I rode my bike into Andorra and up to the ski resort of Arinsal. I parked my bike up and sat myself down on a bench. It was getting late in the day. With nowhere to stay and little food left I was wondering what to do next. A seasonnaire called Jason came up to me and we had a chat about what I was up to. Jason and his girlfriend Liana run a very cool bar named Cisco's in Arinsal. Next thing I know, I've got a beer in my hand, a massive plate of ribs in front of me and a roof over my head for the next 3 nights! I really want to meet loads of amazing people on my journey, and I hope some of them might be able to help me out a little here and there. These incredibly kind and generous people have gone so far beyond what I'd ever thought anyone might do to help me! They made my successful ascent of Coma Pedrosa so much easier, and my whole Andorran experience so memorable! I can't thank you enough Jason, Liana and the whole Cisco's crew, you guys are totally amazing!
If Spain's highest point was the hardest day I've ever spent on a mountain, then Andorra's can only be described as one of the most beautiful! At nearly 3000m I knew a winter ascent of Coma Pedrosa was a considerable challenge, to be respected. I'd learnt from my very long day out on Mulhacen, and made sure I got hold of some snow shoes to help with the energy, and time sapping trail breaking in the back-country.
The night before my ascent I was sat having a quiet beer, some guy approached me and gave me a stern talking to, he was an English 'walking guide', who'd heard about my plan and was adamant that I shouldn't go up the mountain because of avalanche risk. After double checking my info I knew the snow pack was in good condition and the only real risk I faced would be high winds. A 6am start meant I would have plenty of time to climb the mountain safely and savor what it had to offer. I covered the first km's into the back country fast.
Once at the true base of the mountain, and with the guides words ringing in my ears, I could see that the traditional route I had planned to follow, was admittedly risky, any avalanche here would mean certain burial. I assessed the mountain and my map and chose a steep and exposed route up a ridge. The advantage of this was complete safety from any avalanche, but it meant exposure to high winds. The ridge proved to be a good choice. I made good ground and topped out at the summit much faster than I'd expected.
The summit of Coma Pedrosa was sublime but extremely windy. Situated in the middle of the Pyrenees, it provided me with amazing 360 views of the whole Pyrenean range. I spent a good hour up there enjoying the views before descending via another ridge. Everything went perfectly on this climb. It was challenging and beautiful, a really awesome climb!
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!