Naranjo de Bulnes, the treasured mountain of Spain
Naranjo de Bulnes, the treasured mountain of Spain Reviews
Naranjo de Bulnes, the treasured mountain of Spain Aug 04, 2011
at the very heart of the picos de europa mountain range, lies an extraordinary mountain peak which is most treasured by the spanish mountaineers - the rock tower of Naranjo de Bulnes (Picu Urriellu in Asturianu). the mountain peak lies inside the Principado de Asturias and in the highest range of the mighty picos de europa - grupo los urrielles or macizo central.
the beautiful mountain of limestone origin was carved and shaped by glaciers for millions of years. the peak although not high at only 2519 meters, it juts alone to the sky from the rest of the peaks in the macizo central range, putting behind much higher peaks that surrounds it.
the sheer beauty of the mountain is at it's most atmospherical in sunset - as the sun sets deep, the light shines into the mountain and giving it an unusual color of orange hence - the name naranjo (orange) and bulnes (the closest village and civilization to the mountain) if coined - naranjo de bulnes (the orange of bulnes) but the asturians who are proud of their heritage - prefer to call it picu urriellu.
from madrid take a bus to oviedo and from oviedo a bus to cangas de ónis but get off at arriondas and from arriondas bus to arenas de cabrales as your jump-off point (all with alsa bus company and you can buy tickets on the spot - no reservations or buying in advance needed). from arenas de cabrales take a bus to poncebos and use the funicular that goes to the town of bulnes or hire a taxi that takes you to collado de pandébano.
ACCESS TO NARANJO DE BULNES
the easiest and most popular routes to the mountain are through the town of bulnes (600 meters) - to be able to reach bulnes, you can cross it by foot or from a funicular for 16 euros from the town of poncebos or hiring a taxi that goes until 1200 meters to collado de pandébano.
accesing from the town of bulnes is the most difficult one - the altitude gain is around 1300 meters through a very steep dense forest, sharp stoned and muddy (if it rains) path. there are two routes to go up the mountain - the ultra steep trek up from voluga de castisierra (no water source along the way) to majada de camburero and eventually to the base of the mountain at vega de urriellu. another path which is easier from bulnes is not to go to voluga de castisierra after crossing the dense forest but to entremosquines and eventually to collado de pandébano.
collado de pandébano lies at 1200 meters can be reached by a vehicle but thats only the vehicles could go and still 14 kms. trek and 750 meters altitude gain through the dangerous mountain passes of collado vallejo and the chasm of jou lluengo. the narrow ridge just falls 1000 meters deep and if you have vertigo - its not for you.
there are two huts here: at majada de la tenerosa - 1300 meters just a kilometer away from collado de pandébano but a good resting place if you came from bulnes (entremosquines route) and at the base of naranjo de bulnes itself - at vega de urriellu 1960 meters called refugio urriellu with around 90 beds (only with reservation) and a small kitchen that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
water sources are in: an old abandoned shepherd's hut up in the río teju river between the route to bulnes and entremosquines. another one is at majada de la tenerosa and finally at vega de urriellu.
very difficult to get injured - it will take 2-3 days to be rescued if youre alone (always tell people your time plan and time of day when youre back so that if youre missing - people could alert the guardia civil) . there are lots of crevices and holes so watch your step. no mobile signals, no handrailings at the ridge, narrow and muddy paths, loose stones/earth, falling rocks/debris, disorientation when the fog/mist rolls over and visibility is so poor (people die at collado vallejo mountain pass from falling in the ravine), sudden storm - be prepared and research carefully. you must have travel/medical insurance and NEVER CLIMB WITHOUT EXPERIENCE.
ROCK CLIMBING NARANJO DE BULNES
unfortunately, the only way to get to the peak of naranjo de bulnes is by rock climbing/abseiling and there are no equipments to rent out at the hut of vega urriellu at the base of the mountain - so whether you like it or not - you have to carry your equipments up. the most difficult face is the west face - 550 meters of exposed climb.
WHAT TO BRING
water/liquids, energy bars, sugar, candies, something to bite along the way, camera, trekking pole, sturdy hiking shoes, anorak for the cold up in the base of the mountain, tent, sleeping bag (if you have no reservations in the hut).
no red tapes here or permits to climb the mountains or trekk the picos de europa national park and it is free to camp - hovewer, only above 1600 meters and not directly in the path and tents must be pitched an hour before sunset and hour after sunrise (only exception is at vega de urriellu) - bring the trash back - there are no garbage cans in the paths or in the mountain range itself.
if you dont want to climb or trek, viewpoints are in the towns of poo de cabrales, camarmeña and bulnes but if the clouds already started to make their way - only a small part of the peak of naranjo de bulnes can be seen. i suggest very early in the morning - when the sky is at its clearest.
BEST MONTHS TO GO
june to september but be wary of high summer because it can get hot and very humid and it can get chilly, rainy and stormy because it is located in green spain where the weather is unpredictable, so check the forecast before making the trek.
Part of the ESPAÑA... en tus ojos verdes, mi última aventura en la tierra. travel blog
Part of the list ESPAÑA, en la tierra de los sueños.
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