Awesome tour! We have done it in 3 days (stages) because we have a heavy load (not recommended).
Why we choose this route? Because Brecha de Rolando is something unique in this area of Ordesa National Park, at 2.807m altitude (my first record!), is a breach between Spain and France. The Gran Cascade of Gavarnie is also unique in Europe, with a fall of water from 463m! And because is a wonderful hiking trip until Gavarnie in France.
Day 1 (9km) – Bujaruelo – Puerto Bujaruelo – Ref Sarradets –. Brecha de Rolando. Start 9:00 – End 17:00
We started (me and my father) from San Nicolas de Bujaruelo early at 9am. The path begins with a fairly steep climb up to the first electricity pylon. After that is softer by a stone path. Then you go into a long valley where we find marmots. The last piece of the valley up stronger to the Port Bujaruelo.
In the port there are many people who come from 4 ways: Coll of Tents (french parking), Gavarnie in the valley, Brecha de Rolando and Bujaruelo.
From there you enter the path to the right (looking at Gavarnie) next Tallion massif. The road full of stones is still pretty easy without much rise to the waterfall coming from the glacier Tallion.
From there begins a fairly steep climb, past the waterfall with wet rocks (beware, recommendable go where there is a chain). We gets at least 1h, by a strong path with many stones, to the glacier Tallion. From there on 5 min to get to Refugio Sarradets. Another break and eat something, put up a tent and leave the heavy loading.
We started up the slope to the Brecha de Rolando. A path with many stones that make up 2-step, low-1 with the stones. Until we reached the base of the glacier where there is another gap softer but full of snow climb. You do not need crampons (in early September) because the path is already formed by anothers and is not difficult. If you have good boots and be careful, gets easy.
Getting in the Brecha, the views are stunning … !!! It’s something that can not be explained in a few words. Must be seen! You‘re right on the border between France and Spain.
On the way back we decided to retreat down the snow with a plastic garbage. It was faster and easier, safe and fun. We slept in the tent next to the shelter.
Day 2 (9km) – Ref Sarradets -. Gavarnie Circus (by the stairs) – Gavarnie. Start 9:00 – End 16:00
We left about 9am down the valley Sarradets, easy way to go before we reach a point of sharp decline before margin of Circo de Gavarnie. When you arrive in the valley from the left (direction Circo), always watching the signs of the others with stones. It is easy to miss and can end badly …
But at one point the path begins to be very well marked with an “H” yellow and red arrow. Careful where you see a red cross! No past this point, is dangerous. Also the red dots on a some rocks pointing you to be careful.
Normally people make this route to up not down like us … But at the end was not as difficult as we thought at first. We have come to noon at the Circo de Gavarnie, surrounded by 4 large waterfalls. Stunning!
The easy way to Gavarnie is a 3-4km. We arrived at the camping site of Gavarnie where sleep and rest until the next day.
Day 3 (12km) – Gavarnie – Puerto Bujaruelo – Bujaruelo. Start 9:30 – End 18:00
We start right next to the campsite, there is a path that goes straight up behind the police office, to the main path to Puerto Bujaruelo. If not, you have to take the road from the center of Gavarnie, next to the church.
In few minutes begins a fairly steep climb up a hut and a meadow. Since there is a crossroads with two paths: one down to the Cirque de Gavarnie and one to Puerto Bujaruelo.
Continue along the prairie slowly rising until about 1800m. By the way there is becoming more and hot stones. We recommend bringing water. After a while, another intersection just before we came to a small waterfall, cool right time. We have filled the bottles with water (using pills for killing bugs/germs, careful not drink if you have no pills).
We passed the junction of the 2 paths: the gap and bujaruelo and continue on a long meadow to the cabin Soldats. We rested a while and continue climbing gradually to the Port of Bujaruelo. By the middle of the valley the road looking lost but a softer climb up the road is a little above. For there easier and straight to Puerto.
Another break and we started the descent to Bujaruelo, where we have gone in the first day. Very calmly because this valley by the afternoon hours are out many marmots. You can see a show.
We arrived at San Nicolas de Bujaruelo, tired but full of great memories and an unforgettable experience!