Pica and Picos del Jierro as seen from Cabeza de las Monas
The highest peaks and summits of Macizo de Andara
are close together and located around the culmination point of the range: Morra di Lechugales
From this summit a ridge stretches to the north where the Jierro peaks are located close to Morra di Lechugales.
For those who are not accustomed to the Spanish and Asturian denominations the situation can be quite confusing: The broadest of these Jierro peaks is named Pica del Jierro or Pica l´Jierro or Pica l´Herru. The Picos del Jierro (or del Herru) are located between the Pica del Jierro to the north and the Morra di Lechugales to the south. This is at least the situation stated in the Adrados map.
Pica del Jierro
is the meeting point of the two main ridges of Andara massif: the east – west main ridge and the south north main ridge.
To the north there is Collau Valdominguero, some 300 m lower than the Pica. The north ridge from the Collau has beautiful meadows in its lower part, the so called Campos de Valdominguero
To the east is located Pico del Grajal de Arriba
, about 80 m lower than Pica del Jierro. To the south a col, some 50 m lower, separates the Pica from the Picos del Jierro. The west face of Pica del Jierro drops down about 1300 m to the Duje valley.
The Picos del Jierro
ridge borders the Hoyo del Evangelista
, a huge sinkhole, to the west. The highest point of this ridge is stated with 2432 m in the Adrados map, thus marking the Picos del Jierro as third highest mountain of Macizo de Andara. As the Picos and the Pica are located close to Morra di Lechugales and Silla del Caballo Cimero, all four summits can be visited together in one day trip.
Pica del Jierro is a distinct mountain and may get visits for its own. The Picos del Jierro don´t have this prominence, this makes them, perhaps, less frequented.
But both summits offer excellent views, especially down to Duje valley and to the peaks of the Macizo Los Urielles. On clear days even the town of Santander can be spotted in the far northeast.
Macizo Los Urielles as seen from Picos del Jierro
Main trailheads are
You reach Sotres
or Jito Escarandi
on road number AS-264
from Arenas de Cabrales
(look up the Macizo de Andara SP page
how to get to Arenas de Cabrales) to Poncebos
. Turn there on road number CA-1
Invernales del Texu
can be reached by leaving the CA-1 at the first switchback
about 1 km before reaching Sotres. Follow the dirt road for a while and park your car above the Invernales.
until you reach Sotres
, leave the village on that road to the east and park your car at or near the first switchback after the village limits.
For Jito Escarandi
until you reach this col between Sotres and Tresviso; there is a hiker parking area on the right side of the road.
For Caseton de Andara
leave your car at Jito Escarandi and follow the old mine road
in southern direction until you reach the Caseton (about 1 hour to walk).
For Tanarrio, Lon or Brez
follow road number CA-185
from Potes in the direction of Espinama / Fuente De
Main Routes Overview
Pica del Jierro and the north ridge as seen from Pico Valdominguero
Route via Collado del Mojon and Pico del Grajal de Arriba
: Jito Escarandi
or Caseton de Andara
From Jito Escarandi
take the old mine road in the direction of Caseton de Andara.
Pass by the Caseton at a broad road switchback on a trail west of the hut and regain the mine road above or go to the hut and follow the mine road. Above the route junction stay left and follow the steep road up to the Minas de la Providencia
Instead of entering the huge Vega del Hoyo Oscuro stay right and ascend to Castillo del Grajal
on a mine road. Follow that road up to Collado del Mojon
and descend on that road into the upper parts of Canal de las Arredondas south of the Collado. A swithback brings you in western direction – pass the south slopes of Pico del Grajal de Abajo
and regain the ridge at the col west of the Abajo peak.
Follow this road/trail in western direction. First the ridge is steep, narrow and rocky. After a while you enter a gentle meadow slope. Follow the mine road until its enters the Hoyo del Evangelista. Leave the road there and ascend the meadow slope on a narrow and marked trail to the summit of Pico del Grajal de Arriba
. From there follow the cairns on the ridge crest or a bit south of it until the trail starts to ascend the east ridge of Pica del Jierro.
Traverse of Picos del Jierro
Picos del Jierro as seen from the north
Campos de Valdominguero / north ridge route
There are several possibilities now:
- Follow the east ridge up to the summit of Pica del Jierro.
- Follow a cairned narrow trail which branches off to the left and traverses the southeast slope of Pica del Jierro above Hoyo Evangelista. From the end of that traverse you can use a trail on the south ridge of Pica del Jierro to climb the summit.
- Alternatively follow from that trail junction the trail running in southern direction. It climbs up steeply to a scree field below the Picos del Jierro ridge. At a second trail junction turn right, follow a scree ledge up to the ridge crest and climb the first Pico of the Picos del Jierro on easy rocks on its eastern side. Then follow simply the ridge crest on easy but exposed rocks in southern direction to the notch between Picos del Jierro and Morra de Lechugales. At that notch follow the trail to your left with some easy rock scramble above the col between Picos del Jierro and Silla del Caballo Cimero (the latter can easily be climbed by crossing the col and following the easy rocks on the west ridge of the Silla). The trail uses then a rock ledge and regains the above mentioned scree field below Picos del Jierro. Short but enjoyable round trip.
Picos and Pica del Jierro
Route via Collau Valdominguero
: Jito Escarandi
or Caseton de Andara
From Jito Escarandi take the old mine road
in the direction of Caseton de Andara.
Pass by the Caseton at a broad road switchback on a trail west of the hut and regain the mine road above or go to the hut and follow the mine road. Above the route junction stay right at the next switchback and follow that mine road shortly until you arrive at the Collado de la Aldea
. Take the road branching off to your left and follow that road up to Minas de Mazarasa
and further on to the north slopes of the two Grajales south of Valle de Andara. These parts are called Traviesas del Grajal de Abajo and de Arriba
. The trail ends at Collado Valdominguero.
A cairned route guides you up the meadows of Campos de Valdominguero
south of the Collado, which are the lower part of the Pica del Jierro north ridge. The meadows end at point 2286 m of the Adrados map where the north ridge of Pica del Jierro gets narrow and rocky. Follow the ridge crest until the ridge drops down to a narrow and steep notch; climb down these rocks ending in a narrow rock chimney some steps above the notch. There is a short UIAA grade II move
to get down in that chimney.
From the notch ascend the steep rocks first left of the ridge crest than near the ridge crest up to the scree slopes of the upper north ridge. Ascend these steep scree slopes – there is some easy rock scrambling, too – on a narrow foot track until you reach the summit of Pica del Jierro.
Use the south ridge
of Pica del Jierro to traverse to the Picos del Jierro
. Use the east ridge to gain the route via Pico del Grajal de Arriba
and Collado del Mojon.
If you use this route as a descent route, pay attention at the lower end of the scree slopes: You first follow a rocky part of the ridge crest (easy rock scramble). When you arrive at some steep chutes dropping down to Jou Lleroso you have to follow a red arrow (!!)
, painted on a rock, wich leads you to the above mentioned notch. Don´t miss that, otherwise you end up in nasty terrain!
From the notch there is a scree and rock chute down to Jou Lleroso with many foot tracks. You can shortcut the Campos de Valdominguero by following that chute. I found it much more entertaining ( and better for my knees!!) to descend the Campos to the Collado Valdominguero.
The red arrow of the north ridge route from Pica del Jierro
Canalon de Jidiello (Hidiellu) route
: Invernales del Texu
From the Invernales del Texu parking space follow the road into the valley, leaving Invernales del Texu behind, until you reach the steep Canalon de Jidiello valley, about a bit more than 2 km after the Invernales. There is a green mark
on a huge rock left of the road where the Canalon starts.
Leave the road there and start ascending the Canalon. There is a narrow trail first up to the ruins of Majada de Jidiello
, cairned, partly marked with green dots and even leading further up the Canalon. Then the trail gets even more narrow and you have to find your way up until you reach the small and steep rock chute below the meadows of Collau Valdominguero. There is a short rock scramble up the chute.
From the Collau follow the route via Pica del Jierro north ridge, as described above.
Canal de las Arredondas route
: villages of Lon
Follow the road from both villages in northern direction to Prao La Mayor
, where these roads meet.
Ascend now the long Canal de las Arredondas to the mine road below Collado del Mojon (long ascent!)
At the mine road turn left and follow the route via Pico del Grajal de Arriba to Pica and Picos de Jierro.
Canal de Lechugales route
Take the road north of Tanarrio, branching off to the left from the road to Brez.
Take the left hand road at a road junction about 1,3 km later. This road terminates at the end of the long Canal de Lechugales.
Ascend the Canal until you reach the col
between Picos del Jierro and Silla del Caballo Cimero. Turn left and scramble in western direction until you reach the trail between Picos del Jierro and Pica del Jierro.
The route is steep, long and at least partly off-trail.
Pica del Jierro north ridge, view of Pico Valdominguero group
Picos and Pica del Jierro can be summited with skies, too. For the last rock parts you may need crampons and an ice axe.
From Jito Escarandi
or Caseton de Andara
go to Collado del Mojon
and follow the west ridge to Pico del Grajal de Arriba
Traverse into the upper parts of Hoyo del Evangelista
and summit directly Pica del Jierro or traverse to the south and summit Picos de Jierro, following more or less the summer routes.
The Canales de las Arredondas
and de Lechugales
are ski routes, too. As the Canal de Lechugales is very steep it seems to be a preferred downhill area.
If you plan a ski round trip
from Lon or Brez, ascend the Canal de las Arredondas, traverse to Pico del Grajal de Arriba, Pica and Picos del Jierro and even Morra de Lechugales. Ski down Canal de Lechugales until the broad chute from Collado Untuje de Tanarrio
comes down to your left. Ascend to the Collado (about 300 m) and ski down the Canal de Untuje
tp the lower end of Canal de las Arredondas.
A very, very long and strong day or a two days undertaking with a night at Caseton de Andara.
Red Tape & Accommodation
National Park boundaries
The Grajales are part of the Parque National de los Picos de Europa
The entrance to the national park is free, you need no permits.
for the park can be seen here
Wildflowers near Pica del Jierro summit
Caseton de Andara
with 20 places, food and drinks; guarded throughout summer
Gear & Mountain Condition
Pica del Jierro and north ridge as seen from Valle de Andara
Pica and Picos del Jierro are mainly a spring, summer and autumn outing.
As the route Caseton de Andara - Collado del Mojon
and the Canal de las Arredondas
is one of the main ski routes within Macizo de Andara, the Picos and Pica del Jierro are a ski tour summit aim.
Canal de Lechugales
, too, is used as a ski route.
You need normal hiking gear for a summer and autumn tour on the Jierro summits. Gaiters and hiking poles may be useful in springtime.
The traverse of the Picos del Jierro require some scrambling aibilities, the last part of the ascent routes are very steep and a bit exposed. On the northern route to Pica del Jierro there is a short UIAA grade II move at the top of the Campos de Valdominguero where the rock drops down into the sharp notch within the north ridge.
In winter and early spring you need full ski tour gear / snow shoe gear and avalanche protection.
A Spanish avalanche bulletin for the Picos de Europa (Boletin de Peligro de Aludes) can be seen here
Current Weather for Sotres:
Current weather for Potes
Maps & Guide Books
Picos del Jierro as seen from Pico del Grajal de Arriba
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
Standard guide book in English:
: Picos de Europa, Walks and Climbs, Cicerone guide
Spanish publications and more maps can be purchased in the towns and villages round the Picos.