It is the most elevated mountain of Sistema Central, wich includes Sierra de Gredos and its Macizo Central. Some recent maps as CGE serie L (series M7814) sheet 14-23 of 2000 low the elevation of the top to 2.591 m / 8,501 ft (ftp://ftp.geodesia.ign.es/Red_Geodesica/Hoja0577/057764.pdf). The name of Almanzor has the origin when the arabs occupied Spain and recalls to Almanzor moorish leader. Between AD 900 and 1000 he camped up to the Sierra and next penetrated into it with some locals and his subjects. Then arrived to Laguna Grande in Circo (circus) de Gredos and put his eyes on that unnamed mountain. Climbed to a gap (portilla) next to the peak where they could see the great South plain. The name of Plaza del Moro Almanzor was then for Circo de Gredos and next was allot to its principal summit.
Almanzor is a very visited granite peak, almost like Circo de Gredos. It's located to the south of Cuchillar (ridge) de Ballesteros. The first ascent was in September 1899 by M. González de Amezúa and José Ibrián, and the first winter ascent would be in 1903 by the last one, Espada, Ontañon and Abricarro. In 1918 a letterbox was placed on his summit and in 1960 the present iron cross 1 meter-tall. Two gaps, Portilla del Crampón (2.544 m) and Portilla de los Cobardes (2.534 m), are on the trails to the normal routes. Both routes requires 2.5 hours from Refugio Elola, placed at Laguna Grande, and 4.5 hours from the parking called Plataforma. Portilla de los Cobardes is the easiest route in winter because of the less steeper slopes.
To reach Laguna Grande from Plataforma (1.780 m), follow a wide rocky track Wwards to Prado de las Pozas (1.902 m). Pass this meadow and the stream over a little bridge, up to Los Barrerones (2.183 m), to the right of a rocky buttress. Once there don't loose height to the right (attention in winter because of ice and on foggy days) and walk downwards to the North side of Laguna Grande. Go round Laguna by its left shore to Refugio Elola (1.945 m).
Maps and Sketches
The most common and almost the only transport to get to Plataforma is by car.
Madrid is distant 188 Km by A-6 highway to Avila, C-502 to Venta Rasquilla (just before the bridge over Arroyo Arenillas), C-500 to Hoyos del Espino and then turn left to drive 12 Km more to Plataforma de Gredos. You can also get there passing El Escorial: drive by A-6 highway over 47 Km, C-600 to El Escorial and C-505 to Avila. Then follow the previous itinerary.
There are a lot of roads coming from the south and west as well as if you come from Toledo, Cáceres or Salamanca.
Red Tape and Refuges
Though there was no red tape an important change on leaving your vehicle at La Plataforma has been made since October 12th, 2012. It's having to be said that the price for private vehicles on weekends and holiday is 2,50€ having no closing time. You'll have to pay from 8:00 to 20:00 from June to September and from 9:00 to 18:00 the rest months of the year. But as I've said before it's only for paying on weekends and holiday. (Dec 8th, 2015)
Refugio Elola (1.945 m) open from June to October and weekends out of these period, also fest days except 24 and 25 of December or meteorological impossibility (a little part of the hut remains open). Bad service, don't try to buy anything in the morning if you haven't slept in the hut, you won't be served.
Tel. Refugio Elola: 920 20 75 76 or 920 22 83 93 (answer machine in Avila). Reserves are required to spend the night in the hut.
Tel. Refugio de Reguero Llano: 606 78 05 89. Note that it's a mobile phone, sometimes is out of covering so let a message. This is a private refuge hold by my friend Jose, so be nice with him and his dogs. He also will be friendly if you make the reserve until the arrive. Private, 60 places (many litters), without cooks, meals (only if ordering). It's placed on the NE side of Prado de las Pozas, only at 30 min-walk from Plataforma if you use the wide rocky track that pass besides Pluviómetro, or 20 minutes if you take the short cut straightly Wwards from Plataforma.
Camping is not allowed, it's forbidden in the Park but it's difficult that a ranger a ranger localize your tent out of the route to Laguna Grande and Circo de Gredos. Many people camp near Refugio Elola at nights but they could be fined it the ranger wants to.
When To Climb
From October to July you could find snow at Gredos. Therefore crampons and ice axe in winter are highly recommended as well as winter clothes because the temperatures can sometimes be under -15 ºC / 5 F. You could also practice ski-mountaineering during the winter and early spring.
Spanish publishing company of mountain books. In this section you can find all about refuges, snow and ice conditions, roads, avalanches and weather of Sierra de Gredos. Also in desnivel.com you can buy books about this subject.