OverviewThe Fontún Peak is one of my favourite peaks in the area of León. It´s not far from León city and with good conditions you can get the summit in less than five hours (one or two hour less if you don´t stop too much and you are fit).
I think this is a good place to start climbing mountains. It´s a beautiful mountain, with no special technical or phisical requirements if you choose the most common routes. It has very intuitive ways to the top, so you can made up your own way. If you want to climb it has impresive stone walls that have been used as a school of climbing for the people of the area of León.
In reality, you can make it hard or easy. It depents the day you choose and the way you take.
Appart from that is a very popular peak and one mountain club of the area have adopted it.
Getting ThereThe best way to start the journey to the top is the small village that gives the name to the peak: Fontún (1130 m). The peak is also know as Machacao in some villages of the area.
It is possible as well startinf further, in other villages on the East, as Gete (1138 m) or Valporquero (1091 m) The last one is specially interesting, with amazing caves called Cuevas de Valporquero, one of the best in the world).
To reach this area around Villamanín (the main village there) you can go from León in the South or from Principado de Asturias crossing the mountains with your car thought Puerto de Pajares. It´s possible to take a train: Villamanin has a station. You can take a coach as well.
Red TapeNo permits required in all the area. There´s no dangerous animals in the area.
Please take care of the environment and let it stay clean
When To ClimbIt´s possible climbing the mountain in every season if you have the equipment and skills needed. If you have climbed for years you probably find it easy but as in many other mountains, snow and ice can make the journey to the top harder and dangerous.
Take care of the fog! It comes quickly. Remember, this mountains of the North of Spain, called Cordillera Cantábrica, are really closed to the sea (no more than 80 - 90 Km) so wet air,clouds and stoms can reach the mountains really quickly. (Remember this thing if you visit Picos de Europa). This area arround Villamanín has frequently foggy days that can make you lost. People in these part of the mountains of León call the fog "lutano".
CampingIt´s not allowed to camp in the area. Maybe you can vivac in the mountain, I remember there are some grass... but it´s not allowed to camp in all León territory. Only camp sites is the rule, but this is not allways true.
You have lovely traditional houses to spend the weekend in the area.
By the way, the area around is lovely.
There is a youth hostel in Villmanín. Very cheap.
You also have a private camp site in Villamanin (so you need to pay for camp there, but at least you have a shower and a toilet).
More of this pivate camp site (called Camping in Spanish) in La Vecilla, La Mata de la Bérbula, La Pola de Gordón, Puebla de Lillo, Barrios de Luna, Mirantes de Luna...
I´m not sure but I think there is a private camp site in Villamanín too..
Mountain ConditionsIf you are in León, as you are going there, just 10 Km leaving León you can see the Fontún clearly if there aren´t clouds... so this is the classical way, the more exciting for me.
There are several web pages to have a look the weather forecast, but the weather in the Leon mountain can change really quickly... I´ll try to include some of them.
Appart from that, I must said the weather is normaly better than the North, at least dryer. It´s common as you travel from Asturias on the North to León in the South leaving the rain and the grey clouds on your back.
* I recomend to take care with fog... It could be very dangerous if is doesn´t let you see one metre in front of you.
[ Left ] Metosat satellite view provided by INM - www.inm.es -
* Note: the map shows the clouds evolution.
[ Right ] Reflectivity map provided by The Weather Channel - www.weather.com -
* Note: the map shows, from blue to red, the power of clouds.
For more info use these links: Weather forecast today (English) | Weather forecast today (Spanish)
Weather on Villamanín
My Suggestions* Taste the delicious food in the area. You have to bars in Fontún to try home-made and traditional food.
* Go to Brañillín sky station if you like skying. As far as I know it´s not good and not big... but it´s maybe enough to have fun.
* Go to Puerto de Pajares top. Great views. I like cycling if you too, try to climb it with your bike, it´s really hard. Take care, a lot of traffic.
* It is said that cider from Asturias looses tastes in a different way (no so good) when it crosses the Puerto de Pajares pass. This is said because for many years this place was the main pass between Asturias and all the territories on the South.
Asturian cider, "sidra" it´s an outstanding product made with apples. It´s a low alcoholic drink, but take care my friend.
The main important thing about cider it´s how to serve it. You have to throw it taking the bottle over your head and the glass with the other hand lower than your waist. This is called "escanciar la sidra" It´s espetacular seing some people of the area doing this.
There is a great culture around sidra. Visit a tradional cider bar, a "chigre" (one of the best I know it´s "La Galana", in Plaza Mayor, Gijón). Also visit if you can a "llagar" the place where cider it´s produced.
* Visit the valley on the West of Villamín, it´s a nice and quiet valley with feroucious aspect mountains: Tres Marías, Barragana, on the North. Driving allong the valley road you´ll
cross a tunnel and soon you´ll be in a crossroad. Both ways are interesting. On you left you´ll go to the mountain pass called Collado de Aralla. Descending the mountain pass you´ll
arrive in Geras, famous village because of the "chorizo", traditional food (a kind of sausage, not very different from salami, but better).
Going back to the crossroad, to the right way, you´ll go to the area called Luna. There is a reservoir there (Pantano de Barrios de Lunea). The area it´s pretty, and you have there a lovely thermal waters spa in Caldas de Luna. By the way, the tallest and more important peak of Luna is Cirbanal peak (2081 m), once from there I could see the sea on the North.
* I strongly recomend visiting Cueva de Valporquero. I have spoken about it a lot. If you like it visit too Cueva de Llamazares (read about that in Bodón peak page).
* There is a lovely place called Bosque de Foedo, a little forest not very far from Ciñera de Gordón, some Km on the South of Villamanín. It´s a fairy tale place. Ask people from Ciñera how to get there. There´s a path. It´s not difficult and everybody in the village knows this place.
* Visit Torío and Curueño river valleys. You´ll find a detailed description in Correcillas and Bodón pages. (Sorry, I´ll send you there because I don´t want to duplicate too many information).
* If you want to get a lot of information about León province, what to do, where to go, what to visit, camp sites, hotels an accomodation you have this information free on tourist offices. I don´t know where they are in Asturias, but you´ll find a lot. In the León the biggest one it´s in front of the gothic cathedral. You´ll get free maps, hotel and camping guides, rural accomodation (tradional houses), monuments, cultaral activities... in many
* By the way, visit León city. I´m not going to tell you all the things you can do there... but in my opinion you´ll like the visit. Also, Gijón and Oviedo are interesting places.
** Take a MOBILE PHONE with you. You can use it most of the mountain areas. If you can phone try going up or changing your position. I can remember my moibile ringing on the summit of Torre de Friero... I couldn´t believe it! Mobile is the best thing to make an emergency call. Forget about radios.
Take note of this number: 987 718 004. It´s the number of G.R.E.I.M., Guardia Civil Mountain Rescue Team. They are really good proffessionals with lots of years of experience. If you have serious problems phone them: tell them who you are, how many people is in difficulties, try to tell them where you are, or at least a detailed description of the area.
Special infoThe meaning in English of some Spanish words.
* Collado, collada: col, for instance "Collado de Gete"
* Pico: peak, for instance "Pico Fontún"
* Peña: peak (very tipical from León, Asturias, Santander), for instance "Peña Ten"
* Torre: peak (very tipical from León, Asturias, Santander), for instance "Torre del Friero"
* Cueto: peak, for instance "Cueto Millaró"
* Puerto: mountain pass, for instance "Puerto de Pajares"
* Cordillera: big group of mountains, for instance "Cordillera Cantábrica"
* Macizo: group of some mountains or peaks, for instance "Macizo Central, Urrieles of Picos de Europa"
* Cumbre: summit
* Cima: summit
* Canal: corridor, for intance "La Canal de Dobresengos", note it´s in femenine
* Canaleta: narrow corridor
* Hoces: canyon made by a river, for instance "Hoces de Vegacervera", "Hoces de Valdejeja"
* Valle: valley, for intance "Valle de Valdeón"
* Río: river, for instance "Río Torío"
* Horcado: narrow col between two peak, normally difficult to cross, for intance "Horcado de Pambuches"
Books I recomend.
Montañas de León (in Spanish only)
Ramón Lozano, Santiago Morán
Description in detail of more than one hundred routes across the mountain of the León province, including the Picos de Europa Area and many others.
Book details (English) | Book details (Spanish)
50 montañas de la Cordillera Cantábrica (in Spanish only)
Really useful book about the most remarkable mountains in Cordillera Cantábrica massif. It doesn´t containt anything about Picos de Europa area so it lets it go along another interesnting and no so famous mountains.
Book details (Spanish)
Another remarkable peaks in the area* Los Currillines, Currillos, Peña de los Bueyes - 1942 m
* Bodón - 1960 m
* Machamedio -1916 m
* Tres Marías - 1971, 1930 and 1893 m
* Peña Ortegal -1993 m
* Barragana - 1901 m
* Braña Caballo, Cueto Millaró -2181 m
The Spanish corner :-)Info in Spanish for Spanish Speakers & Spanish Studients:
Para todos aquellos que no tengan un inglés súper, y yo me incluyo, he decidido añadir esta sección. También para todos aquellos que estudian o están aprendiendo español.
¿Qué podría decir de este pico que no me saliera del corazón? Amo a este pico y guardo muy buenos recuerdos de él.
Es un lugar accesible y hermoso. Idóneo para principiantes como yo, o para cualquiera que quiera pasar unas horas en la montaña. No hemos de olvidar que sus paredones son un paraiso de los escaladores de roca.
El área de Villamanín lo tiene todo para los amantes de la montaña, y cuando digo todo, es todo. Hay fantásticos picos, para todos los gustos, hoces, una estación de esquí no muy lejos de allí, gastronomía, alojamientos rurales... y excelentes comunicaciones. Tal vez, en cuanto a la montaña de León se refiere, se el lugar con mejores comunicaciones, tanto privadas como públicas.
Para una información más detallada os remito al texto en inglés. Si tuviéseis algún problema estoy a vuestra disposición para facilitaros toda la información que esté a mi alcance.
- Cristino Torio´s web site
Web about León Mountain by one of the most well known climber in the León province (Available only in Spanish)
- Web Site about Picos de Europa and the North mountains
Information, photographies a lots of things about Picos de Europa, the tallest montains along Cordillera Cantabrica and the North of Spain. It counts with a valuable informations by the hand of the people on the forum, most of them experts in these mountains. I´m sure they can answer your question even in English, French or German (Available only in Spanish)
- Castilla y León Tourism Official Web Site
You can find here many information about this region, as camp sites, accomodations, monuments, culture, nature, it could be a valuable tool to plan your holidays and trip along the mountains of this region. (Avalaible in many languages)
- Cueva de Valporquero Official Web Site
Information about this amazing cave not far from Fontún peak, if you are here don´t loose the opportunity to visit it (Avalaible only in Spanish)
- Cueva de Llamazares web site
Not so well known as Cueva de Valporquero, this cave is really interesting and exciting. You´ll enjoy your visit (Avalable only in Spanish)