The 22nd stage of the Trans-Pyrenees Crossing will allow you to discover the beautiful Ratera Valley and the sensational Colomers Cirque. From the Sant Maurici Lake you will go up the Ratera Valley until reaching the port's namesake. You will usually advance on high mountain paths that are well defined and only occasionally on dirt tracks used by the national park's 4x4 taxis. After passing the port of Ratera you will descend until reaching Colomers Refuge, which is located in a wonderful place right next to Major de Colomers Lake, one of the forty-eight lakes in the area.
High (F). Stage that runs through high mountain terrain. In winter conditions, the technical difficulty of the stage increases considerably.
In winter and spring, you will encounter snow and ice.
No special equipment required.
Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park. 1:25.000. Editorial Alpina.
Topographic base of Catalonia 1:25.000. Geological and Cartographic Institute of Catalonia (ICGC).
Let's begin the 22nd stage of the Trans-Pyrenees Crossing to the (1) Ernest Mallafré Refuge (0:00 - 1,893m). From the refuge you will descend until reaching Sant Maurici Lake and you will head to its eastern end. At this point you have two alternatives: you can choose to follow the strict path of the GR 11, which runs along the dirt road that climbs up the mountainside, or occasionally you can leave the GR 11 and take the first path that first goes around the lake on its northern shore, goes up along the beautiful Ratera waterfall and connects again with the GR 11 trail just above the waterfall. In any case, after about 40 minutes you will reach the top part of the Ratera Waterfall, and almost immediately, following the trail westwards, you will arrive at (2) Ratera Lake (0:55 - 2,134m).
Continue on the trail that goes around the lake to the left and ascends a few meters until reaching Ratera Pond. At this point you will definitely leave the dirt track (that continues towards the right to Amitges Lake and Refuge) and you will take the path that goes to the left, going up the Ratera Valley. You will pass by the side of Obagues de Ratera Lake and continue the ascent to Ratera Port, a mountain pass you will have to go through and that you will clearly distinguish the bottom (NW). You will arrive at the Port de Ratera Lake and hike the last meters going up to (3) Ratera Port (2:30 - 2,594m). You now find yourself at the highest point of the stage, a spectacular place that offers incredible views of the Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park. Towards the SE, you can see the entire Ratera Valley and the Encantats, and to the right, towards the NE, you can enjoy a marvellous panoramic of the Saboredo Lake and its surrounding mountains. You are right at the feet of Ratera Peak (2,862m, SW), one of the great mountains of this area in the Pyrenees.
From Ratera Port you will continue the stage straight towards the NW. Leave behind to the right the path that would take you to the Saboredo Refuge and begin to descend to the Colomers set of lakes. The view is wonderful: dozens of lakes, ponds and streams surrounded by great mountains! Pass by the side of the beautiful Obago Lake and continue towards Redon Lake and Long Lake. Go over a small hill and go down a few meters until reaching Major de Colomers Lake, where you will find (4) Colomers Refuge (4:15 - 2,138m).
Walking through the Ratera Valley from Sant Maurici Lake until reaching the top.
The main feature is water during the entire stage: lakes, waterfalls, streams,...
The great views of the Saboredo group of lakes that you will have from the port of Ratera.
Spending a night in the cirque of Colomers.
The current Colomers Refuge began operating in 2008? This shelter replaced the old one, which was located right next to the dam that closes the Major de Colomers Lake on its northern end. It is interesting to see the bathroom in the old shelter, which hangs above the lake in a small wooden cabin that was only accessible down some ladders.
Just after passing Ratera Pond, detour a few minutes from the GR 11 route (about 400m) and visit the viewpoint at Sant Maurici Lake. This viewpoint offers an exceptional view of Sant Maurici Lake from its western side.