How to get there:
The mountain range Sierra de Gredos is located west of
Madrid. There are two routes from Madrid. One can take
highway 501 west for approximately 125 km where it connects
with highway 502 north for 29 km (to km-marker 49), then west
on highway 100
16.5 km where a road turns off to the left
marked "Platforma de Gredos", this
road is followed to the end about 12 km, where there is a parking lot.
Alternatively, one takes the road from Madrid to the city of Avila
(about 110 km), then higway 110 west, this road forks into highway 102
after about 5 km, highway 102 is then followed to km marker 49, from where
the route is described above.
From the parking lot (1770 m) one should hike to the mountain hut Elola,
this hike starts up the small valley along the creek, but turns right across
a small plateau after about 10 minutes. A small creek is crossed on
an impressive concrete bridge, then the trail climbs the ridge directly
to the west, where the highest point of this hike, about 2200m is
reached. From this point the trail decends into the nice bowl
of Laguna Grande de Gredos, a lake at the end of the valley. This valley
ends in Circo de Gredos, a horse shoe formed ridge of sharp mountains
with numerous pinacles along the top. The hut is just at the far
side of the lake at 2000m elevation. The hike takes about two hours.
The Eola hut has a capacity of 136 guests, meals are served and drinks
can also be bought. One can make reservations by calling the hut
at 920207576, but in September there were many fewer visitors, so this
was hardly needed. Route description:
The route from Eola to Almanzor starts out to the right of
the first little rock outcrop (One should ignore the sign
that points to the left). The route heads straight up the
valley and is well marked with cairns. The trail forks, one should
follow the left trail heading up on the left side of Almanzor.
Half way up, the gully forks and a narrow section leads to a narrow
gap (called Portilla del Crampon). One is now just below the summit.
The view is quite impressive both into and out of the bowl of mountains
called "Circo de Gredos". After a very short traverse to the right the
best route leads directly up towards the top in a small ravine. At the
end of this section there is a more vertical stretch of perhaps 3-4
meters, but with very good ledges for hand and foot holds. The final few
meters turns a bit right before arcing left across some large boulders
in order to reach the highest point, nothing more than a large slab
of rock. This final section is (YDS) class 3.
The summit has a white marker (about one meter high) on it as well as
an official plaque on the rock itself. The real estate at the very top
is limited, but there is a nearby summit which is perhaps only one meter
lower that offers a somewhat larger, flat area. This summit can be
reached by moderate scrambling across from the main summit.
The climb from Elola takes at most two hours under good conditions. Comments:
I made this hike with my wife Heidi.
We traversed from Almanzor across to La Galana.