Pic de l'Orri s(u)

The ski station Port Aine is a well know road biking climb. The base of the ski station is practically at 2000 meters. It is a kind of  island of a mountain - still far away from the rugged main wall of the Pyrenees, with realtively gentle slopes on all sides. With a mountain bike (or even my touring bike with 35mm tires)  you can get to the top of the ski area and pick your way down, through the plethera of good unpaved roads on the other side, making this a loop over a two-way summit.

I have used the pictures of panoramio and flickr contributors, as well as other web sites to illustrate this page. There are copyright notices and links  to all original pictures. My own pictures were on a computer, that was stolen at the train station Frankfurt Airport (model Acer Aspire One (serial# NUSGPAA01625101C947600F)

 

1.(00.0km,0769m)START-END NORTH: road to Port Aine leaves C-13, west of Rialp
2.(04.4km,1080m)going straight goes to Roni, main road switches back to east
3.(17.8km,1980m)Port Aine ski station
4.(21.2km,2439m)Pic de l"Orri
5.(26.3km,2010m)major dirt road intersection, where this profile turns hard left
6.(30.8km,1640m)profile turns right down valley on improved road
7.(35.7km,1330m)START-END SOUTH: profile meets Puerto de Canto road
8.(49.8km,0650m)START-END SOUTH ALT: jct with N260 in Adral


Approaches

From North.
About 2km north or Rialp, the one way paved road to the Port Aine ski area leaves the valley of the Rio Noguera Pallaresa. At the turnoff a grafiti style painting next to the road commemorates many of the sports that are held in high regard in this valley, amongst the depictions are also a road bike racer on a bike with an extremely low and uncomfortable looking handlebar, and a kanuist. I take a picture of this work of art. It is gone and I can't find an image of it on the web anywhere.

As you can see from the profile the workout to get to Port Aine is a long steep climb. Even if it is steep, the road seems to contour along the hill to no end. The high snow covered peaks are very far away. But I have a picture perfectly clear day, and with a zoom lens they can be made to appear in map like clarity. This is one day where I have even clearer light than most all of the pictures that people have shared on the web. At the westernmost point of the road, a marked trailhead shows a trail connection to La Baseta, another MTB route, that is however much lower than this one.

The deep forested hills last till within a couple of hundred meters below the ski area hotel. Approching the top of the paved section, the road crosses some elaborate drainage channels. Surprisingly the luxurious hotel with ample parking lots overlooking the mountain panorama is a busy place. Not so much with people, even though there are a couple of them doing spring maintanance on the ski slopes. It's the animal scene that is really happening here. The parking lot is filled with heavy draft horses. I almost cause a stampede with my bicycle. After the initial excitement is over they pose for pictures. Further up, the ski area is also used as pasture for cows and llamas. I take plenty of picture of this curious interdenominational zoo between the mothballed ski lifts. All the creatures, including myself, appear to be quite happy to be here.

The objective can be clearly seen ahead, and it really does not look that high. It's the transmission tower on the relatively gently ski mountain ahead. I pick my way up under the ski lift and walk much of it, talking to the animals. When it gets to steep I detour to the west, and see that apparently there is a fairly good dirt road that can be followed all the way from the ski lodge on a western detour loop. The profile above is an approximate reconstruction of my route below the ski lifts.

Approaching the top ridge the viewshed now also includes the south side and its snowcapped walls, receeding into the haze of the foothills and flatlands. The top is a gently rounded knoll with remnants of snowdrifts on this June day.



Copyright: Panoramio contributor:    Leicam5    piclink
 

Copyright: Panoramio contributor:     Lince Habil     piclink

Copyright: altimetrias.net contributor:    APM           pagelink


Copyright: altimetrias.net contributor:    APM         pagelink
 

Copyright: Panoramio contributor:     Toni Lopez Montes     piclink


From South. (described downwards). Even if my map material is a little inconclusive. From the top the way down can be pieced together. You can clearly see a good unpaved road that follows a gentle ridge to the west. All I have to do is walk and ride down to it over a short, and not very steep ski slope. The lower part of this is the area, that is photographically the most interesting, because of its many distinct "isles" of pine trees, dotting the tundra. From the top further road cuts can be seen below.

A few minutes and several thousand degrees of curvature later I am looking up at the transmission facility far above on the perfectly cone shaped mountain, providing a sense of direction. As it turns out there is a whole network of fairly good roads on this side of the hills, and a gps is necessary to make sense of the turns. Some intersections have signs, but the destinations don't match anything on my map. I only see one car back here, an adventurous looking 4 wheel drive camper of some sort. But he doesn't stop to compare notes. With the help of my gps I negotiate several cryptic intersections. My original notes were more detailed. At point 6 stands a stone house and a regular parked car is evidence, that the road is about to improve even more. Eventually the wide roadbed of the Port de Canto road shows up cutting through the green hills not far below, cutting a monumental V into the mountain side.

The last part to get down to it is unexpectedly rough. My day ride turns right here, to return over paved Port de Canto. But in order to show a strictly increasing profile, and of course you could climb the summit from this side too - I finished the profile down the south side to Adral. The map shows that there are several other options to meet the Port de Canto road, either further up or down its path.

 

cLiCk on image , arrows , or thumbnails to advance slideshow

A Dayride with this point as highest summit:

PARTIALLY PAVED / UNPAVED

( < Collado de la Creu de Perves | Port de Bonaigua > )

Pic d'Orri s(u) , Port de Canto: Sort > Rialp > Port de Aine ski station > various paths and dirt roads with detours > Pic d'Orri s(u) > down various dirt roads > Port de Canto > Sort: r5:16.4,5
Notes: gps data and distances are on stolen computer