Monday, October 16, 2006

The Peñalara Loop

Well I finally made it on Saturday to the top of Peñalara, at 2430 metres it is the highest peak in the Guadarrama mountains near Madrid. The sunny weather made it seem like a good idea, in a few weeks time it will probably snow in this area and become a little bit too dangerous for those who don’t like to play on icy rocks. Accidents on Peñalara in winter are common, and parts of it were difficult enough in fine weather. Many other people obviously had the same idea, we almost had to queue to make it to the summit point, but the views from the top are spectacular. The return route passes by the lagoons lying below the peak and is in itself a worthwhile route to do.

Despite the altitude the peak is very accessible, the easiest place to begin the ascent is from the Puerto de Cotos which is already above 1800 metres. Cotos can be reached by road, or by taking the spectacular train line that comes up from Cercedilla. Most of the routes in the area are fairly well marked, but for anyone who wants it I can supply a GPS track and Google Earth file.

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