España, part 2: into the Pyrenees and up a via ferrata


The Friday after Thanksgiving dawned bright and clear- we loaded into our mini-van with all 8 of us and drove into the Pyrenees. Don’t know what we were expecting but not the absolutely stunning views. 


Sign for the via ferrata (iron road) we were planning to climb says closed. Do we believe it? Went and checked out the route- main access point was underwater. We decided to believe it and changed our plans. 

Kids happy to entertain themselves while we figured out what to do

Views of the waterfall (and via ferrata route originally planned- up the cliff and to the left of the waterfall, through a tunnel, and to the edge of the stream before crossing over and coming back the right side of the face). Looks amazing and more than a bit scary. That day, it looked like a beautiful waterfall worthy of our admiration (and worthy of finding another adventure). 

 Plan B: Colter had been up an easier via ferrata that started from the same location. Though much easier and likely to be damp, it was also a nice day and not too cold. We practiced how to clip into the iron lines and other assorted safety measures, talked through the route, then left Colter on the ground due to a pulled leg muscle, alas (which is why you will see no pictures of him for a bit). Another note- I was also clipped in while taking photos, though as Stephen pointed out, I was worried about dropping my phone. 

Via ferrata opening move: crossing the stream on a wire bridge 

Down a "path" (just don't look down). Each person has two carbiners attached to slings which are fastened to your harness. Each person is always fastened in with at least one if not two points of protection; to move past fixed points, however, you have to unclip one, reclip it to the next point of protection, then move the 2nd carbiner (which is what Stephen is doing in the photo to the right). If you fell, it would be uncomfortable but the good news is you'd live through the fall. 

The cliff face was beautiful

And so was the view from the cliff (Steve Fowler, don't look too closely). Coming to our first ladder to start going up. 

 Amazing geology in action across the canyon from us



Up a ladder, over a rope ladder, onto a steep slope, onto a wooden "ladder" made of twigs. I was less confident of not dropping my phone/camera so there are many fewer photos. 

The bell at the top... time for a snack and the hike back down  

The cows really come with a lot of sound-- worth the movie...



After finishing the hike back (cows and all), we went up into the Pyrenees a bit further and into the national park: snow on the ground and some epic scenery. Colter & Annie have been exploring the myriad of trails all through here- looks amazing. Chris of course wanted to go up... any or all of the peaks we found. The kids found the snowfield and started pelting each other, then leaping... 



We drove back past Jaca and up to a far hillside to get a distant view of the Pyrenees- still impressive even from a distance!