Visible in the distance from León city, this peak is definitely one of the most important and well known peaks in León province and Asturias, also, one of the most visited.
Just between León and Asturias, not far from Puerto de la Ventana (a road mountain pass), the peak lies on the region called Babia. In fact, Peña Ubiña (la Grande, the Big One) is the biggest and highest peak of Macizo de Ubiña, a massif that takes its name from this popular mountain. Any others peaks belongs to this massif, more 2000 meters high, like Portillín peak 2365 m, El Siete peak 2386 m, El Prao peak 2364 m, El Fontán peak 2408 m, Colinas peak 2215 m and another popular peak called Peña Ubiña la Pequeña (it means the Small one).
View of Peña Ubiña from Cirbanal peak
Around the name Ubiña
According to Tomás Blázquez
SummitPoster the name Ubiña comes from the spanish word "ovina" than means ovine (related to sheep). For many years thounsand of sheeps comes from Extremadura through the Cañadas Reales to this area. (Cañadas Reales was net of roads dedicated to move the sheeps between South Spain to North Spain during Spring and move back during the Winter).
So the meaning of the name of the mountain could be translate as sheep mountain.
The area around Ubiña, called Babia, has given some words and expresions to language Spanish.
, the horse of the famous Spanish medieval heroe El Cid Campeador (Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar), from some authors, took its name from this area Babia (you´d probably remember the Sophia Loren and Charlton Heston´s film).
Babia was the origin of the Spanish expresion "estar en Babia" (to be on Babia) that means to be absent-minded. The origin of the expresion was in the Middle Age when kings used to spend their holidays in this region hunting and relaxing. When someone asked for the king the answer was allways "he is on Babia". Also, if the king didn´t wish to recieve someone, just order to say he was on Babia.
You can use public transport, as a coach, but it´s better if you use your own car.
In any case, you need to go to Babia area, a quite pretty and quiet place to visit.
a) From León:
C-623 road is the best option. The road is OK, and you´ll have great views as well, specialy crossing Luna region where there is a reservoir and lovely mountains.
Go towards San Emiliano and Puerto de Ventana. You´ll find and intersection with LE-481 that goes to the North (right hand).
Just take it. Then go to Torrebarrio, probably the best point to start the climb.
b) From Asturias:
The best way is crossing the mountains through Puerto de Ventana. Take the road to San Martín de Teverga. The road crosses a really green lovely area. Go to Torrebarrio as well.
As in other mountains in León province there´s nothing special to say about. No wild dangerous animals known.
PLEASE: Keep the environment clean.
When To Climb
I´m not completely sure, because I knew the peak on summer, but I really believe it´s not a good idea going there in winter if don´t have a good mountain experience and you aren´t well trained. Surely, on winter, the climb will need technical skills and will be harder as well. You´ll definetly need a good equipement, crampons and ice-axe are mandatory.
The snow would be a risk, there is one of the last peaks who has snow on spring.
Of course, the difficulty depends on the route you take. There ara several difficult corridors to go to the summit.
This mountain it´s really a challenge for lots of mountainers and ice-climbers, but some people had died climbing on ice on
the most complicated routes.
Appart from that, strong winds can be lethal on the redge, be careful.
On summer or fall the peak could be only hard, because of the altitude you have to go climb, but not very difficult, just walk up. Of course, I´m talking about the most popular routes. You can choose difficult (technical and physical) routes or even try to make up a new one as you climb.
Peña Ubiña (left) from the NE approach to Peña Cerreos. Central Asturias, Spain. February 2006
Camp is not allowed in León province, except private camp sites.
You have many possibilities of accomodation in the area.
You´ll find private camp sites not far from Torrebarrio, for instance in Luna region (Sena de Luna, Mirantes de Luna, Barrios de Luna). Even in Caldas de Luna there is a lovely thermal water spa where you can relax body and mind.
South view of Ubiña massif from Braña Caballo peak
On winter the altitude make it a cold place. Also you´ll find a lot of snow. In corridors with high inclination avalanches are a possibility.
Noth wind can hit strongly on the redge.
On fall and spring it can rain heavily, remember the sea it´s not very far. A rain coat it´s allways a good idea.
Summer time it´s obviously hot, about 30º, sometimes a bit more.
[ 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.
** 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.
The 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, massif, 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
* Peña Ubiña la Pequeña - 2196 m
* Castillines - 2270 m, 2250m
* Cirbanal - 2081 m
* Ferreirúa - 1983 m
* Tres Marías - El Palero 1893 m
* Peña Cerreos - 2101 m
|Castillines and El Fontán
|Peña Ubiña La Pequeña
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.
Peña Ubiña es un lugar obligatorio, porque es un pico de referencia en toda la zona Norte y la Cordillera Cantábrica. Aún
recuerdo que fue uno de los nombres de montes que estudié en la escuela. El hecho de que Peña Ubiña, en los días claros asome (tras un pico situado cerca de La Magdalena, Altos de Rucias) y sea visible desde León, y que sea vea fácilmente desde multitud de puntos de la provincia invita a acercarse a él. No en vano los fines de semana mucha gente lo hace.
También el hecho de que cuando muchos de los montes han perdido su color blanco, Peña Ubiña sigue obstinadamente cubierta de nieve, desafiando los calores primaverales.
Además es una montaña de grandes dimensiones, y que aparece en cierto modo separada de su entorno.
Es un clásico, si estás cerca no dudes en conocerlo.
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.
I´d like to recomend Cristino Torio´s pages about Peña Ubiña. He has created very good pages plenty of valuable information. His pages are available in Spanish only.
Link to the Cristino Torio´s page about Peña Ubiña:
Link to the Cristino Torio´s page about ice climbing on Peña Ubiña:
Also, I find very interesting the Asociación de amigos de Babia web site (the web site of a mountain club from the Babia area):
Pinos de Babia web page
Good contents, nice pictures and YouTube videos are the qualities of this web site.
By the way, I have found more videos on YouTube related to Peña Ubiña. If you like videos just search the string "Peña Ubiña" on www.youtube.com.
Another interesting links
- 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)