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Aneto (''Pic de Néthou'' in
French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of co ...

French
) is the highest
mountain A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock. A mountain differs from a plateau in having a limited summit area, and is larger than a hill, typically rising at least ...

mountain
in the
Pyrenees The Pyrenees (; es, Pirineos ; french: Pyrénées ; ca, Pirineus ; eu, Pirinioak ; oc, Pirenèus ; an, Pirineus) is a mountain range straddling the border of France and Spain. It extends nearly from its union with the Cantabrian Mountains to ...

Pyrenees
and in
Aragon Aragon ( or , Spanish and an, Aragón , ca, Aragó ) is an autonomous community In Spain, an autonomous community ( es, comunidad autónoma) is a first-level political divisions of Spain, political and administrative division, created in acc ...

Aragon
, and
Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map = , map_caption = , image_map2 ...

Spain
's third-highest mountain, reaching a height of . It stands in the Spanish province of
Huesca Huesca (; an, Uesca) is a city in north-eastern Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map ...
, the northernmost of the three Aragonese provinces, south of the
France–Spain border The France–Spain border (; ) was formally defined in 1659. It separates the two countries from Hendaye and Irun in the west, running through the Pyrenees to Cerbère and Portbou on the Mediterranean Sea. Features Main border The Franco-Spani ...
. It forms the southernmost part of the
Maladeta Maladeta (3,312 m) is a mountain in the Pyrenees The Pyrenees (; es, Pirineos ; french: Pyrénées ; ca, Pirineus ; eu, Pirinioak ; oc, Pirenèus ; an, Pirineus) is a mountain range straddling the border of and . It extends nearly from it ...

Maladeta
massif In geology, a massif ( or ) is a section of a planet's Crust (geology), crust that is demarcated by geologic fault, faults or Lithospheric flexure, flexures. In the Plate tectonics, movement of the crust, a massif tends to retain its internal s ...
. Aneto is located in the Posets-Maladeta Natural Park, in the municipality of
Benasque Benasque (; in Benasquese dialect{{Infobox language , name = Benasquese , nativename = ''benasqués, patués'' , pronunciation = , states = Aragon, Spain , region = Ribagorza (comarca), Ribagorza, Campo, Aragon, Campo, ...

Benasque
,
Huesca Huesca (; an, Uesca) is a city in north-eastern Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_map ...
province, autonomous community of Aragon, Spain. It is part of the Maladeta massif and is located in the Benasque valley. It consists of
Paleozoic The Paleozoic (or Palaeozoic) Era ( ; from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Eu ...
terrain of a granitic nature and
Mesozoic The Mesozoic Era ( ), also called the Age of Reptiles and the Age of Conifers, is the second-to-last era An era is a span of time defined for the purposes of chronology or historiography, as in the regnal eras in the history of a given monarchy ...
materials. Its northern side holds the largest
glacier A glacier (; ) is a persistent body of dense ice Ice is into a state. Depending on the presence of such as particles of soil or bubbles of air, it can appear transparent or a more or less bluish-white color. In the , ice is abunda ...

glacier
in the Pyrenees, covering in 2005; it is shrinking rapidly due to warming summer temperatures and decreasing winter precipitations over the 20th century – it covered 106.7 ha in 1981, and over 200 ha in the 19th century. It is estimated that it has lost more than half of its surface in the last 100 years, and that it may disappear around 2050.


Toponym

Initially, the mountain did not even have a name. There are indications that the shepherds and hunters from the southern valleys referred to it as Malheta or Malahita or Punta. It was also previously known as La Malahite.. The first cultured traveller who saw it from the port (or pass) of Benasque,
Louis Ramond de Carbonnières
Louis Ramond de Carbonnières
, simply described its appearance as "needles of ice" in 1787.. The highest point of the Pyrenees eventually inherited the name of a village on its south-eastern side: Aneto. The French, on hearing the Argonese pronunciation of "Aneto", retained the last two clearly accentuated phonetic syllables, "''ne''" and "''tu''", ignoring the first syllable "''a''". Based on such oral transcription, the French name "Netou" came to exist along with several historical variants: Nelto, Nettou, Anetthou, Annetton, Anelthou, Nethom or Aréthon, all used by various cartographers. Even though the summit and slopes are entirely within Spanish territory, the first extensive studies of the Pyrenees - and the only ones for the following 100 years - were French ones from the 19th century - starting with the very detailed study by (1844-1924) in 1874. So these names were the toponyms that were then used. It took Émile Belloc's renown work on the Pyrenees (notably on its
hydrology Hydrology (from Ancient Greek, Greek wikt:ὕδωρ, ὕδωρ, ''hýdōr'' meaning "water" and wikt:λόγος, λόγος, ''lógos'' meaning "study") is the scientific study of the movement, distribution, and management of water on Earth and ...
,
glaciology Glaciology (from Latin: ''glacies ''Glacies'' is a genus of moths in the family Geometridae erected by Pierre Millière in 1874. Species * ''Glacies alpinata'' (Scopoli, 1763) * ''Glacies alticolaria'' (Mann, 1853) * ''Glacies baldensis'' (W ...
and etymology) to establish the name of Aneto as the official toponym; by 1898, he referred to it only by this name.


History

Some 2 km away on its north-west fringe lies the Maladeta peak that, though not being among the five highest peaks in the environment, gave its name to the entire massif. It subsequently earned the greatest interest of climbers, especially in the early 18th century. Mainly, it was a matter of perspective, since from the natural entrance to the valley or arriving from France, its top is in the foreground, while the crest hides the true extent of its eastern neighbor, taller and with larger glaciers. Only when reached the top of the Maladeta in 1817, came the realisation that both Aneto as well as its neighbours the Pico del Medio, the Punta Astorg, the Pico Maldito and la Aguja Schmidt Endell towered higher. Until then, the
Monte Perdido Monte Perdido (in Spanish; Mont Perdu in French language, French; Mont Perdito in Aragonese language, Aragonese; Mont Perdut in Catalan language, Catalan, all four meaning ''lost mountain'') is the third highest mountain in the Pyrenees. The summi ...

Monte Perdido
had been considered the highest. However, the uncovering of the highest point of the Pyrenees had hardly been accomplished when the mountain began to earn a reputation, as several glacial disasters, some fatal, dissipated the interest in crowning it - notably with the death of Luchon Barrau, considered the dean and leading expert in the area. He fell in a crack in the ice on Maladeta. This caused a real shock and the natives, already very fearful of venturing on the glacier, became genuinely scared of the mountain which they considered cursed.


Geography

Aneto rises to above sea level in the centre of the Pyrenees mountain range. It lies entirely in Spain, just south of the main ridge of the Pyrenees and the border between France and Spain. The peak lies in the north-east of the
province of Huesca Huesca ( an, Uesca, ca, Osca), officially Huesca/Uesca, is a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnati ...
above the town of
Benasque Benasque (; in Benasquese dialect{{Infobox language , name = Benasquese , nativename = ''benasqués, patués'' , pronunciation = , states = Aragon, Spain , region = Ribagorza (comarca), Ribagorza, Campo, Aragon, Campo, ...

Benasque
, Aneto occupies the eastern end of the Malditos Massif which primarily consists of a 6 km long ridge, running from north-west to south east at over 3000m. The ridge connects Aneto towards the east with the more visible Maladeta peak, further to the west, and includes the Coronas peaks and Pico Maldito, which, together with the crest of the portillons, gives the massif its characteristic image. Although the valley to the north is the source of the
Ésera The Ésera (), is a tributary of the Cinca (Spain), Cinca in the High Aragon. It is part of the valley of the Ebro and its drainage basin. Its etymology is Celtic languages, Celtic and it is cognate with several European rivers: Isar, Jizera (rive ...
river, which flows west and then south, the northern slopes of Aneto and its glacier drain into a sinkhole in the Plan de Aigualluts and flow underground to the east where they resurface to empty into the
Aran Valley Aran (; ; ) (previously officially called in Occitan Val d'Aran, Catalan: ''Vall d'Aran'', Spanish: ''Valle de Arán'') is an administrative entity (formerly considered a comarca A ''comarca'' (, or ) is a traditional region or local administr ...

Aran Valley
and the
Garonne The Garonne (, also , ; Occitan language , Occitan, Catalan language , Catalan, Basque language, Basque, and es, Garona, ; la, Garumna or ) is a river of southwest France and northern Spain. It flows from the central Spanish Pyrenees to the ...

Garonne
river, flowing north into
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
and the . The waters of the western and southern sides, flow into the Coronas and Llosas lakes respectively before draining separately into the river Ballibierna, which flows into the Esera, then the Cinca before joining the
Ebro , name_etymology = , image = Zaragoza shel.JPG , image_size = , image_caption = The Ebro River in Zaragoza , map = SpainEbroBasin.png , map_size = , map_caption = The Ebro r ...
and flowing to the Mediterranean. Thus although Aneto does not lie on the main ridge of the Pyrenees, it does lie on the watershed between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean.


Glaciers

This agglomeration of summits, all markedly
Alpine Alpine may refer to: Places * Alps, a European mountain range * Alpine states, associated with the mountain range, or relating to any lofty mountain areas * Mountainous or alpine; the mountains. Australia * Alpine, New South Wales, a Northern Vill ...
, is the birthplace of what were once the largest glaciers in the Pyrenees, which stretched up to the mouth of the Congosto Ventamillo with depths of ice several hundred metres thick. Today,
global warming Contemporary climate change includes both the global warming caused by humans, and its impacts on Earth's weather patterns. There have been previous periods of climate change, but the current changes are more rapid than any known even ...

global warming
has reduced the portentous mass to eleven glaciers that total only three hundred acres. No one knows for sure when the melting process began but despite a slight advance in the '50s it has now accelerated rapidly, and it is expected that the Aneto
permafrost Permafrost is ground that continuously remains below 0 °C (32 °F) for two or more years, located on land or under the ocean The ocean (also the or the world ocean) is the body of that covers approximately 70.8% of the surfa ...

permafrost
and the glaciers of the Pyrenees could disappear around the middle of the 21st century. The Aneto-Maladeta massif sustains a total of 286 acres' surface, representing more than half of all the glaciers in Spain - all of which being located in the Pyrenees. There are three glaciers on the slopes of the mountain: the oldest, Aneto glacier on the north side; the Barrancos, alongside the Las Tempestades on the north-east side; and the Maladetas glacier on the north side (under the
Maladeta Maladeta (3,312 m) is a mountain in the Pyrenees The Pyrenees (; es, Pirineos ; french: Pyrénées ; ca, Pirineus ; eu, Pirinioak ; oc, Pirenèus ; an, Pirineus) is a mountain range straddling the border of and . It extends nearly from it ...

Maladeta
peak). The rest cannot truly be defined as glaciers without contention, as they have lost all mobility and do not behave as such. Among these are the Cregüella, Alba and Salenques glaciers, which are in a major state of decline. However, even considering them as snowfields, their past glacier state has kept them to date and they are expected to maintain their icy heart for decades.


Climbing

The mountain's ascent is usually made from the Renclusa Refuge (2,140 m). From there, the itinerary traverses the longest part of the
glacier A glacier (; ) is a persistent body of dense ice Ice is into a state. Depending on the presence of such as particles of soil or bubbles of air, it can appear transparent or a more or less bluish-white color. In the , ice is abunda ...

glacier
that extends to the north of the peak. The summit is defended by a short rocky passage called the Bridge of Mohammed. It is a narrow ridge of large, stable blocks, with an exposed drop on either side. At the summit is an impressive cross and a contrasting view, with the snow-covered Maladeta massif north-west and the Alto Aragon region to the south. The usual ascent is a very easy although long (12-hour) alpine route. It is taken by many people each year, including many with little or no experience of alpine climbing or high level walking. The high number of people who come to climb Aneto each year makes a significant contribution to the local economy. The vast majority of the people staying at the Renclusa Refuge are there solely to climb Aneto. By comparison many of the adjacent peaks, which are arguably finer climbs, see relatively few ascents and are comparatively quiet.


First ascent

On 18 July 1842, Platon de Tchihatcheff (Чихачёв, Chikhachev), a former Russian officer vacationing in Luchon, left from
Bagnères-de-Luchon Bagnères-de-Luchon (; oc, Banhèras de Luishon), also referred to as just Luchon, is a commune An intentional community is a voluntary residential community designed from the start to have a high degree of group cohesiveness, social coh ...
accompanied by guides Pierre Sanio de Luz, Luchonnais Bernard Arrazau and Pierre Redonnet. Also in the party were Albert de Franqueville, a Norman botanist, and his guide, Jean Sors. They took the trail from the Hospice de France, crossed the Benasque Pass, then spent the night at the La Renclusa shelter, a simple construction of dry rocks that is now a large mountain refuge. The next day, they crossed a pass towards Alba pass and lost their way on the south slope around Lake Gregueña. Late in the day, at the end of their strength, they took refuge for the night in a cabin near the Vallibierna valley. As the sun rose the next morning, the group left for the Coroné pass. Despite a fear of crevasses, they decided to approach the summit by the glacier. After climbing a ridge only a few metres wide (named the "Bridge of Muhammad" by Albert de Franqueville as it is believed, according to a Muslim legend that says that the entrance to Paradise is as narrow as the blade of a scimitar on which only the righteous pass), they reached the summit on 20 July 1842, where they constructed a
cairn A cairn is a man-made pile (or stack) of stones. The word ''cairn'' comes from the gd, càrn (plural ). Cairns have been and are used for a broad variety of purposes, from prehistoric times to the present. In modern times, cairns are often ...

cairn
and left a bottle containing each climber's name. Tchihatcheff wanted to open a more direct route back across the glacier, but his companions flatly refused, forcing him to yield. Four days later he performed a second ascent with another group, pursuing the same objective that his first companions had denied him. On crossing the Portillon, in view of the cracks that furrowed the glacier, a mutiny almost started, but finally, after everyone tied themselves to a big rope, they crossed the chasms and the passage of Muhammad was defeated a second time. Thereafter Aneto entered into the dynamics of dissemination and popularization of the Pyrenees peaks. In France, its ascension became a great classic and every spring tourist to Bagneres de Luchon had to try it. Henry Spont wrote a book reflecting on this experience, simply titled Le Néthou, describing the trip, the schedule and recommended equipment.


First winter ascent

The first winter ascent of the mountain was achieved on 1 March 1878 by Roger de Monts, B. Courrèges, and B. and V. Paget.


First sea to summit ascent

Starting from the Atlantic ocean, unresupplied and unsupported, Louis-Philippe Loncke reached the summit on day 25 of his crossing of the Pyrenees (August 19, 2020).


Flora

The uniqueness of the massif and its appeal has led to the virtual abandonment of farming activities, replaced by tourism. The flora of the environment, therefore, has been impeccably conserved, especially on hillsides and massifs, where the forests remain in their primary state.


Upper Alpine

This layer, which reaches 3,404 metres above sea level, is the one that presents greatest difficulties for the development of life. The harsh weather conditions that the plants have to endure at the top of the peaks, ridges and crests, require the development of an extraordinary resilience. There are a number of factors to endure such as strong
insolation Solar irradiance is the power Power typically refers to: * Power (physics) In physics, power is the amount of energy transferred or converted per unit time. In the International System of Units, the unit of power is the watt, equal to one j ...

insolation
, low temperatures and short growing seasons in the presence of snow most of the year. Totally devoid of woody vegetation, it is colonized by more than 100 plant species, including lichens, mosses, succulents and microscopic algae. Among the flora present are the ''
Androsace ''Androsace'', commonly known as rock jasmine, is a genus of flowering plants in the family (biology), family Primulaceae, second only to ''Primula'' in the number of species. It is predominantly Arctic–alpine, with many species in the Himalay ...
Vandelli'', which is found at 2,800 metres, and the ''
Silene acaulis ''Silene acaulis'', known as moss campion or cushion pink, is a small mountain-dwelling wildflower A wildflower (or wild flower) is a flower A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom Image:Cerisier du Japon Prunus serrulata.jpg, ...

Silene acaulis
''. Eduardo Viñuales, ''Guía Total: Pirineo Aragonés'', editions Anaya, 1st édition, April 2001,
Madrid Madrid ( , ) is the capital and most populous city of Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo de España (mazonado).svg , national_motto = , national_anthem = , image_ ...

Madrid
, . .
20% of these species are endemic to the Pyrenees.


Air traffic boundary

An aviation intersection called ANETO exists very close to the mountain itself, exactly on the border of France and Spain. For pilots crossing the Pyrenees this intersection marks the boundary between the
Bordeaux Bordeaux ( , ; Gascon language, Gascon oc, Bordèu ) is a port city on the river Garonne in the Gironde Departments of France, department in Southwestern France. The municipality (Communes of France, commune) of Bordeaux proper has a popula ...

Bordeaux
and
Barcelona Barcelona ( , , ) is a city on the coast of northeastern Spain. It is the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Catalonia, as well as the second most populous municipality of Spain. With a population of 1.6 million within ci ...

Barcelona
airspace Airspace is the portion of the atmosphere controlled by a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are or ...

airspace
s.


See also

*
List of Pyrenean three-thousanders This list contains all of the Pyrenean three-thousanders, namely the 129 mountain summits of three-thousanders, or more above sea level in the Pyrenees, a mountain range, range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between F ...


References


External links

*
Info on Climbing AnetoInformation on the glaciers of the Aneto-Maladeta area
{{Authority control Mountains of Aragon Mountains of the Pyrenees Pyrenean three-thousanders