While I was enjoying the relaxed, Sierra-like wandering around Aneto, I had some driving to do in the afternoon and evening, so after looking around the map a bit, I chose to hike Perdiguero, a fairly prominent peak with some form of “trail” leading to the summit. The trail starts at a roadside parking area just uphill of the Baños turnoff, climbing steadily out of the woods into some meadows with an old hut. I saw a shepherd and his flock, much smaller than the terrifying horde of sheep I had seen being driven down the road upon my arrival.
Perdiguero’s eastern false summit is visible from most of the trail, which climbs along a pleasant cascade before passing through a narrow slot and descending slightly to Ibonet de Literola, a small, sheltered lake. Once again demonstrating that “no camping” doesn’t mean no camping, I passed through a group packing up their tent at mid-morning right on the trail. There seem to be multiple routes up from the Ibonet, and I chose one to the left, following cairns up a steep path to the saddle with Pico Perdigueret, a small, sharp fin south of the main peak.
From the saddle, I traversed up and around on slabs, grass, and talus, then climbed some steeper but fairly stable talus to the summit ridge. The ridge goes on for over a third of a mile, slightly gaining elevation over several talus bumps. I reached the summit, on the French-Spanish border, just as three Frenchmen began descending to the north, toward the Lac du Portillon and an unknown trailhead. The crowds were coming from Spain, but I still had 10 minutes or so to enjoy the views and watch them as I ate. To the west, a small glacier clings to the slopes above Lac du Portillon, while the border continues north of Ibon Blanco de Literola over Pico Crabioles and Pico de Maupas.
I more or less followed the same path on the return, through I found it easier to stay on the ridge longer before dropping down the talus to its north. Done with my half-day outing, I went back to town for some WiFi, then realized that I still had seven hours of driving to reach Fuenta De. Ugh. The rest of the afternoon and evening was a sun-ward slog, ending with a blinding 120 kph drive away from Bilbao into the setting sun, and a slow, dark drive back into the mountains. Unfortunately the next two causal days ended up summitless hikes, but at least the scenery was nice. That is all for Dr. Dirtbag’s European adventure. There will be more climbing before winter, and probably some retrospective writing about the trip, as time allows.