This is not a fast run given the steepness of the climbs and the rock-hopping required along the way but incredibly fun, especially up top on the ridge where you feel wild and free. The descent from the ridge back to Nuria, with its more runnable terrain, is pure joy 🙂
Description: This run starts from the parking lot in Queralbs (90min drive from Girona), ascending about 700m over 6,5km to Nuria. From there you climb/traverse another 4km before beginning a 1.000m ascent to the peak of Puigmal at 2.910m, one of the highest peaks in the eastern Pyrenees. The next 10km is up/down ridge running and rock-hopping with a few snowfield crossings along the way (as of mid-June). The ridge is exposed: benign in terms of fall-risk but dangerous if caught in a lightening storm so be sure to check the weather before heading out. The ridge tracks along the GR-11 trail before dropping back down to Nuria and reversing the initial trail from Queralbs to Nuria (also the GR-11).
There were quite a bit of hikers and runners up to Nuria (a trolley runs from Queralbs to Nuria so a lot of folks take it up and hike down, or vice versa) but I didn’t pass a single person up on the ridge. You are up top for a while (in my case almost 3 hours as it’s fairly slow moving) but I did notice a couple paths along the way that appeared to descend back to Nuria so if there was trouble it seems you could exit and start an earlier descent (double-check this though). There is water in/near Nuria but not up top, so make sure you have enough.
Gear & Fuel: I had in my running vest a windbreaker (which I used), rain shell, emergency bivvy and emergency headlamp. I also had a reservoir with 1,5 litres of water, 2x 500ml water bottles with water & tailwind, 1 banana and 2 bars.
Route & GPS: I used the Wikiloc app and below route. The coordinates and waypoints were good for the most part. When there were discrepancies it was easy to understand where to go. Their route had almost 1.000m more in elevation gain, which I couldn’t account for.