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Taxed in Andorra

June 27, 2013

Perturbed from unexpectedly harsh conditions in Croatia the previous week, we realized that attempting a peak 1100 meters taller would be a tough ascent. We were already locked in, having booked tickets to Barcelona, and a rental car reserved to drive to Andorra. So on Saturday we flew to Barcelona from Prague and drove to the ski resort of Arinsal in Andorra, near the trailhead that we would begin our hike from. To reach the trailhead from Arinsal, drive the main road to a tunnel, go through the tunnel and turn right at the apartments at the end, park opposite them and the odd-looking dam thing.

The next morning it was hot and sunny, and combined with the steep trail became quite tiring. After a couple miles we came to packed snow with streams running under it. It slowed our progress a little. After a couple hours my dad was in front of me, and he fell through a snow bridge. Below, a stream flowed with snowmelt. My dad was stopped from being swept under the snow with the stream by a rock that he cut his leg on. Bleeding quite a bit, we stopped at a small snowy basin with a lake for a break.

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At this point we were both getting quite tired, but not ready to give up yet we vowed to make it to the Refugi Comapedrosa which was not far away. At the saddle where the refuge is we had lunch and evaluated the situation. The face ahead of us that we had to climb was 1500 or so feet of pretty steep snow. After looking at the map we realized we were halfway to the peak and decided to turn back.

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The next morning we drove to a trailhead near Andorra la Vella and did a little hike to the Roc d’Esquers where there is a fun via ferrata and a sport climbing area. Unfortunately we did not have gear to do the ferrata.

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On Tuesday morning we drove back to Barcelona, after a bit of a wait in a customs queue at the border… making sure that people were not smuggling tax-free Andorran cigs to Spain. In the afternoon and Wednesday morning we toured Barcelona and the flew back to Prague.

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