Thursday, June 02, 2011

Hiking in the Sierra de Guaderrama: in Pedriza

Late start today since the hotel doesn't do breakfast until nine (though it was a pretty good breakfast) and we have to make a trip into town for lunch stuff. We head out under more or less cloudless skies around 11 and start directly up, up, up through the crazy rocks above town. Lucky for us the ambient temp isn't super high or it would have been a tough trip. As it was, the spring we run across after a couple hundred meters of climb is more than welcome to cool our heads and have a cool drink. We see a few trail runners along the way and wonder at their fitness and steadiness of foot.

After climbing along the really nice path and walking through a couple very green meadows we reach the foot of El Yelmo where we take a short break to watch some rock climbers at work on the south face. The path then leads us around the peak and we spend a couple minutes looking for the route up (silly guide book has a map that doesn't match the description).

We do eventually find the way and then do some scrambling over rocks until we reach the chimney that leads to the peak. This is seriously entertaining since it's too narrow to carry a pack (we leave them at the base of the chimney) and in one or two places requires use of whatever means available to get the friction required to move up (Greg is very glad to be wearing long sleeves). Once out of the chimney it's a short walk to the peak where we spend a few minutes enjoying the view. There are tons of good lunch spots up here, but our lunch is in the packs on the other side of the chimney. So... back we go through the chimney (the way down is much easier than the one up) and then we have a lunch break in a wind sheltered spot where we can enjoy the views. Back down the scrambly bit over boulders and then we are back at the foot. There's another rock here that has to be scrambled up, so we get that out of the way, ;-), and then start down.
We opt for the path down through the gorge next to El Yelmo (Hueco de la Hoces). This turns out to be another great scrambly, searchy (where the hell is the path?) path that we thoroughly enjoy all the way. Along the way we run into a few more mountain goats that, like the ones the day before, are not particularly concerned by our presence. Eventually we hit the bottom and the Rio Manzanares and pick up the path into town that we finished on the day before,

A really nice day in a very impressive area... It would be easy to spend a week here and would probably be a fantastic place to improve our climbing skills.

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