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Thursday, 5 July 2018

Cerro San Lorenzo


Walk Summary
At 2271m with a 1127m prominence Pico San Lorenzo is both the highest and most prominent point I have reached under my own steam to date. With not managing to fit in Almanzor later this trip Pico San Lorenzo will be the most prominent point reached although will manage to ascend to 2428m on Pico de Peñalara.
Driving up LR-416 towards Valdezcaray ski resort,
Pico San Lorenzo beyond
This being the case I was anticipating an element of adventure. Turns out I was not disappointed.
Not so much by the summit ascent. With a start at 1959m at Collado de San Lorenzo the walk start was already nearly 250m higher than the previous highest point reached on Castro Valnera only four days ago and a straight forward walk up clearly marked path, not shown on IGN, heading due north first around the east side of the 2056m spot height over Alto de Bogolrrucia then continuing up to Pico San Lorenzo summit. The return was by the same route so not much opportunity for adventure here

The adventure was first on the journey to the planned start point. The IGN showed the LR-415 then LR-416 all the way from Ezcaray passing Valdezcary ski resort then on to Collado de San Lorenzo.
Lorry waiting for me to move van. Exit route to the south
ascending left to right below Pico Salineros
However at Valdezcary the tarmac road ended continuing as a compressed stone track. As it turned out the track is suitable for a road vehicle all the way to the Collado and without any signs to the contrary assumed it was permissible for road vehicles. It was not until near the collado that I saw a sign prohibiting vehicular access 'excepto Vehiculos Autorizados'. It was facing the opposite way I had come so I continued to walk start point and parked in an unconspicuous spot behind some stacked logs. This ended up being the second cause for anxiety as on the descent I could see a lorry fully loaded lorry with logs waiting patiently near my van. I rushed the final part of the descent and apologised to the driver for blocking his access, but he did not seem too bothered giving the impression he was happy to wait.
Pleased to see Embalse de Mansilla from track
south of Pico San Lorenzo.
Still lots of careful driving ahad before reaching LR-113
Now comes the final and third cause for anxiety - the descent in the van. Respecting the sign not to go back the way I had come but using it as justification in my mind to continue south in the direction of any campsite near the next planned summits around Sierra de Neila I continued along the track around Pico Salineros rising to just over 200m before commencing the descent to the LR-113 on the north shore of Embalse de Mansilla. The track was heavily rutted in a number of places and it was this part of the journey that made it an adventure in the true sense of the word. I did drive over each one them very carefully and slowly not knowing if the next one would be the one to cause me to abandon the descent and return the much longer way round. Taking more than 30 minutes to cover the 8km from the Collado de San Lorenzo tp the LR-115 I was most relieved to be back on tarmac albeit in a very dusty van. Otherwise I would be returning the way I had come looking for camping near Ezcaray resulting in not making it to Camping Arlanza ready for next summits of Campiña and Pico de Urbión.
If you do not want to drive on the rough roads you can park at 
Valdezcary ski resort. Once again there is not a path marked on the map to the summit, but I can confirm there is a route. Exactly at the same time I approached the summit I saw another hiker approaching from the opposite direction. He was a local called Cesar who spoke very good English explained he had in fact come up via this route. 
Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 05 July 2018
Walkers - Steve Smith
Start Point - Collado de San Lorenzo (N42°13'26.675" W2°58'37.914")
Start Time - 16:30
Finish Point - Collado de San Lorenzo (N42°13'26.675" W2°58'37.914")
Finish Time- 17:43
Total Duration - 1hrs 12mins 
Overall Average pace - 1.73mph
Total Distance Walked - 2.08 miles
Total Height Ascended - 292.40metres

Peaks visited
Spain/Portugal 600m Prominence Peaks (168S - 185S&P - 2165E)
Cerro San Lorenzo (11S - 12S&P - 40E)
Spain/Portugal 300m - 599m Prominence Peaks (1000+)
NONE
Spain/Portugal 150m - 299m Prominence Peaks (3000+)
NONE
Spain Autonomous Community High Points (19)
Cerro San Lorenzo (1)
Spain Province High Points (52)
Cerro San Lorenzo (1)
S: Spain
P: Portugal
E:Europe

Other walks on this trip
2018
June
28th Eretza
29th Mortillano
July
03rd El Cueto
05th La Cotorra
05th Cerro San Lorenzo
06th Campiña
09th Lobo
12th Pico de Peñalara
14th Cerro del Cabezo
16th Cruces
25th La Rhune
Route

More Photographs
Nothing but mountains to the west from Collado de San Lorenzo
Click on photograph to view slide-show

La Cotorra


Walk Summary
Medievil walled town of Frias, just one of the many interesting
places you can come across whilst driving to walk start points
After three good days at Camping Rio Nela, including the P600's of La Tesla and El Cueto, not to mention England beating Columbia on penalties to reach the last 8 of World Cup 2018, it is finally time to head further south.
But first I am going to stop off for La Cotorra - The Parrott, the third P600 which can be reasonably reached from this fine campsite. On the way I came across what looks to be the interesting medieval village of Frias. Looks like there is a castle, church, walled town and possibly a convent all set in spectacular scenery, but it is going to have to wait until I am joined by Gina.

Because I am on the move today I have decided to take the easy option and approach from the east after parking in the the isolated village of Cubilla de la Sierra. On arrival I ask a local if it was OK to park in the main square and once again proved a good test of my limited Spanish, Also once again the guy was only too pleased to help, including taking the time to show me his US army jeep which I think he was offering to get out and take me up the route he was trying to explain.
Take path off to left from Carretera Frias before the farm buildings
The plan was to walk up to the farm NE of the village and find access to the east ridge from there. The information gleaned was to fork off the access track to the farm early and loop round to the east of the farm heading for the summit ridge then following an easy route all the way to the summit. Taking this advice and following the vague path on the ground up an easy gully I soon reached the ridge and followed the province boundary that looked to be marked with trees at regular intervals.
Two guys appeared in front of me from the right just before the summit which suggests there is an access route from the north starting probably from Orbañanos. As they seemed to hang around the summit for ages I decided to bypass it and head for the 42°44' 06''N, 03°11'42''W given in www.peakbagger.com. This appeared to be still within the 1470m contour ring but approx 75m from the summit near the large pylon supporting a cross over a pillar - 42°44' 04.652''N, 03°11'40.124''W.
Head down hill through trees towards Cubilla de la Sierra
with Humión on left below La Cotorra and El Alto on the right
As expected the ascent was easy and really I should have gone back that way. However spotting an interesting path down craggy terrain at the west end and also seeing the wooded valley bounded by the summit horseshoe with El Alto south of La Cotorra I decided to make it a circular route returning back to Cubilla de la Sierra via the SLC-BU 93. A little more demanding than the ascent but nothing too onerous.
Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 05 July 2018
Walkers - Steve Smith
Accommodation - Camping Rio Nela, Trespardene 
Start Point - Main square Calle el Horno, Cubilla de la Sierra (N42°43'12.134" W3°10'44.428")
Start Time - 09:56
Finish Point - Main square Calle el Horno, Cubilla de la Sierra (N42°43'12.134" W3°10'44.428")
Finish Time- 12:15
Total Duration - 2hrs 19mins 
Overall Average pace - 1.83mph
Total Distance Walked - 4.23 miles
Total Height Ascended - 440.80metres

Peaks visited
Spain/Portugal 600m Prominence Peaks (168S - 185S&P - 2165E)
La Cotorra (10S - 11S&P - 39E)
Spain/Portugal 300m - 599m Prominence Peaks (1000+)
NONE
Spain/Portugal 150m - 299m Prominence Peaks (3000+)
NONE
Spain Autonomous Community High Points (19)
NONE
Spain Province High Points (52)
NONE
S: Spain
P: Portugal
E:Europe

Other walks on this trip
2018
June
28th Eretza
29th Mortillano
July
03rd El Cueto
05th La Cotorra
05th Cerro San Lorenzo
06th Campiña
09th Lobo
12th Pico de Peñalara
14th Cerro del Cabezo
16th Cruces
25th La Rhune
Route


More Photographs
Path down west side of La Cotorra, over next hill at 1409m then down left side turning left again and down through trees
Click on photograph to view slide-show

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

El Cueto


Walk Summary
El Cueto 1362m, P644 situated in Espacio Natural Montes Obarenes. Translates to Rocky Hill, certainly lives up to it's name. Hardest (best) day of trip so far. Careful route finding around 100m sheer cliffs north and below Alto de la Mota. Grade III scramble up final gully and 1319m spot height to gain Alto de la Mota ridge. Bushwacked good and proper to the extent I had to give up 300m short of summit approached from the SE. Returned to track (usually best to stay on a track, the lessons come quick and fast on this trip!) to follow it south of the summit and double back to access up path to radio mast from the NW which was conveniently fenced off below the summit. Spectacular views to the north over sheer drop. Returned back the way I came. 15.52km with 914.3m of ascent in 5hrs 12mins.
Once again ended up walking in hot afternoon sun. 
Feel like I am going to need a rest day tomorrow to recover. Seems I am only going to manage one summit per day unless there is a very short walk in or I can avoid the afternoon sun. Mind you out of the eight walking days available so far I have managed six major summits so not really doing too bad. Having not walked in hot summer conditions like this before it is quite clear that walking in what you would consider 'good' weather can be more problematic than walking in cold 'bad' weather. Really important to keep yourself hydrated and electrolytes in balance.

Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 03 July 2018
Walkers - Steve Smith
Start Point - Opposite access path to El Collado on A-4324 to Sobrón Alto (N42°46'18" W3°6'26")
Start Time - 10:35
Finish Point Under BI-636 flyover near La Quadra do Arriba (N43°13'29" W3°1'1")
Finish Time- 15:48
Total Duration - 5hrs 13mins 
Overall Average pace - 1.85mph
Total Distance Walked - 9.64 miles
Total Height Ascended - 914.30metres

Peaks visited
Spain/Portugal 600m Prominence Peaks (168S - 185S&P - 2165E)
El Cueto (9S - 10S&P - 38E)
Spain/Portugal 300m - 599m Prominence Peaks (1000+)
NONE
Spain/Portugal 150m - 299m Prominence Peaks (3000+)
NONE
Spain Autonomous Community High Points (19)
NONE
Spain Province High Points (52)
NONE
S: Spain
P: Portugal

Other walks on this trip
2018
June
28th Eretza
29th Mortillano
July
03rd El Cueto
05th La Cotorra
05th Cerro San Lorenzo
06th Campiña
09th Lobo
12th Pico de Peñalara
14th Cerro del Cabezo
16th Cruces
25th La Rhune

Route

More Photographs
Spectacular views to the east towards Alto de la Mota from El Cueto summit
Click on photograph to view slide-show

Monday, 2 July 2018

La Tesla - Peña Corba


Walk Summary
Could have stopped off on way from Camping Las Isla but timings
La Tesla taken from N-232 on way to
Camping Rio Nela at Trespaderne
would have meant an ascent in afternoon sun and the hottest part of the day, risking setting off again what I think had been a touch of heat exhaustion brought on by afternoon walks up Ganekorgorta and Mortillano. So I decided to be 'sensible'; stock up supplies on way through Medina de Pomar, set up camp at Camping Rio Nela and return back along the N-629 to 
Medina de Pomar and head to walk start point at Barruelo early evening.

Setting off later than intended I incurred a further delay driving towards Barruelo on the Carreta Rural BU-V-5505 by clashing wing mirrors with an oncoming van. Seems the road was narrower than we both thought, so after a bit of sign language, pigeon Spanish and shrugging of shoulders we seemed to agree it was nobodies fault or maybe both our faults.
Climb over gate in gap and stay on path for now
Hope there will be enough daylight to get up and down. I did manage to save a bit of time by following a track out from the east of Barruelo saving about 500m walking each way. Then following a main track up the course of a feeder stream to Rio Nela to a gated gap in the Retuerto ridge line. The path continued round the back to the west tempting me to stay on it rather than head up the first steeper shoulder to the summit ridge.
Descent route due  north from La Tesla summit, slightly
east of ascent route then head for gap with gate below
Eventually I turned right off the path up hill and came across some marker tapes that I think had been set up as route finding aids by a local event. Once on the summit ridge I first went to the westerly 1333m spot height before heading for the 1333m spot height marked by the trig pillar and current summit.
Seemed strange being on a summit at 8:15pm in just shorts and vest but it was very pleasantly warm with nearly 2 hours of daylight to get down. Having taken 1½ hours to reach the summit, 650m of ascent in just over 3km, there will be no problem to get back down with plenty of daylight.
Heading due north and down hill from the trig pillar you could very soon see the gated gap in the Retuerto ridge and from the grassy slope very soon found the markers on the ascent route back down the shoulder to the path, the gap and then the track all the way back to the van.

Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 02 July 2018
Walkers - Steve Smith
Accommodation - Camping Rio Nela, Trespardene 
Start Point - Track junction 500m east of Barruelo (N42°52'44.283" W3°31'51.482")
Start Time - 18:38
Finish Point - Track junction 500m east of Barruelo (N42°52'44.283" W3°31'51.482")
Finish Time- 21:25
Total Duration - 2hrs 47mins 
Overall Average pace - 1.30mph
Total Distance Walked - 3.63 miles
Total Height Ascended - 638.90metres

Peaks visited
Spain/Portugal 600m Prominence Peaks (168S - 185S&P - 2165E)
La Tesla - Peña Corba (8S - 9S&P - 37E)
Spain/Portugal 300m - 599m Prominence Peaks (1000+)
NONE
Spain/Portugal 150m - 299m Prominence Peaks (3000+)
NONE
Spain Autonomous Community High Points (19)
NONE
Spain Province High Points (52)
NONE
S: Spain
P: Portugal
E:Europe

Other walks on this trip
2018
June
28th Eretza
29th Mortillano
July
02nd La Tesla - Peña Corba
03rd El Cueto
05th La Cotorra
05th Cerro San Lorenzo
06th Campiña
09th Lobo
12th Pico de Peñalara
14th Cerro del Cabezo
16th Cruces
25th La Rhune
Route
More Photographs
Looking towards La Tesla trig pillar, from 1333m spot height to the west ,also on a 1333m spot height
Click on photograph to view slide-show

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Castro Valnera


Walk Summary
Dd not expect to see any snow in Spain this low in July,
around 1400m
Low cloud but patchy giving a bit of warm sunshine but not too much.
After nudging my progressive high point to 1411m on Mortillano two days ago, blew it away this time on Castro Valnera 1718m, P866.
Walked only 7.21km with 649m of ascent so have ascended more for smaller hills - it's all relative. The bonus was being able to drive 3km from the BU-572 to El Bernacho saving 6km of walking overall.
Even found snow in Spain in JULY!
This is the only summit I managed from the base at Camping La Isla though with hindsight I could have saved myself a long drive back to 
Camping Playa Arenillas, Islares after Mortillano had I planned out my campsites better, but with the downside being having to set up a new camp after what was a fairly tough day. So you pays your money and make your choice.
From Camping La Isla I really wanted a route up Castro Valnera from the south rather than the more popular northern access and the CA-643. The best I could manage was from the west off the BU-572 but in addition to the encouraging sign to the summit; the track from the info board to El Bernacho, with a little care at a couple of rutted areas, was firm enough to take a standard road vehicle and more importantly my camper van, close to where the footpath starts through woodland all the way to the collado and 1444m spot height, saving a 3km walk in and 3km walk out.
As the path turns right and NW
cairns start to confirm on right path to summit
There is a marked path on the IGN 1:25000 from El Bernacho to the 1444m which is easy to follow on the ground. The plan was then to continue to the province boundary and turn right up the ridge all the way to Casta Valnera summit. However shortly after the 1444m col I noticed a well defined path at N43°08'21.357" W3°40'48.623" turning back on itself from the main path that after a slight scramble contoured around the SE shoulder of Castro Valnera between 1500m and 1550m before turning 90° to the right after approx. 400m over grass marked by cairns and onto exposed sloping rock. This seemed a better option on the day as I was not 100% certain there would be an ascent path along the province boundary as well as cloud starting to gather on and above the col area. 
Cloud clearing at just the right moment to reveal 1685m col
to right of summit
Once on the rock head for the col and 1685m spot height to the right of the summit where you take another sharp right up the path along summit ridge to the base of an easy scramble and on to the summit area and high point marked by a trig pillar broken off to just under ½ its normal height.
I had a good chat with a couple of guys out for the day from Bilbao. Unfortunately cloud had gathered below the summit to the north obscuring what looked like rugged terrain. Exploring beyond the summit for an alternative descent route along the planned province boundary revealed only more cloud. So after summit pictures I decided to return back down the ascent route along a known path and back to the van before 12:30pm and with the cloud burning back the prospect of an afternoon in the sun back at Camping La Isla.
Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 01 July 2018
Walkers - Steve Smith
Start Point - End of track at El Bernacho approx 3km from BU-572 (N43°08'54.104" W3°39'28.112")
Start Time - 09:15
Finish Point End of track at El Bernacho approx 3km from BU-572 (N43°08'54.104" W3°39'28.112")
Finish Time- 12:21
Total Duration - 3hrs 06mins 
Overall Average pace - 1.44mph
Total Distance Walked - 4.46 miles
Total Height Ascended - 646.90metres

Peaks visited
Spain/Portugal 600m Prominence Peaks (168S - 185S&P - 2165E)
Castro Valnera (7S - 8S&P - 36E)
Spain/Portugal 300m - 599m Prominence Peaks (1000+)
NONE
Spain/Portugal 150m - 299m Prominence Peaks (3000+)
NONE
Spain Autonomous Community High Points (19)
NONE
Spain Province High Points (52)
NONE
S: Spain
P: Portugal
E:Europe

Other walks on this trip
2018
June
28th Eretza
29th Mortillano
July
01st Castro Valnera
03rd El Cueto
05th La Cotorra
05th Cerro San Lorenzo
06th Campiña
09th Lobo
12th Pico de Peñalara
14th Cerro del Cabezo
16th Cruces
25th La Rhune
Route

More Photographs
View as you traverse around SE shoulder of Castro Valnera on descent.
Pico del Rostro at 1236m yet another fairly distictive peak that I will not be going up

Click on photograph to view slide-show