/ Picos de Europa walking advice

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damowilk on 08 Jan 2017
Hi, grateful for any advice
We're heading to Picos de Europa this May for the first time, and looking for a 3-4 day walk to do, either staying in Refugios, camping or possibly 1 night in a village etc.
We like getting up reasonably high, but avoiding anything harder than easy scrambling. I'd like to avoid having to bring crampons, but we could squeeze an axe each if there might be a small amount of snow to cross.
We live in NZ, so not likely to be able to head back there for a while, so would be great to see some of the best the area has to offer.
Martin Bennett - on 08 Jan 2017
In reply to damowilk:

There's a Cicerone guide book "Walks and climbs in the Picos de Europa". I think it has a section on multi day walks as well. If you check Amazon and Abebooks I expect you can pick up a copy very cheaply.
Ken Applegate - on 09 Jan 2017
In reply to damowilk:

I can't be 100% sure, having not been there in May before, but I would imagine that at that time of year, there will still be quite a bit of snow, and that crampons would be wise.
Iandavid - on 09 Jan 2017
In reply to Ken Applegate:

I was there in May last year and it was foggy with no snow, but it was still spectacular and well worth the trip
orejas - on 09 Jan 2017
In reply to damowilk:

I am from the area. This should give you a good idea of a good 3 day itinerary. If you have a bit more time and looking for other activities go and have a look atplaya Gulpiyuri (Gulpiyuri beach) or go hiking elsewhere in the area in Pena Ubina (about 80km from Picos and about 2600m, no need to climb). So far this year there has been very little snow, but weather is very variable. You can stilll so some good hiking without crampons by varying your route a bit. If you wznt some other ideas let me know. Like the west cost of NZ's South Island is the combo of mountains and see that makes it pretty.
ben b - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to damowilk:

I've got the Cicerone guide here on my shelf in Dunedin if you want me to post it up on loan.

Friends who have been said it was magnificent but pretty hard work - by comparison to UK walking anyway. Obviously from NZ it will be much more familiar

iusedtoclimb - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to ben b:

Went there a number of years ago and loved it we used the cicerone guide

A word of caution some of the descriptions (unless it has been updated) are a bit deceiving as to the severity of some of the routes. We ended up on a knife edge ridge that really required roping up on (there were pitons in situ) but the book ommitted to mention any of this

a beautiful place
damowilk on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to ben b:

Thanks for all the advice, and cheers Ben, I might take you up on that offer. Hopefully I might make it down to Dunedin soon and save you bother of posting, and buy you a beer as thanks.
damowilk on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to orejas:

Muchas gracias for the local advice!
What would be a few of your top recommendations for 3-4 day walks? Preferably avoiding terrain that would need ropes or more than simple scrambling.
Mark Haward - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to damowilk:

I've walked and climbed there in the Summer, awesome place. Not been there in May myself but I know some years there has been little or no snow left and others there has been lots so you may need to be prepared to adapt your plans accordingly. Avalanche danger may be significant even when paths are mostly clear.
orejas - on 14 Jan 2017
In reply to damowilk:

Sorry for the delay. Blue and green in the attached map. Had to find something in English
damowilk on 15 Jan 2017
In reply to orejas:

Thanks again, looks good
RX-78 on 13 Feb 2017
In reply to damowilk:

Hi, Can I join the thread with a question or two? We are spending a week in the picos, and planning on a overnight circular hike from the campsite Camping le Cares to the Jermoso Hut and back. We will be there with our 16 year old daughter, mention of having to rope up for some trails might put her (and my wife) off or is this the exception? We are planning on going from the camp site up and over the Canal de Pedavejo, into Vega de Liordes and following the path to the hut via the north side of the valley containing lago bajero and llagu Bajero.
lordyosch - on 13 Feb 2017
In reply to damowilk:

I've been there a few times. The Cicerone / Robin Walker guide is really useful.

A tour of the Western Massif is worth doing. Start/Finish at the Covadonga lakes which are accessible by public transport (Bus from Cangas de Onis). Takes you across the Western massif (refugio / camping) down into the Cares gorge to Cain (muchos accommodation I think) and onto Los Llanos de Valdeon (Albergue). Back into the mountains (Vega Huerta hut/bothy) Then to Refugio Vegarredonda then back to the lakes.

I wrote a blog about it here... https://lordyosch.wordpress.com/about/backpacking-in-the-picos-de-europa/

I had a great time.

lordyosch - on 15 Feb 2017
In reply to RX-78:

On the Adrados map part of your route is described as 'dificile' - not the alpine grade, but a challenging walk. I've not done that route but I have followed a few other dificile routes in the Picos and there was nothing I needed a rope for. A few scrambly steps but manageable with a 18kg pack on.

How are you returning to the camp site?

Dave Perry - on 17 Feb 2017
In reply to damowilk:

I too don't think a rope will be required unless you are extremely nervous.

Fantastic place! Loads of rocky peaks, limestone, the odd bear, boar, Vultures, the odd wolf I think.

If you're into caving there are some huge cave systems too.

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