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Peñalara integral route (winter and circular ascension)

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Today we are going to tell you one of the best known routes of the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park, known as integral route of Peñalara. A mountain that we have climbed countless times, such as the hard climb to Peñalara from the Farm, avoiding most of the time climbing it from the Cotos port, where more than 90% of mountaineers who climb every day to this busy peak are concentrated.


Peñalara integral route

Peñalara integral route (circular)

We like it or not from the Port of Cotos or Paular, the integral route of Peñalara part from this point, so it is convenient to get up early on weekends if we do not want to have parking problems. In addition, this point located at an altitude of 1829m means that the slope of the route is not excessive, being a generally smooth route except for the first kilometers where we will find the strongest ramps.

We decided to leave at 8 am in the direction of Gypsy viewpoint and going through the main entrance of the park, where you have a good view of the valley and the Iron Heads, a mountain that we particularly like very much. From the viewpoint, we will reach a booth with two paths, one on the right in the direction of the Grande Lagoon of Peñalara and another in the direction of the mountain of the same name. We take this second path and the strong ramps begin to appear.


Peñalara integral route

This part of the journey will be a constant zig zag without sorrow or glory and where the best views will always be at our back. We will quickly gain altitude until we reach 2200m, very close to the peak called Young sister of 2269m.


Peñalara integral route

From here we will begin to walk along a gentle path along the crest of the mountain, with hardly any slope until we pass the Two sisters at 2284m. Not far away we see the summit of the Peñalara staying only 150m of unevenness to touch its top.


Peñalara integral route

Reaching its top is simple and in less than 1h20 'we were up with a strong wind and some cold, although we were already in the middle of spring. Even so it is normal because we are at 2428m high and there is no physical barrier that protects us from anything.


Peñalara Summit -Photo taken in the middle of winter

Located at the top of Madrid and Segovia we find several people taking a snack and many of them wearing very inappropriate footwear to walk the mountain. This is the highest mountain in the Sierra de Guadarrama. Although there was some snow in the last 300 meters, it was easy to dodge even to the top. Notwithstanding pretending to follow the path towards Claveles Risco It seemed impossible if a day like today did not fit crampons.


Peñalara integral route

After leaving the top around 9:30 we saw the rest of the way until we reached the Lagoon of the Birds It was covered with snow and a lot of it in a very hard state. We decided to put on the crampons and began the descent until the Claveles Risco at 2387m high.


Peñalara integral route

This part of the road is really beautiful with views of the really breathtaking Pinilla Reservoir. Once in the Risco de los Claveles we observe a very exposed ridge where we knew that accidents occur so that caution must be exercised, especially in winter where enough ice accumulates.


Risco de los Claveles - Photo taken in Winter

After the Risco de los Claveles we arrive at the Risco de los Pajaros, at 2266m, with pretty views and where the snow began to get softer. From here we could see the Reventón (2073m) and the Laguna de los Pajaros, so we decided to go down directly to it through a simple channel since there was hardly any risk and we had it only 200 meters from us.


Peñalara integral route

This place was chosen to make a short stop for a snack and of course a succulent snack. The shallow lagoon usually has water all year round and from it you have a good view of the Risco de los Claveles.


Integral route of Peñalara - Laguna de los Pajaros

Suitable followed we follow the path in the direction of five lagoons, although they are more puddles than anything else and in summer they even disappear, except the Claveles lagoon (2121m) that usually keeps some water.


Peñalara integral route

From now on what we will do is skirt the slope of the mountain if we just go up or down the slope and passing from time to time until we reach a point where we will see the road that reaches the Grande Lagoon of Peñalara.


Integral route of Peñalara - Laguna Grande

We took the direct path which was a bit poorly marked and we ended up directly on it, about 2000m high.

As expected the lagoon was overflowing with people because it is a very beautiful place and ideal for spending the day with children. When we met her, we barely stopped, we took a brief photograph and set foot in dusty down the slope that ended in a wooden house.


Peñalara integral route

From this point there is not much to tell, the road is direct to the Viewpoint of the Gypsy, where we will meet many people, especially because it is time to eat.

When he arrived at the port of Cotos, he had to drink a beer in the Sale Marcelino, that place that has been open for so many years and feeding thousands of mountaineers. The route was over and we only had to think about the next one.

Practical data Peñalara integral route

When to go?

It can be done all year round, especially in summer where no special material is required.

How to get?

Just take the road in the direction of Puerto de Navacerrada and from there turn off to the Port of Cotos where the route begins. Another alternative is to come from the A-1 and taking the M-604 through the towns of Lozoya and Rascafría.

What to wear

Being a winter route we must take our ice axes, crampons and helmet given the inclination of many points, as well as some delicate steps.

  • Long pants, thermal shirt and fleece
  • Hat and gloves
  • Raincoat, Gore-Tex or third layer for wind or rain
  • Boots
  • Crampons and ice ax in winter.
  • Leggings if there is snow. Here you have a good example of poplars and eye with size.
  • Backpack of at least 30l
  • Trekking sticks
  • Map/GPS. Without this, don't even show up. As a GPS, our recommendation is Garmin GPS 64

Where to sleep?

On the way we have no shelter except for the Zabala Shelter, but there are several areas where bivouac. Camping is not allowed, let alone litter anywhere. However, if you place a shop at dusk and pick it up at dawn, you don't usually have problems.

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