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BLOG | NEWS | 02 August 2016

La Renclusa Mountain Hut, 100th Anniversary (1916–2016).

August 5th marks the centenary for La Renclusa, the mountain hut that lies below the highest peak in the Pyrenees.

Exhibition celebrating the 100th anniversary of La Renclusa mountain hut, in Benasque
This year, August 5th marks the 100th anniversary of a very special mountain hut: La Renclusa, which lies at the foot of the highest mountain in the Pyrenees, Aneto(3,404 m/11,168 ft), in the Massif de la Maladeta.

The village of Benasque is celebrating this centenary with a photographic exhibition of 130 images, which give an insight into the history of the valley, the hut, the imprint of man and the mountain scenery.

Benasque means a great deal to us, here at Barrabes, because it is home to the first Barrabes store. For this reason, we would like to share a brief history of La Renclusa hut with our readers.
This brief history is divided into two parts: the first describes the period from 1870 to 1915, before La Renclusa we know today had been constructed, when a cave and small hut were used for shelter. The second part is the history of the hut from 1916 to the present day.
A History of La Renclusa, by Antonio Merino Mora
www.llanosdelhospital.com             www.fundacion-hospital-benasque.org
L’Ancllusa/La Renclusa, from 1870 to 1915. A shelter to mountaineers for 45 years.

The present day La Renclusa hut was built a hundred years ago, in 1916. However, the area was used as a shelter long before that.

Before mountaineers had even discovered this area, it was frequented by shepherds and hunters from the nearby villages and they would shelter in a small hut (la Plleta), built into a cave. This hut still exists today and is owned by the village of Benasque. The cave also contains a shrine, dedicated to the Virgen de las Nieves (virgin of the snow). The first mountaineers to explore this area were from Luchon, in the French Pyrenees and at that time the hut was already known as La Renclusa de la Maladeta. In 1842, it was used for shelter by the first mountaineers to conquer Aneto, the highest peak in the Pyrenees.

The Plleta, used by shepherds, hunters and guides
Soon after this first ascent, La Renclusa became a popular shelter among the aristocracy and high French bourgeoisie who wanted to ascend Aneto and other peaks in the Massif de las Maladetas. A number of small expeditions were organized from nearby Luchon and it is recorded that, in September 1855, as many as 34 mountain enthusiasts spent the night in the hut.

In 1870, La Renclusa was rebuilt to offer greater warmth and comfort. In 1871 the well known French explorer, Henry Russell, took refuge there after being caught in a storm. He described the hut as having four mattresses, a fire, crockery, a wash-basin and clean towels.

L'Ancllusa/La Renclusa 1916 – 2016. A modern hut at 2.145m, at the foot of Aneto (3.404m)

La Renclusa, photographed 100 years ago
Construction of the current mountain hut began in 1912-1913. Some twenty workers from Benasque village erected the hut in extremely tough conditions, and La Renclusa was finally opened on August 5th 1916.

During the Spanish Civil War, La Renclusa suffered severe damage and was re-constructed in 1951. Since then it has been modernised and extended to offer greater capacity to the increasing number of mountaineers who visit the area.

La Renclusa is a reference point for climbers and mountaineers from all over the world and an ideal base for climbers, ski tourers, trekkers and mountaineers exploring the highest mountains of the Pyrenees range.

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