Pic de les Valletes - NE buttress or Classic route
From coll de Pimorent
Take the dirt road to the S that leads to the lower stop of the lift to Mina Peak. Alternatively, reach it from the ski center parking by following the wide ski routes. Continue upwards along a dirt road that crosses the lift. Not long afterwards leave the road and cross a plain to the left in search of a tiny path marked with cairns which enters the huge big-blocks scree that occupies the bottom of the valley.
From the train stop of Portè
Cross the road at the toll and take a paved road to the S that leads to a bridge over the river. Cross it and take a path (GR) to the N. As you reach the area of the ski center, follow a dirt road parallel to the power lines that gradually turns to the W and abuts to one of the car parks of the ski center. Follow to the W along the valley up to the beginning of the lift of la Mina and follow the preceding itinerary.
This path switchbacks in search of the grassier sections within the scree, and eventually abuts to a series of small grassy plains right under the buttress. From there, go up the corridor until the starting point of the route, in an open, cracked dihedral that presents a long crack leading to a small gap, next to a needle separated from the rest of the wall, which is located at the same altitude as the second belay station (the route does not reach this gap).
Follow this link for a detailed drawing of the route.
L# | 3c | 45m | Go up along the dihedral – crack, whichs has smooth walls and just and just one difficult short section in the middle, until you reach a series of grassy ledges. The first belay station is to be done taking advantage of two pitons (you’ll need a cordelette because karabiners can’t enter the holes of the pitons) that are right under the next dihedral. L# | 4b | 45m | Go up following the dihedral (there’s a section difficult to be protected) until it fades in an area of grassy ledges. Then you need to turn left to find a belay station that has a bolt with a quicklink. Its location is not evident. It probably belongs to the original route, which sought the least difficult terrain throuhg a grassy corrior. L# | 5b | 40m | Once again, go up the dihedral until a roof, that forces you to go to the right to enter a new dihedral which tightens (there’s a very narrow pass). You’ll reach a comfortable ledge where you could easily prepare a belay station but it is better to continue upwards, through easier terrain until a second, wider ledge where there’s a bolt with a quicklink on the right wall (its location seems to be thought to be used to abseil). Prepare the belay station from a piton and a friend stuck in a crack just above the floor. L# | 5c | 40m | Go back to the dihedral by overcoming the most difficult section (6a). A piton situated just over the pass allows you to protect it or even to overcome it in A0. Afterwards the difficulties decline. At the end of the dihedral there are many possibilities for preparing a belay station. It is recommendable to place it somewhat to the left, at the beginning of the next dihedral. L# | 5b | 40m | Follow a a chimney that becomes steeper and steeper until the mos difficult section, just before which you’ll find a piton to the right. Along the most difficult section there are two stuck friends. This part is narrow and demanding but it is easy to be proteced and there are good holds. L# | 5b | 40m | Go up along the beautiful vertical crack liebacking (you’ll find a stuck bong and a stuck friend). When you have overcomed it you arrive to a grassy section where perfect steps have been carved. Some meters higher you’ll find a piton with a cordelette to the left. Continue upwards until you find a belay station equipped with a bolt with a quicklink in the middle of the dihedral. L# | 4a | 45m | Go up slightly following the most logical way (one piton), after which you go to the left. Cross an easy, gentle section until the base of a new perfect dihedral that you climb until its top, where you need to prepare the belay station (rock horns). L# | 3b | 45m | Easy climb until the summit.
Descend to the pass situated just under the peak to the W and turn right to go down the corridor. There’s a small path that winds its way down the scree (there’s sand on it, which makes it uncomfortable in case you wear trainers). It’s not difficult but you are likely to find some snow in spring. This way you’ll reach the base of the scree, where you have to turn left to find a path that avoids crossing the huge scree of the bottom of the valley.
According to the Catalan bibliography, the name of the route is NE buttress whereas the French guides refer to it as N buttress.
The route is easy to follow, nice with great ambiance and easy to protect. Shady.
The text and images in this page are available
under a Creative Commons CC-by-sa licence.