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In the North of Spain, Peña de la Calabazosa stands in the heart of the Montaña Occidental Leonesa, a slice of the Cantabrian divide that separates counties of Babia (León, in the South) and Somiedo (Asturias, in the North).
This mountain is a limestone crest, ripping the green, smooth surface of the surrounding hills. On its northern slope, there's a basin with around half-a-dozen of small lakes; the highest of them gives its name to the peak. To the South, the ground drops five hundred meters from the summit to the deep valleys of Valverde and Congosto.
Located halfway to the Orniz and Ubiña “peñas”, two of most illustrious Cantabrian summits, is a fantastic viewpoint on both. It forms a part of a ridge that allows easy but spectacular long walks, between sky and ground. In sum, the Peña de la Calabazosa is a modest but beautiful peak, with very accessible ascents.
The nearest place with lodging, shops, banks and other facilities is San Emiliano, 400 km from Madrid (or 95 km from León) via A-6 and A-66 motorways and CL-623 road (last 20 km).
From San Emiliano to the usual bases of ascent, the maximum range is 15 km, in all cases feasible by car.
Cartography 1/50000: IGN. Serial MTN50, sheet 77 (12-6) "LA PLAZA", available free in the IGN official web
(Spanish government cartographic agency).
You can find a specific mountain weather forecast for Cordillera Cantábrica in the AEMET official website
(Spanish government weather agency).
In general the snow persist in this area from november to may. The weather can change very fast; remember that de Ocean is only 55 km to the North.
Most Common Routes
All the normal routes to this summit are easy and short. They mainly consist of walking through meadows or rocky ground:
- From the Collada Balbarán, through the lakes
, height gap 500 m.
- From the Collada Balbarán, along the ridge
, height gap 400 m. There are some aerial passages.
- From Torrestío, through the Collada Sousas or Collado Queixeiro, height gap 700 m.
- From La Majúa (San Emiliano), trough El Congosto, height gap 850 m.
With snow, slopes of 45º maximum in all of them.
Camping and huts
There are several suitable places to camp in the surounds of the Calabazosa. In my opinion, the best are:
- Valverde Valley, at 1.450 m hight around (43.03991º N / 6.06611º W).
- Calabazosa Lagoons (43.04500º N / 6.09572º W).
Free camping is forbidden but you can do bivouac, with the tent settled only at night.
There is a little free hut
with fireplace, for about six people, near the Calabazosa Lagoons (43.04500º N / 6.09572º W). The building is in good conditions but too dirty inside. For example, in may 2008 was impossible to use the fireplace due to the accumulated garbage. I could only use it in case of emergency