
Push a little on the poles to take the track in the opposite direction, then leave it fairly quickly, at the level of a small fir forest, to climb the ridge overlooking the resort. We then pass a kind of ground at 2306m. From here, a final steep descent at the start (watch out for the ledge!) ends up on the resort's slopes.
Glide to the top of the chairlift, then follow the slope under the chairlift to the bottom of the resort.