Aneto, Spain

Otherworldly Aneto: Elusive turns in the Pyrenees

Aneto no es lo mismo,” scowled Juanito Oiarzabal into his glass of Patxaran. 

Aneto isn’t the same.

Sitting in the cramped dining hall of Refugio la Renclusa, it’s hard to grasp exactly what he’s getting at. Aside from the kitchen, the old wood stove in the corner is still the only thing heating this place, accented by sweaty base layers fogging up every window. Generations of black-and-white photos line the wood-paneled walls, a living museum of straight skis and sketchy mountaineering contraptions. Ask for Wi-Fi here and you might get a two-minute call on a crackly landline (it’ll likely cost you a shot). If the midmountain shelter was the only indicator of change, I’d argue that Aneto had been perfectly unchanged for decades.

But, the fact is, the sun-worn Spanish mountain guide is right.

For one, the glacier that once proudly crowned the mountain has halved in size during the last century, a victim of the rapid climate change some experts say will kill it entirely by 2050…

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