Peña Vieja is located in Picos de Europa National Park, one of the most important mountaineering areas in Spain, situated in northern provinces of Asturias, Cantabria and León (43º 7' - 43º 19' North and 4º 34' - 5º 8' West). It's the 9th highest point of Picos de Europa (2.613 m) and also the 9th highest summit of the Central Massif (Urrieles). First ascent by Aymart d'Arlot (Count of Saint-Saud), Paul Labrouche and Cosme Soberón through the normal route on the 9th of July 1890.
In general, the accesses by road are short and quite simple. Peña Vieja can be approach: From the north (Cantabria): The town of "Unquera" is well conected with Santander and Oviedo. From "Unquera" the N 621 road goes south through "La Hermida" gorge to the small town of "Potes" (the cable car station of "Fuente Dé" is nearly 25 Km from it). From the south (León): From the townof "Riaño" take the N 621 to the north as far as "Potes" through the "San Glorio" pass (1.598 m). Fuente Dé cable car is an original and comfortable way to approach Peña Vieja and the Central Massif of Picos de Europa National Park. The cable car gains, in a few minutes, 750 m height to the upper station, called "El Cable" (1.834 m).
Climbing is usually possible since late spring till early autumn. In late August the weather tends to get worse, although decent conditions can be found in October. The first snowfalls ususally occur at the end of September. Picos de Europa is a rugged area and can be dangerous. In particular the changeable weather (in autumn the temperature can drop very quickly). In winter and part of spring Picos de Europa is covered with snow, making crampons and ice axe necesary. Forecast for 5 days in the Picos de Europa area.
Peña Vieja is probably the most crowded summit in Picos de Europa National Park due to its easy and comfortable ascent from the upper station of cable car. Difficulty (UIAA): F (790 meters). The normal route is situated in the NO face, accessible by the "Collado de la Canalona". From "El Cable" (1.834 m) take the trail to the "Horcadina de Covarrobres" (1.925 m) and then take the "Cabaña Verónica" hut route (left trail), below the "Peña Olvidada" vertical walls. You have to leave the "Cabaña Verónica" route when the path is divided in two (2.220 m height). Then take the path on the right (east direction) and follow a quite clear path, sometimes stone sculpted, until "Collado de la Canalona" (2.444 m). That takes you about 1 hour and 45 minutes. In 45 minutes time you can get the summit from "Collado de la Canalona" by a irregular path in the final ramp of the NO face. The "Canal del Vidrio" route in the East face of "Peña Vieja" is another way to reach the ramp of the NO face. This alternative route begins in the disused "Aliva" mines.
Webs: www.picoseuropa.net/pvieja/pvieja.php (in spanish). Bibliography: "Picos de Europa". Isidoro Rodriguez Cubillas. Ediciones Lancia (2002). ISBN: 84-8177-071-X.