TOPO Ski Touring
Location ✦ Pas de la Casa
Region ✦ Pyrénées-orientales
Country ✦ France
Direction ✦ East
Max altitude ✦ 2714m
Ascent length ✦ 5km
Dénivelé ✦ 835m
Difficulty ✦ R-3.1-E1
Max gradient ✦ 35°/37°
Duration ✦ 3h to 3h30
Interest ✦ ★★
Access to the place
Map & topo
The routes are indicative.
Hiking to the start
From the road, walk a little along the left bank of the Baladrar to pass a few fences. There's a flat spot from which to start the ascent.
The route is obvious: climb the Rec del Baladrar on the west side (left bank) to reach the ridge leading to the summit as soon as possible. There are no difficult passages on the way up, except perhaps the final access to the summit, which can be done on foot. The descent option chosen here is not the only one: other options on the eastern slopes are possible, or even returning via the ascent route, the simplest option.
Part 1: The ridge to the col below the summit (1h to 1h30)
Head south, following the bed of the torrent below and gradually ascending. We soon climb more steeply to the west to reach a very open, undulating plateau. At the top right, you can clearly see the ridge that undulates up to the summit. It looks narrow from the bottom, but is in fact wide and rounded, facing more towards Andorra.
Climb up to the ridge and follow it. The slopes are steeper, but you can make the long hairpin bends by passing slightly to the north-west, with views of the entrance to Andorra and, less happily, the "wart" of Pas de la Casa, a concrete town that really stands out in the landscape.
After a first landing and then a second, you find yourself on a flat area, a sort of pass, before tackling the final section leading to the summit. At this point, you join the other possible ascent route through the interior of the valley, with a steeper final section to reach the pass.
Part 2: Pic dels Pedrons (45′ to 1h)
This final section is a little more demanding. Climb to the right of a first plateau, then attack another rocky knoll, either from the west (steep) or from the east via a small valley (more gradual?). This leads to a final flat area, a sort of ridge between this knoll and the real summit. Cross over and finish either on skis to the east (very steep) or on foot along the rocky ridge to the north-west.
The summit is actually a ridge running north-south, facing the bars of the Pics de Font Negra.
From the summit, descending to the east, you reach a small shoulder 100m below, which you can see from the summit. From here, tilting more to the south-east, you can descend a not very wide couloir whose exit you can't see from the top, but which emerges easily 200m or 300m further down.
Once you've exited the couloir, cross to the north-east and pass under the other east-facing couloirs to open up new slopes for skiing. Finally, we return below the ridge on the ascent route. Finally, slide down the left bank of the Rec de baladrar to return to the starting point.
Walk a little to get back to the road, or if there's enough snow, slide back to the road.