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Macizo de Andara
Area/Range

Macizo de Andara

 
Macizo de Andara

Page Type: Area/Range

Location: Asturias/Cantabria/Leon, Spain, Europe

Lat/Lon: 43.19147°N / 4.73341°W

Object Title: Macizo de Andara

Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering, Scrambling, Skiing

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Elevation: 8018 ft / 2444 m

 

Page By: selinunte01

Created/Edited: Oct 22, 2013 / Aug 31, 2014

Object ID: 873175

Hits: 1064 

Page Score: 76.66%  - 7 Votes 

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Overview

 
Macizo de Andara
Potes and Andara south faces


The Macizo de Andara is the easternmost of the three Picos de Europa ranges. The range culminates with the Morra de Lechugales summit at 2444 m, which means a good deal lower than the high summits of the Macizo Los Urielles or El Cornion. The mountains, too, are less “wild” and rugged, simply less “Picos” than the summits of the two other ranges. There is no Naranjo de Bulnes – like peak in the Andara Range, no summit to be compared with, e.g., Pena Santa de Castilla or Torre Ceredo.

Nevertheless Macizo de Andara is a beautiful and enthralling area. It is like the El Cornion range a huge and oblique karst plateau with many “Vegas” and “Jous”, glaciation features, karst holes, hollows, caves, withered limestone slabs and many, many old and abandoned mines.

 
Macizo de Andara
Picos de Europa overview with Macizo de Andara location


This karst plateau rises from north to south and ends high above the southern Liebana area and the little town of Potes. Near perpendicular rock faces are dropping down several hundred meters of altitude difference to the woods, fields and vineyards of Liebana. When viewed from Potes, the Macizo de Andara is a huge, impressive rock wall, extending from east to west over a distance of about 10 km!

Whereas the lovely Liebana region, located on the southern lee side of the Picos de Europa and thus sheltered from most of the northern and northwestern bad weather, is almost a Mediterranean region with vineyards and southern fruits, the rather harsh north side of Macizo de Andara is used for livestock farming. Some alpine Majadas are – as in the two other Picos ranges – still in use.

For the mountaineer the Andara range offers interesting hikes and long traverses, sometimes on cairned or not cairned off-trail routes, flavored with some rock scrambling and, from time to time, some route finding problems. You will often find yourself completely alone, accompanied only by some high soaring vultures or some very shy chamois.

Macizo de Andara
Morra di Lechugales, Picos de Jierro
Macizo de Andara
Andara as seen from El Cable
Macizo de Andara
Picos de Jierro


As far as I know the Andara region is not a region for climbing, like the Macizo Los Urielles. Ski touring and snow shoeing is possible, as long as there is sufficient snow.

The Liebana valley offers abundand half day and day hikes below the towering south faces of Andara peaks, starting and ending at the small and nice villages in the surrounding of Potes like Lon, Brez or Mongrovejo.

Macizo de Andara
Potes
Macizo de Andara
Potes
Macizo de Andara
Potes


Potes itself is a phantastic little medieval town, where the famous Orujo and the Crema de Orujo de Liebana comes from.
Around Potes you find, too, very old churches of the pre-medieval and medieval times, thus adding an interesting cultural element to the hikes and outings within the area.

Macizo de Andara
Santa Maria de Lebena
Macizo de Andara
Inside Santa Maria de Lebena


Macizo de Andara
San Toribio near Potes
Macizo de Andara
San Miguel


The region of Arenas de Cabrales is famous for is cheese production, among them the well known Queso de Cabrales, a strong blue mould cheese which mature inside caves with different mould spores.


Getting There

The main villages of the area are:

  • Panes

  • Arenas de Cabrales

  • Potes



  • Macizo de Andara
    Potes
    Macizo de Andara
    Desfiladero de la Hermida
    Macizo de Andara
    Jito Escarandi and mine road to Andara


     
    Macizo de Andara
    Village of Sotres



  • You reach Panes from the highway number A 8, the “autovia Cantabrica” from the exit Unquera by following road number N-621 to Panes.

  • If you continue on N-621 through the magnificent Desfiladero de la Hermida you reach Potes, too.

  • Coming from the south use N-625 from the Leon region to Cistierna and continue on N-621 to Riaño, Potes and Panes.

  • To reach Arenas de Cabrales take road number AS-114 from Panes. The same road goes from Cangas de Onis (N-634 and N-625 from the highway exit Ribadesella via Arriondas) to Arenas de Cabrales.

  • From Potes many minor roads are leading to the villages and trailheads south of Macizo de Andara.

  • The main northern trailhead, Jito de Escarandi, can be reached by using road number AS-264 from Arenas de Cabrales to Poncebos. Turn there on road number CA-1 to Tielve and Sotres. At Sotres, follow the road in the direction to Tresviso (still CA-1) until you reach the col of Jito de Escarandi with its hiker parking area (free parking).



  • Macizo de Andara
    Valle de Andara with Pico Samelar, La Rasa de la Inagotable and Pico del Grajal de Abajo
    Macizo de Andara
    Picas del Hou Sin Tierre and Cueto Teyau as seen from Pico Valdominguero


    The next international airports are:

  • Aeropuerto de Asturias near Aviles, Gijon and Oviedo

  • Aireportua de Bilbao



  • The railway company FEVE runs the coastal railway line between Santander and Oviedo thus serving the coastal villages north of the Picos de Europa.

    The ALSA company runs the local bus lines.



    Accommodation

    You find all types of accommodation at:

  • Arenas de Cabrales

  • Sotres

  • Tielve

  • Tresviso

  • Panes

  • Potes


  • and many little villages west and northwest of Potes:

    Espinama, Pembes, Llaves, Vallejo, Mongrovejo, Tanarrio, Brez, Camaleňo, Lon, Beares, Argüebanes, Turieno, Rases, Colio, Pendes ….

    Macizo de Andara
    Duje valley
    Macizo de Andara
    Caseton de Andara


    The only mountain hut in the Macizo de Andara is:

    Caseton de Andara with 20 places, food and drinks; guarded throughout summer


    Geography & Summits




     
    Macizo de Andara
    Pico Valdominguero


    The limitation of the Macizo de Andara is as follows:

  • the Liebana valley to the south

  • the valley of the Rio Duje and the Aliva col (Puertos de Aliva) to the west

  • the Sotres – Tresviso – Bejes road to the north with the huge col Jito Escarandi

  • the Desfiladero de la Hermida, the Rio Deva gorge between Panes and Potes to the east.



  • I´m not sure whether the low ranges between the Cabrales valley to the north and the Sotres – Tresviso road with Jito Escarandi to the south, called Sierra Cocón, Sierra Nedrina and Sierra de Llamea, belong geographically to the Andara region. The Spanish Wikipedia article on Macizo de Andara however clearly says: no. Jito de Escarandi is the northern limitation of the Macizo.

    Macizo de Andara
    La Rasa de la Inagotable and La Junciana
    Macizo de Andara
    Pico de Samelar
    Macizo de Andara
    Rock window near Pico del Grajal de Arriba


    The main part of the Andara region belongs to the province of Cantabria. The western parts are within Principado de Asturias. The province boundary crosses the Jito de Escarandi and runs north – south on the ridge to Pico Valdominguero and Pica del Jierru. South of Morra de Lechugales the boundary bends to the west and goes down to the Rio Duje, crossing the valley and heading to Pico Tesorero within the Macizo Los Urielles.

    The two main ranges of Macizo de Andara run from east (Cueto La Lomba) to west (Pica del Jierro) and from north (Pica de Huente Soles near Jito Escarandi) to south (Cumbres Avenas), thus building a T-shape with the meeting point at Pica del Jierro.

    Macizo de Andara
    Hoyo Evangelista
    Macizo de Andara
    Puertos de Aliva, Cumbres Avena


    There are several huge “Valle”, “Canales” and “Jous” or “Hoyos” within Macizo de Andara, among them:

    the beautiful Valle de Andara between Pico Valdominguero and Pica del Jierro / Picos de Grajales,
    the high Hoyo del Evangelista between the Grajales peaks and Silla del Caballo Cimero,
    the Canal de las Arredondas, dropping down from the Grajales peak to the village of Lon – one of the long and demanding southern ascents into the area,
    the Vega del Hoyo Oscuro between La Rasa de la Inagotable, La Sagrada Corazon and Pico Samelar and
    the Canal de San Carlos between La Sagrada Corazon and the Samelar ridges.

    Macizo de Andara
    Valle de Andara, Picos Valdominguero and Soriano
    Macizo de Andara
    Valle de Andara, Pica del Jierro


    Summits of the Macizo de Andara (minor and secondary summits are in Italics):

    East to West main ridge

    SummitHeightImage
    El Ciruenzo1304 m; 4278 ft 
    no photo
    Las Caecinas1312 m; 4304 ft 
    no photo
    Pico de la Peña1352 m; 4435 ft 
    no photo
    Pico del Acero1676 m; 5498 ft 
    no photo
    Pico de las Agudinas1975 m; 6479 ft 
    no photo
    Alto de las Verdianas2024 m; 6640 ft 
    no photo
    Cueto de las Becerras1864 m; 6115 ft 
    no photo
    Pico de Samelar2236 m; 7335 ft 
    Macizo de Andara
    Canto de la Concha2093 m; 6866 ft 
    no photo
    Pico San Carlos or La Sagrada Corazon2212 m; 7257 ft 
    Macizo de Andara
    Peña del Roblo1785 m; 5856 ft 
    no photo
    Pico de la Jonfría2065 m; 6774 ft 
    no photo
    La Junciana2267 m; 7437 ft 
    Macizo de Andara
    (right)
    La Rasa de la Inagotable2282 m; 7486 ft 
    Macizo de Andara
    Castillo de Grajal2091 m; 6860 ft 
    Macizo de Andara
    Pica del Macondiú2000 m; 6561 ft 
    Macizo de Andara
    Pico del Grajal de Abajo2246 m; 7368 ft 
    Macizo de Andara
    Pico del Grajal de Arriba2349 m; 7706 ft 
    Macizo de Andara
    center
    Pica del Jierro (Pica l´Herru)2423 m; 7949 ft 
    Macizo de Andara


    North to South main ridge


    SummitHeightImage
    Pica de Huente Soles1562 m; 5124 ft 
    no photo
    Pico Boru1897 m; 6223 ft 
    Macizo de Andara
    Cueto de la Ramazosa1889 m; 6197 ft  
    no photo
    Cueto Los Senderos1914 m; 6279 ft 
    no photo
    Cuetu Teyau2126 m; 6975 ft 
    Macizo de Andara
    Picas del Hou Sin Tierre2159 m; 7083 ft 
    Macizo de Andara
    Pico Soriano2179 m; 7148 ft 
    Macizo de Andara
    Pico Valdominguero2264 m; 7427 ft 
    Macizo de Andara
    Pica del Jierro (Pica l´Herru)2423 m; 7949 ft 
    Macizo de Andara
    Picos del Jierro2432 m; 7979 ft 
    Macizo de Andara
    left
    Morra de Lechugales, highest summit of Macizo de Andara2444 m; 8018 ft 
    Macizo de Andara
    right
    Silla del Caballo Cimero2436 m; 7992 ft 
    Macizo de Andara

    Tabla del Pino2151 m; 7057 ft 
    no photo
    Cueto La Encina 2272 m; 7454 ft  
    no photo
    Cortés (El Jiso)2371 m; 7778 ft  
    Macizo de Andara
    Prao Cortés2283 m; 7490 ft 
    Macizo de Andaraleft
    Pico Pozán2172 m; 7125 ft  
    no photo
    Picos de Cámara2107 m; 6912 ft  
    no photo
    Pico del Corvo1873 m; 6145 ft 
    Macizo de Andara
    left
    Pico de la Canal Arenosa1882 m; 6174 ft 
    Macizo de Andara
    center
    Pico del Joracón de la Miel1914 m; 6279 ft 
    Macizo de Andara
    right
    Pico del Buey1886 m; 6187 ft 
    Macizo de Andara
    right


     
    Macizo de Andara
    Main Andara summits as seen from Pena Castil ascent


    Traverse Routes and Ski Routes


    As in the other two Macizos the Andara range bears some main traverse and loop routes:

    1. Jito Escarandi – Pico Valdominguero – Collaú Valdominguero – Valle de Andara – Caseton de Andara – Jito Escarandi

    2. Jito Escarandi – Caseton de Andara – Collado de Mojon – Pico de Grajal de Arriba – Col between Morra de Lechugales and Silla del Caballo Cimero – Canal de Lechugales – villages of Brez / Mongrovejo / Tanarrio (some parts not marked, off trail parts!)

    3. Jito Escarandi – Caseton de Andara – Collado de Mojon – Canal de las Arredondas – village of Lon

    4. Jito Escarandi – Caseton de Andara – Collado de San Carlos – Canal de San Carlos – villages of Colio or Argüebanes

    5. Jito Escarandi – Caseton de Andara – Collado de San Carlos – Pico de Samelar – La Hendida – Collado de la Llaguna – Collado de las Caecinas – village of Colio



    Macizo de Andara
    Pico del Grajal de Abajo
    Macizo de Andara
    Pico del Grajal de Arriba


    Main ski routes are:

    1. Jito Escarandi – Caseton de Andara – Collado de Mojon – La Rasa de la Inagotable

    2. Brez or Lon – Canal de las Arredondas - Collado de Mojon – La Rasa de la Inagotable

    3. Jito Escarandi – Caseton de Andara – La Sagrada Corazon and / or Pico de Samelar;
      Another ski route uses the north slopes of Pico de Samelar to reach the top of this main ski summit of the Andara range.

    4. Lon or Argüebanes – Canal de San Carlos – Collado de San Carlos – La Sagrada Corazon and / or Pico de Samelar



    Many other ski routes are possible due to the more soft landscape within the Macizo de Andara.


    Geology

     
    Macizo de Andara
    Geological cross section of Picos de Europa


    The sedimentation of the limestone series which forms nowadays the Picos de Europa, is a very old one. During the Carboniferous period, some 359 to 299 million years ago, the two main continental areas, Laurussia and Gondwana, collided slowly, thus causing the Variscan mountain building.

    During this orogeny marine basins came into existence, so-called foreland basins, where the sheer weight of the compressed and uplifted new mountain masses forced down the lithosphere at its outer rims. In one of these marine foreland basins the limestone series of Picos de Europa came into existence.

     
    Macizo de Andara
    Stratigraphic column of Picos de Europa


    As the Variscan Orogeny was still going on, the Picos limestones were involved in the orogenetic processes not a long time after their sedimentation. They were compressed from an extension of about 150 km along the old Gondwana continental margin to an extend on about 15 km nowadays. In addition the limestone blocks were first thrusted eastwards, the rotated to the south thus creating a complexe thrust pattern in the whole Picos area and the impressive southern rock faces of Andara massif.

    During these early times, possibly in Permian ages, hydrothermal zinc and lead ore deposits form in rock fractures, mainly sphalerite and galena. The largest deposits were found around the Andara valley and west of Puertos de Aliva. Mining started already about 1500 to 2000 b.c. and ended 1989.

    Macizo de Andara
    Abandoned ore mine in Valle de Andara
    Macizo de Andara
    Abandoned ore mine in Valle de Andara
    Macizo de Andara
    Abandoned ore mine in Valle de Andara


    As far as the Picos limestones where exposed to atmospherical action, rainwater started its work of karstification, building huge cave systems, hollows and sinkholes called “Jou” (or “Hou” in Asturias) but also small scale features like vertical fluting of rock faces or knifes edge limestones. More recently, glaciations during the ice ages widened the Jous and valleys, creating huge cirques, and “Canales”, valleys and gorges. The actions of ice and rain continue to erode and dissolve the rock, forming the characteristic landscapes we see today.



    Red Tape

     
    Macizo de Andara
    National Park boundaries


    The Macizo de Andara is part of the Parque National de los Picos de Europa.

    The national park was set up in may 1995 by enlarging its predecessor, the "Parque Nacional de la Montaña de Covadonga" (National Park of the Covadonga Mountains). This one was founded in 1918 to mark the 12th centenary of the famous Battle of Covadonga in 718 (or 722), the ignition point for the long Spanish Reconquista, which ended in 1492 by conquering Granada.

    The National Park actually includes a total of 64,660 ha. In July 2003 the Picos de Europa were made a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.

    The entrance to the national park is free, you need no permits.

    Macizo de Andara
    Picas del Hou Sin Tierre
    Macizo de Andara
    Pica del Jierro
    Macizo de Andara
    Silla del Caballo Cimero


    There are the following regulations for the park:

    1. Generally respect the nature settings of the park and its cultural and natural values.

    2. Respect all plants, animals and minerals, don´t collect / disturb them.

    3. Use mainly the trails, roads or cairned routes for your outings in the National Park

    4. Take your waste out of the park.

    5. No fires within the park boundaries.

    6. No fishing and hunting within the park.

    7. Follow the advices of the National Park staff.

    8. Free camping is not allowed within the park. Bivouac is allowed in zones above 1.600 m from one hour before sunset until one hour after sunrise.

    9. No bathing in the lakes and creeks within the park.




    Maps & Guide Books

    Maps

    Picos de Europa; Central and Eastern Massifs (Los Urielles Y Andara); Topographic Map, scale 1 : 25.000 with Hiking Trails; Adrados Ediciones –

    the best and most detailed map as far as I know

    For more information see the Adrados website (only in Spanish).

    A good hiking map, not too detailed but sufficient for simple hikes:

    Parque Nacional de Picos de Europa; 2 Mapas Excursionistas, Escala 1 : 40.000, Macizo Central y Oriental; Macizo Occidental; Editorial Alpina

    Macizo de Andara
    Castillo de Grajal
    Macizo de Andara
    El Cortés


    Guide Books

    Standard guide book in English:

    Robin Walker: Picos de Europa, Walks and Climbs, Cicerone guide

    Spanish publications and more maps can be purchased in the towns and villages round the Picos.



    Images