Monday, March 23, 2009

The Sun Shines On Siete Picos

Some of the best days you can hope to have in Madrid's mountains come at the end of winter, as the sun comes out but the cold nights ensure that the snow still lasts. Last week, with temperatures over 20 degrees in the city itself, there seemed to be a mass exodus towards the sierra. I have never seen a Saturday morning train from Madrid to Cercedilla as crowded as the one we took, I was wedged into a tiny space just by the doors for the whole trip. It was more like rush hour than a weekend.

The sunny conditions made it a perfect day for doing the classic Guadarrama route of Siete Picos. From this peak you get views on both the Madrid and Segovia sides of the sierra. There was still plenty of snow at 2000 metres - I sunk up to the height of my knees in a couple of places - although it was melting fast and the streams were full of water. The last time we were in the same area, some time before Christmas, it would have been a very unpleasant, and probably dangerous, experience to do this route. On Saturday last week we were able to sit comfortably at the top eating our lunch without feeling cold at all. The walk we did followed the "yellow" route, one of several marked with clearly painted circles on trees in the valley above Cercedilla. It's not the easiest or the shortest route, especially if you walk up from the railway station in the village, but with the longer days it becomes doable without having to get up too early. It takes you up to Collado Ventoso, from where it's possible to take another path to get to the top of Siete Picos. The views on a day like this compensate for the effort involved. This is Peñalara seen from just behind Siete Picos.

One of the problems I have with this mountain is with its name - I never count seven peaks, it's always six or eight. It all depends where you see it from.

Looking over the other side from Siete Picos you get Monton de Trigo on the right and La Mujer Muerta behind it - another mountain whose name only makes sense if you see it from the right side.

1 comment:

Katie said...

Wonderful! Sounds like you did part of the Camino Schmidt (to Collado Ventoso) and then up to Siete Picos? Good to hear there's still snow--I was in Peñalara the penultimate weekend in February (when it started to get warm) and we predicted that the snow would be gone within a couple weeks.