We are in the Sierra de Gredos regional park
The Sierra de Gredos is the highest range of the Sistema Central, the mountain chain that runs for approximately 600 km from Madrid’s Northeast into central Portugal. Although Gredos, as everyone refers to it, was formed in the same orogenic phase as the Alps, its peaks don’t show the dramatic topography of their higher brothers and sisters. However they have qualities that make them a climbing jewel of their own.
At a mere two hours drive from Madrid, they are relatively easy to access and offer excellent accommodation and culinary opportunities while keeping the sense of remoteness and challenge due to the immense open spaces among which they rise, to a very low population density and to their high- mountain climate and wildlife.
Nicknamed ‘the backbone of Castile’ by Miguel de Unamuno, one of Spain’s main analysts of the country’s complex soul, they cut indeed through the Meseta Central, the central plateau which accommodates the two Spanish regions bearing that name: Castile-Leon and Castile-La-Mancha, a region heavily charged with history and literary connotations. Because of this location and as opposed to the sharp and deep valleys of the Alps and the Pyrenees, Gredos offers some of the most spectacularly broad views to be seen in the Iberian Peninsula.
Its maximum height is the Pico Almanzor, a granitic gentle giant of nearly 2,600 meters that towers over the Circo de Gredos, a glacial cirque partially covered by the biggest glacial lagoon in the area, La Laguna Grande. The cirque is reachable after a pleasant three-hour trek from La Plataforma, the point where car traffic stops. The Almanzor can be climbed to enjoy its breathtaking sights without much technical effort. However all around it, at walking distance from the fully-equipped refuge Elola, there are hundreds of peaks, walls and boulders of arguably the best granite in the world offering infinite challenges to practice any variety of climbing year round without the need of long and complicated approaches. The good weather is practically guaranteed. It is high mountaineering without the downside of most high mountains.
Gredos is also a Nature Park of 3,500 square kilometres. It treasures native bushes and other plant-life perfectly equipped to resist the harsh winters and stone-dry summers of these highlands. Vultures and eagles dominate the skies. And on the ground, it is common to catch sight of its most characteristical mammal, the ‘cabra montés’, a majestic mountain goat formerly of great hunting value which now, protected within the Nature Park, has become its symbol.
– Website del ENP: www.miespacionatural.es/espaciospanel/2359
– Website Turismo Ávila: www.turismoavila.com/es/m-valle-del-tormes-sierra-de-gredos/#inicio
“Gredos montaña sagrada,
Que se toca de la pureza blanca de la nieve
Para guardar su corazón de piedra berroqueña
Eterno como la fuerza del espíritu
Que desafía el tiempo y cambia los destinos”