Key information: Jermoso Traverse
- This tough but superb-two day traverse crosses the south-western shoulder of the central massif of the Picos de Europa, the remarkable, jagged range of limestone mountains running along Spains northern coast.
- You will traverse giddy cliffs, pant up steep couloirs and cross high summer-grazing land, all beneath dramatic crags and rocky spires, as well as enjoying outstanding views from the high points. Unrivalled flora and fauna.
- Walkopedia rating90
- Natural interest16
- Human interest6
- Negative points0
- Total rating90
- Length: Variable
- Maximum Altitude: 2,319m
- Level of Difficulty: Strenuous
There are various ways across the south-western shoulder of the central Picos massif, via the amazingly situated Ref. Mella just beneath the Jermoso col, but the best is probably the well-established trail from Cordianes in the upper Cares valley.
You will soon be scrambling up a dramatic, exposed path, up and round the cliffs in Pea del Porracho, then continuing round into the beautiful forests of the lower end of the huge gully, the Canal de Asotin.
At the brief respite of the lovely Vega de Asotin, flatter meadow surrounded by the most spectacular of cliffs, you will be directly below the days destination and the main path does climb, precipitously, a direct way up. The better alternative, though, is to continue the long climb up the Canal, until you reach a classic high, broken limestone plateau below the long cliffs that screen off the true highlands.
The path then strikes up another heartstoppingly-exposed path that steadily climbs round the long upper cliffside. At the top of the cliffs, a trudge over more broken limestone and another long climb get you to a grassy little shoulder with miraculous views. Another half hour of superb viewing traversing above and below vast drops gets you to the antiquated (no loo when we were there in 2010 renovations in progress following a complaint by no less a person than the King) but amazingly situated Ref. Diego Mella, just below the Jermoso ridge.
The Second Day is also marvelous walking. You retrace your steps back to the top of the long line of cliffs above the Vega de Liordes, then continue across rock broken by deep fissures and clefts to the 2,300m Pico de la Padiserna, an impossible looking spike from most angles, but an easy climb at the back. Take a leisurely lunch at the top in the company of outstanding views all around, to the lovely Cantabrian mountains and beyond to the plains of Castile to the south, and the high peaks and towers of the Picos central ridge to the north, the beauty of Vega de Liordes directly below.
From here it is a long descent, at times an easy scramble, across brief pasture and plenteous rock, to the top of the Fuente Dé cable car. You are unlikely to relish the steep and very long walk down from here, so be prepared to wait for the too-small cable car, or, better, plan your timing so you avoid high season and weekends.
This is high country, exposed to Atlantic weather; rain is common, trails can get cut off by snow in winter, and the area is famous for sudden and dramatic mists. Come prepared.
See our Picos de Europa page for general and practical information and more walks.
WILLIAM MACKESY'S ACCOUNT
of this walk
This two-day hike traverses the south-western shoulder of the central Picos massif, via the amazingly situated Ref. Mella just beneath the Jermoso col. Read more...
There are various ways up, but the best is probably the well-established trail from Cordiñanes in the upper Cares valley. You will soon be scrambling up a dramatic, exposed path, up and round the cliffs in Peña del Porracho, then continuing round into the beautiful forests of the lower end of the huge gully, the Canal de Asotin......READ MORE
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Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.
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