PEÑALARA 2.430M: ASCENT TO MADRID’S HIGHEST PEAK.

PEÑALARA 2.430M: ASCENT TO MADRID’S HIGHEST PEAK. Classic ascent to the top of the Guadarrama National Park, 2,430m. This circular hiking trail leads us on a 10k/D+700m circuit to the top of the Peñalara. The sacred mountain of the arevaci crowns the Sierra de Guadarrama and it is the highest point of Madrid. It is also a magnificent viewpoint over the two Castiles and a well-preserved natural place.

The route to Peñalara that we propose today is a great training for mountain races. Now, it must never be faced without due respect. It is a circular trace that avoids complex technical steps, but we do not stop entering high mountain. These days, in addition, we can find abundant snow and ice that we must know how to handle.

Peñalara Summit (2.430m)

PEÑALARA 2,430M. FROM COTOS
THE GREAT CLASSIC TO THE TOP OF GUADARRAMA NATIONAL PARK- MADRID.

PEÑALARA, SACRED MOUNTAIN OF THE AREVACI.

Peñalara was the sacred mountain of the arevaci. Lords of the Plateau, they were the ingested Celtiber warriors in Numancia, finally defeated after humiliating an Empire for decades. Seeing us go up again with the first lights, from above, they may still remember them…

Memory of those ancient games of celtiberos, legend warriors. Snatched in black layers, hooded and armed with their skirts, they subdued consuls and legions. Their suit consisted of a black or dark ropilla, made of wool from his cattle, to which was attached a hood or cap with which they covered their heads when they did not carry the cap. Adorned with feathers or chickpeas. A necklace used to be surrounded around the neck, and a kind of tight trousers completed his simple uniform.

In the war they used two-edged swords, veins and spears with iron boats, which hardened, leaving them in the earth. The peaks saw them honor their fallen in battle. The corpse aloft, offered to the vultures, or cremated. They were also seen dancing relentlessly, on whole nights of parties under the stars, honoring their god Lug.

Among those peoples, one always looked at these mountains with devotion. They were the Arevaci the fiercest Confederates. Their cities dominated the Plateau, while supporting Iberia’s sister tribes in their wars for freedom. They honored the queen among their rocks – Lara – ascending to her to offer her sacrifices. Fifty years they fought the eagle soldiers. But the day came, on the pyre of Numancia, when the arevac pride was erased from the earth. Or maybe not,….

Maybe here on the Plateau, drops of that fire may still run through some veins. There may still be those who recognize the call of these places, found between Douro and Tagus.

Arevaci Fighters. bellumnumantinum.blogspot.com

PEÑALARA FROM COTOS, GUIDE. (10K/D+700M)

To get to Cotos pass from Madrid we can go through Navacerrada or Rascafría. Unfortunately, for about two years, there has no longer been the option to take the historic tram to Cotos from Cercedilla, as the line is “under repair”.

To go from the side of Segovia we will go to La Granja de San Ildefonso and we will climb towards the Navacerrada pass, when we reach the top we turn left and in less than 8 kilometers we will be in the Cotos pass. Attention at the last hour in this case, because in the previous week there were cases where the GUardia Civil (Spanish Military Police) did not allow access from Castilla y León to Cotos, applying the perimeter closure strictly.

ASCENT BY THE COLLADO CITORES.

START. We leave the parking lot of the Cotos pass to the north, going up if the wooden path that goes up in the direction of the park office is open and before reaching it reaches the foot of the chalet of the Alpine Club. Behind this hostel comes a marked path with yellow dots on the pine trees. Following this path between the thick pine forest, we will enjoy turning the view back from great panoramas towards the north slope of Cabezas de Hierro and the Siete Picos.

It is a comfortable, logical and showy ascent that goes back about 300 meters of elevation, until leaving us on the Citores hill, which forms between Peña Cítores and Dos Hermanas. If we want, we can approach the neighboring Peña Cítores, a beautiful viewpoint over the Eresma Valley that offers us the peaks of Seven Peaks, Wheat Heap, the rope of La Mujer Muerta and further north the Watchtower.

From the col citores it is time to be attentive to follow the traces of path that gently leads us to continue to ascend the hill of Dos Hermanas. We are on a treeless terrain, more exposed to the elements but with a softer slope.

We pass almost at the foot of the peaks of Dos Hermanas, which we can also crown at the pass, if we want. From this area, you can see to the south the nearly complete Cuerda Larga: From the Bola del Mundo to Cabezas de Hierro. In front of us, the path that leads to Peñalara continues to ascend. If there is no fog or blizzard, it has no loss, as it is marked with large stone landmarks. Attention on days of reduced visibility, as it is a very wide and un defined hill. Therefore, the “despistes” are very common to end up going down to the La Granja de San Ildefonso wanting to return.

HIGH MOUNTAIN ROUTE, BE CAREFULL.

If weather conditions are very bad, and you find that you have half-come down to the north side….think about it slowly. It will often be better to get lost height and return by taxi from the Segovian side, than to try to redo our steps and risk an important scare.

After the Dos Hermanas, we looked out at the Circo Alto de Peñalara. From here we already face the ascent of the somital pyramid to the queen of Guadarrama with her 2,430 meters above sea level. If the day allows you to enjoy the views, we have excellent panoramic views of the Two Castiles. Depending on which days you can contemplate not only the Four Towers of the Capital, but even the Sierra de Gredos.

DESCENT BY THE DOS HERMANAS ZIG-ZAG.

For the descent, the simplest and most logical option is to redo our steps to Dos Hermanas and once there go down the obvious traces of trail and forest track that takes us, along the old slopes of the ski resort of Valcotos, to the parking. Once the route is complete, it can be a good time to comment on it in the Marcellin Sale right there. Always attentive and attentive inn of the mountaineers, who will offer us hot broth, as much as sandwiches, serious food or good beer if the day asks us.

GPS TRACK.

PEÑALARA FROM COTOS: PHOTO GALLERY 


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Read the article in Spanish HERE.
Post by Héctor Rubio for Trailrunningspain