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Los Picos de Europa


From Espinama to Aliva

The village of Espinama, in the municipality of Camaleño, it is one of the most important access points to the Central Massif of Picos de Europa. From Espinama (877 m altitude) a mountain track leaves from the village streets and, in a north direction, crosses the valley of Nevandi, with steep slopes up to twenty-five percent. The track ascends parallel to the Nevandi river, which separates the Central and Eastern Massifs. Soon we will arrive to the winter cattle sheds of Igüedri, observing to our left the southern peak of the Valdecoro summit (1,841 m).

We then continue the route crossing the gate called Portillas del Boquejón, a new Canadian porthole, used to keep livestock from crossing over. Limited by the upper section of the Duje river, with the pastures of Aliva on the east, is the stream of Salgardas, tributary of the Nevandi river. To the north is Campomenor and a little further Campomayor (two round pasture land depressions), in one of the sources of the Duje river. Between these two meadows is the hermitage of "Virgen de la Salud" (Virgin of Health), with a small shelter embedded to its walls and whose festivity takes place on the 2nd of July.

In the place called Campojito there is a deviation to the left with two strands; the one, ascending and passing next to the Refuge (1,670 m) (a mountain hotel); the other, ascending to the Lomba del Toro, which is a continuation toward the NE of the Cuetos de Juan Toribio. Here are the old mines of Las Manforas or Aliva (1,615 m), at the foot of the Canal del Vidrio, embedded in the NE slope of Peña Vieja and La Gármola (2,270 m). In this mines the famous caramel blende was extracted, but some years ago they stopped working, after passing this exploitation to a private company.

We then return to the Refuge of Aliva and pass next to the Chalet del Rey (King´s Chalet) (1,770 m) belonging to the Royal Asturian Mining Company and built in the old days as a house for the King Alfonso XIII so that he could go on chamoi hunts in 1912. The track continues to the south, turning around the col of Juan Toribio (1,830 m), passing by some pasture lands and arriving to Horcadina de Covarrobres (1,930 m), then crossing the southern area of Peña Vieja, to pass to Lloroza. As we arrive to the Horcadina de Covarrobres the track has two forksagain. The left one goes south from the Colladina to the upper station of the cable car of Fuente Dé. We well continue along the northern one on the right, along the western slope of Peña Vieja until La Vueltona, two kilometres away, where there is a spring. From this point we´ll continue uphill until we arrive to a crossroads, where we take the right one, and leaving the main strand in order to pass to the Canalona col (2,420 metres). Here is the haughty steeple of La Canalona. From this point and along a path wandering on the north hillside, we arrive at the summit of Peña Vieja (2,613 metres), the "roof" of Cantabria, from where, after an eight hundred metres ascension, there is a magnificent panoramic of Aliva´s mountain pastures.

Another route leaves from the Balcony of the Cable Car, passing by Cabaña Veronica, to reach the Tesorero Peak. The route starts from the cable car, next to the upper station. We then pass La Colladina, to get to the crossroad of La Horcadina de Covarrobres, following NW along the Western wall of Peña Vieja up to La Vueltona (2,000 m). From here we will pass Hoyo sin Tierra and continue through the path called Bustamante, which will take us near the Horcados Rojos col (2,506 metres), separated from the Tesorero peak by Torre de Horcados Rojos. The south face of this peak is one of the classic climbing ones in Picos de Europa.

From Torre de Horcados Rojos we can see the mountain refuge of Cabaña Verónica (2,325 m), inaugurated in the summer of 1961, and located at the foot of the Tesorero Peak. This is the highest refuge in the three massifs of Picos de Europa. It has room for six people and belongs to the Cantabrian Federation of Mountaineering. Open all year round with bunkbeds. The refuge has plenty food provisions, gas kitchen, but there is no near water spring. A first-aid kit, a special stretcher for people evacuation and a radio station belonging to the Spanish Civil Protection group are also in the refuge.

Cabaña Verónica was built using the metallic dome from the antiaircraft battery of the North American aircraft carrier "Palau" which was abandoned. From Cabaña Verónica we can ascend right towards up to a small hollow at the foot of the western wall of the Tesorero. We then cross over the left slope of the mentioned hollow and walk uphill along a steep channel at the foot of its SE wall, zigzagging the stone blocks right and leftwards. The Tesorero (2,570 m) is on the geographical centre of Picos de Europa. Here the limits of Asturias, León and Cantabria converge. Located in the depressions of Hoyos Sengros, Grande and Los Boches. Along the normal path it will take us around an hour to get to the summit.

Another classical route starts at the Balcony of the Cable Car and through La Padiorna descend to Fuente De. From Fuente Dé, we go up in the cable car from the bottom station (1,050 metres) to the Balcony at the top called El Cable (1,850 metres). Leaning out this balcony we can see the impressive corrie of Fuente Dé at our feet, eight hundred metres below, as well as a marvellous panoramic W to E of: Puerto de Somo (mountain pass), Coriscao, San Glorio and Peña Prieta, up to Peña Sagra and Curavacas, as well as Peña Remoña to the SW.

From the Cable Car we get to the old mine cabins of Lloroza (1,864 m). Here, a path ascends through the Channel of San Luis, to the W, to arrive at the Colladina de Las Nieves (2,226 m) and then get to Pico de La Padiorna on its northern side. Next we´ll cross Sedo de La Padiorna, towards the W, to pass Collado de La Padiorna (1,930 m) entering Vegas de Liordes pasture land (1,880 m), where there´s a hut-refuge at the foot of Torre Salinas (2,446 m). At this point the route takes a western direction, to cross Collado de Liordes and descending along the Tornos de Liordes (a winding track made for the old mining carts) and finally arriving at Fuente Dé.

Fuente Dé is a rocky corrie excavated by a Quaternary glacier and surrounded by huge limestone walls and peaks like Peña Remoña (2,247 m) and La Padiorna (2,319 m). This is where the river Deva sprouts, next to the bottom Cable Car station.

Finally we can also take a route going to the mythical peak of Naranjo de Bulnes. It´s the same route as the one going towards the Tesorero peak up to where we come near the mountain refuge of Cabaña Verónica, but this time we go on the left to start walking uphill towards the col of Horcados Rojos (2,345 m) descending to Jou Los Boches through a steep slope a little bit dangerous. Such descent has to be made along the slopes of Urrieles and Tesorero on a zigzagging path until the Garganta de Los Boches (2,267 m) from where we´ll pass to Jou sin Tierra (2,079 m) entering in Vega de Urriello, and reaching the mountain refuge of "Delgado Ubeda" located at the foot of the Naranjo de Bulnes (2,519 m).

The Naranjo de Bulnes or Pico Urriello has a pyramidal shape and the refuge is at its base, built after a proposal made by the Real Sociedad Española de Alpinismo "Peñalara", in August 1954, and later let to the Federación Española de Montañismo (Spanish Mountaineering Federation). In 1979 the 13 vacancies were increased to 40. Nowadays it has 90 beds and even hot water. Now it belongs to the Asturian Mountaineering Federation. Next to the refuge there´s a fresh and abundant water spring. Opened all year round, it has a service of various mountain guides who will take you to the summit of this mythical wall, symbol of Spanish climbing, where there has been many mountaineering adventures, but also many dead climbers who tried reaching the top.

Pedro Pidal, Marquis of Villaviciosa, together with a man called "El Cainejo", original from Cain, conquered the Naranjo de Bulnes for the first time on the 5th of August 1904 up its NE face. From then onwards the Naranjo has been a mythical peak, pride of many climbers who have achieved reaching the summit. The western wall was first climbed by the brave climbers from Navarra; Alberto Rabada and Ernesto Navarro, on the 21st of August of 1962.

Picos de Europa:
Panorámic | Eastern massif | Central massif | Western massif | The rivers | Routes | Fuente Dé