February is coming and one of those mountains that have always remained in my retina during the winter season is the Nevada Head (Mogota del Cervunal). This mountain can be considered as secondary within the Natural Park of Gredos, but its isolation and the few visitors it receives, well worth an ascension. With its 2,427m altitude, it has no peak to shade it around it, but do not let yourself be trusted by comparing it with theAlmanzor with its 2,592m, since both by slope and by number of kilometers traveled, the Nevada head It is harder, but if this is not enough, you will not find a marked path in winter, so its hardness can be increased. But don't worry, this is what I found and not every day is that hard.
The Nevada Head
As on many of the routes near the Laguna Grande de Gredos, we start from the Platform Parking. This car park is located about 7 kilometers from Holes of the Hawthorn, which as soon as you enter the town you will find it marked. Located at 1750 meters of altitude it has many places, which in summer they get to occupy during the weekends.
Just at the beginning of the route, there is a wooden shed that serves as Pub in the summer season in addition to improvised shelter. In winter, the road that starts from this booth usually brings some water that sometimes freezes and turns it into an ice rink. This impediment can be overcome by walking on the sides and other times we have no choice but to fit the crampons.
10 minutes later, we arrive at a detour that indicates the direction to the Laguna Grande, the ice disappearing from the road. If you continue along the road, this would take us to various routes such as Morezon, Looks at her or the Candeleda Harbor.
Later, the path will become flat at 1900m altitude, until you reach a bridge that crosses a stream that is born at the foot of the Morezoncalled Rio de la Pozas.
Road to Laguna Grande
From here we will climb a very well marked path to the viewpoint of the Laguna Grande de Gredos, to some 2180m of altitude. During this journey we will pass through a source made of stone, which usually has the pipe that supplies it and freezes in winter.
From the viewpoint of the Laguna, we will have a spectacular landscape, with the peak Almanzor in the background, the Elola Shelter, The Galana, he Morezon and of course he Nevada head, the peak to the right of the Gredos Circus (already out of this).
Road to Laguna Grande
We will go down to Laguna Grande de Gredos (1,979m) that, as you can see in the following photo, it was totally frozen. In fact it does not seem that there is Laguna because of the snow. To give you an idea, the lagoon in summer is bordered on the left side, not the center obviously.
Just before reaching the shore of the Lagoon, we will see a sign indicating the path to the Route of the 5 Lagoons. This path is the one that will take us to the skirt of the Nevada Head. In my case, the path did not exist and I had to mark all the way (about 5km one way) sinking into the snow. How I missed the rackets!!!.
We cross the lagoon on its north side and begin to take this same direction up the side of the mountain. This mountain is called Hill of the Orchards, very close to Risco Moreno. This path is easy to follow, taking into account that the Laguna Grande will always leave it on our back and the stream that descends from it, on our right side.
Road to the Nevada Head
We will arrive at a step located at 2,079m of altitude and we will have amazing views of our destination. The bad ... we have to go back down until 1974m. A continuous rise and fall ...
From the pass we descend to the new valley and cross a stream with difficulty. It was covered in snow almost entirely, which turned its crossing into a lottery. At any time you could sink, with the mystery of whether you sink into the deep part of this or where it only covers a little. Calm down, more than the knee will not get wet if it happens to you ... but the water will not be very warm to say. I was lucky and I saw some stones, but the edges of the stream were covered and I touched the water a couple of times.
Arroyo in the direction of La Galana
Upon crossing the stream we begin the last climb to Nevada head. We continue along the road to 5 Lagoons, but about 2150m of altitude, just where the great rocks of the Head begin, we leave the road and go to the right. From here there are no signs, trying to make zigzags while we climb, since the slope is very strong.
Road to Nevada Head
As he climbed, he kept seeing the magnificent Circus and the surrounding mountains. This encourages me even more, because although I had not said it, I made the ascent without company (badly done on my part), but my friends that day were in other battles. At this point I put on the crampons again, taking out the ice ax and keeping the canes. There is plenty of ice on the hillside and an inconvenient slip could make me go down more than 600 meters down the hill.
Nevada Head Summit
And finally I reached the top, one of the few points where you can observe the Gredos Circus and the Circus of the 5 lagoons at the same time. The effort has been worth it, but the bad thing is that I have to go back the way I have come.
However, there are people who make the route with two vehicles. One parked in Napalveral de Tormes and another in the Platform Parking, making a linear route without having to repeat part of the road. It will be again 😀
When to go?
I have done the route both in summer and winter. Logically in summer it is easier, but in winter if we are accompanied and sharing the task of marking the mark, it is not complicated. Of course, in winter I recommend having experience in the mountains.
How to get?
From to locality of Holes of the Hawthorn, part of a road to the Camping and the Platform Parking. This last point marks the beginning of our route.
What to wear
In winter it is essential to wear ice ax and crampons, as well as the appropriate clothes for this season. In summer it is very hot and although there is water all the way, this does not mean that it is drinkable. There are many animals that do ugly things in it so you can have a gastroenteritis with almost no integers. Do not forget the sunscreen and something that covers your head.
Where to sleep?
In a place like this, not sleeping in the middle of nature would be a sin. The campsite is an option or the same shelter located at the foot of the Laguna Grande.
Free camping is only allowed on the shores of the Lake, with the requirement to raise the camp early in the morning.
- Camping of Holes of the Hawthorn
- Elola Refuge (Essential to book in advance)
- exist bivouac in several points of the route