South Clásica Peña Santa de Castilla
Guided climbing in Picos de Europa – Western Massif
Climbing Peña Santa with a climbing guide is an activity worthy of recognition, given its remoteness, long distance and beautiful approach.
It is a day of mountaineering that you will remember forever. The majestic lady of Picos de Europa, with the highest summit of the Western Massif, stands out for its great southern wall with large vertical walls of 600 meters.
The first ascent of this route, the South Direct, was on August 19, 1947 by José Gonzalez Folliot, Florencio Fuentes and Antonio Rojas. Today, more than 60 years after this pioneering climb, it continues to be one of the great classics of the Picos de Europa, especially for its rock quality, among other virtues mentioned above.
- Approach: About two hours from Vega de Llos (where the 4×4 leaves us) to Vega Huerta, where we will spend the night.
- Climbing length: 650 m of climbing approx.
- Difficulty: Maximum V+
- Duration of the complete activity: Approach, climb and descent about 7 hours and another two hours of return.
- Descent: On foot on a short rope with some rappels and skills.
To perform this activity it is necessary to be in very good physical condition, to have previously climbed classic climbing routes and to habitually do sport climbing with a grade of V+ as first with fluency. As well as being accustomed to high mountain routes of a minimum duration of 8 to 12 hours and 1500 meters of positive difference in altitude.
Equipment required per participant: (Depending on the time of year and weather conditions this information may vary in number and type of clothing and footwear. The guide will inform upon reservation)
- Technical trekking boots
- Trekking poles
- Long elastic mountain pants
- Technical short sleeve mountain t-shirt
- Technical long sleeve mountain t-shirt
- Softshell / primaloft
- Down or fiber jacket
- Medium or light gloves (optional)
- Cell phone with charged battery
- Headlamp with batteries (important)
- Solarcream SPF 50
- Mountain backpack 40L
- Canteen or water bottle minimum 2L
- Refreshments during activity (bars, dried fruits, etc.)
Normally the meeting will be in Potes or in Soto de Valdeón, where we will be picked up by cab and we will go up to Vega de Llos, thus saving us about 600 meters of unevenness on foot. Once we arrive here, we will continue walking along a comfortable path to the Collado del Frade, and from here along the Canal del Perro to the Collado del Burro, from where we can see Vega Huerta and the whole spectacular cliff of the south face of the Peña Santa de Castilla.
Afterwards, all that remains is to descend along the path to the beautiful Vega Huerta that lies at the foot of the Peña Santa, where we will have dinner and bivouac. (About 2 hours from the Vega de Llos)
We will have breakfast very early in the morning and we will go on foot of the route for about 30 minutes, and we will begin the 650 m of climbing on the magnificent rock and channels that characterize this route (about 4 to 5 hours of climbing approximately).
At the summit we will be able to rest for a while, take pictures and eat something.
DESCENT: Here we must pay maximum attention, and not get distracted or relax because the activity continues in "short rope". We will cross the crest ridge heading west. After several pitches and flanks we will reach the Canal Estrecha, where we will mount several rappels and pitches until we reach the ground.
From this point we will have to go up again to the Collado de la Forcadona, from where the path becomes more comfortable, and making a detour we will reach Vega Huerta again. (2 or 3 hours approximately to descend from the summit to Vega Huerta). Once here we will regain strength and after resting for a while, we will take the road back to Vega de Llos, where the 4×4 cab will be waiting for us to return to Soto de Valdeón. (Approximately 2 hours from Vega Huerta to Soto de Valdeón).