Two friends, one of them that I didn't know, a cousin and me left Madrid on March 14, 2003 by car. They came late (16:40) to my house in two cars and then left to Avila. There was some traffic but we arrived to Avila soon because of the motorway. Then we went to my uncles house and did some last time boughts, some food and gas. We had problems finding a store wich sells gas but finally we bought two cartridges. Finally we left to Gredos at twilight in a car because the other one was left to my cousins. We had to stop two times, one to filling the tank near Avila and the other to buying a bottle of wine at a station in Navarredonda de Gredos; they did shell gas cartridges there. We arrived Plataforma de Gredos (1.780 m), where there were 10-15 parked cars, and called the guardian of the private Refugio de Reguero Llano (1.910 m) again. After preparing our backpacks we left the parking at 9:25 AM wearing two headlamps. The rocky trail was covered with water because of the snow above but we could avoid it. Soon we arrived to Prado (meadow) de las Pozas where the temperature lowed because of the slight wind (2º C / 36 F). The snow covered all the meadow but it was not very soft. We turned right to the hut, at 9:55 AM we arrived it and called the guardian with the ring. He received us very friendly because we already know him and we were the unique lodgers. He showed us the last repairs in the hut, new litters and bedroom. We had meal after clothing ourselves a bit, the temperature inside was of 6º C / 43 F, and unfolding our sleeping bags on the litters. The guardian was talking with us during the whole meal, we cooked a soup and eated tortilla de patatas, empanada, chorizo, power bars; the wine also was drunken. Until going to bed we went out and saw the halo that surrounded the almost full moon. The guardian said us that it was because there was some storms near. The night was cold and the sky covered with stars. We went to bed before midnight, we were alone in the refuge so we could slept well.
On Saturday we first went to have breakfast where the guardian has his dining-room. He has many dogs, Alaskan Malamute and others crossed for using with sleds. After breakfast we prepared our backpacks for the day trip. At 11:05 AM we left to Puerto (col) de Candeleda (2.012 m) traversing Prao Puerto, a nice and big meadow covered with snow. On the col (12:25 PM) we took rest and could see La Mira, La Vera and Embalse (reservoir) de Rosarito. Then we hiked SWwards and ascended the Point 2.099 m above Risco Joracao (1:15 PM). We turned to the NW to Cerro de la Cagarruta (2.299 m) passing the ruins of Refugio del Rey to the left. We descended to the Col 2.268 m, where we met a skier of Entrepeñas (Ciudad Real), placed 3 h 30 minutes away by car, who did the trip in a day. He had a dog of 85 Kg weigth so we took a photo with it. The weather was nice and sunny with high temperature. We pushed forward to the summit of Morezón (2.393 m) 2:35 PM. Then my cousin proposed us to descend to Laguna Grande using our crampons, poles and an ice axe. I asked a skier that knew the descent and he said that it was not too dangerous.
We went to the NE a little to avoid the steepest slope so started to descend on a 45- 50º slope reaching a softer slope. Finally we entered a 50º gully that turned narrower and steper. There was a 4 feet jump over a crack and then a 6 feet one where the lass had troubles. The last risk was a embebed rock partly covered with snow that leaded to a crack with a little cascade inside. I was at the front and had many troubles to pass that section. I made some steps on the roten snow and descended climbing a rock to reach a big hold where I could introduce my crampon points. Then there was another section of rotten snow until the crack, that had to be saved jumping to the last snow patch. We throwed our backpacks down until passing that section, where we all had troubles. We were calm when we had thought that we had no exit up or down, later we saw that we had exits to the right or Canal de la Mina, until the first difficulty, or to the left until the second one. We reached Laguna Grande and traversed over it to Refugio Elola (1.945 m) 4:45 PM , the ice and snow layer where one ft thick. We took lunch, bought some beers in the hut and rested in that nice circus under the sun. At 5:45 PM we started the return crossing the lake again and hiking up to the balcony (2.145 m) of Los Barrerones over deep and rotten snow (6:55 PM). The sun hidden behind the high peaks while we left Circo de Gredos. Then I found an old ice axe nailed near the place where once was Fuente de los Cavadores. I caught it because it was very late and the footprints near it were downwards. The descent was slow because of my mates and the deep and soft snow. We reached the hut at 8:25 PM using a unique headlamp. The minimum temperature had been of 2 ºC/ 36 F(while descending Los Barrerones) so it was a nice day of adventure and feelings.
Some climbers had came to the refuge while we were away, they had taken meal and were going to bed. So we kept alone in the dining room enjoying a good supper made of pasta, meat and power bars. The guardian was asking how has been our journey but we had to go to bed soon in attention to the other lodgers.
So we got up early on Sunday morning and went to a long breakfast with the guardian. Then we made our backpacks and descendend to the parking straightly along a trail almost cleared of snow. We wanted to ascend Zapatero (2.160 m) placed in Sierra de la Paramera, near Avila. We reached Plataforma in 15 minutes, it was full of cars but we left. As we drove to the north there were more clouds that covered the high areas. Then when we passed San Martín del Pimpollar we crossed with our cousins, they went in the other direction, to Gredos. We both stoped at the side of the road, they told us that la Paramera was covered with clouds so we should change our plans. The alternative was visitin the old Iberian Settlement of Ulaca, located near Zapatero but lower. That place were going to be cleared of snow and I had only my plastic boots and a pair of slippers. So I decided to go back to Gredos with my cousins because there were better weather there and I still wanted to stay in the snow.
At 2:20 PM, me and my 2 cousins left Plataforma SWwards to Prado de las Pozas. We stoped once before reaching the meadow because we had to fill our bottle at a water source. The meadow was covered by a soft layer of snow so our ascent was slow at the beginning. We stopped again on a flat area with some rocks, it was a stop for eating some power bars and drinking some water. We continued with the same direction but passing Cuerda (Ridge) del Refugio to the left. The snow was now harder so our pace became faster, there were nobody on the mountain then. At 4:00 PM we were surrounding the steep NE slope of Cerro de la Cagarruta towards Col 2.268 m. We entered a dale called Navasomera but didn't reach the col because we turned right over the 35º east face of Morezón. At 4:45 PM we reached the summit of Morezón (2.393 m). It was the 4th time that I've climbed that peak from Christmas Eve. We were into the clouds and there was smooth wind from the SE. We sheltered behind the big rock that forms the immediate subsidiary summit to the NE. We dressed ourshelves (the temperature was of 0 ºC / 32 F) and took lunch.
Then we started the descent (5:25 PM) into the fog, one of my cousins descended snowboarding but he waited us on the NE slope of Cerro de la Cagarruta. Then my other cousin practiced a little and ascended to give his brother the table. We both passed the Point 2.129 m of Cuerda del Refugio (6:20 PM) and saw my cousin waiting us at the other side. We all descended quick to Caseta de Telesquí placed near the junction of two of the streams of Garganta de Prao Puerto. Then we ascended to Pluviómetro, where we took the trail to Plataforma (7:10 PM). There were only 3 cars parked, ours, the one of the Refugio de Reguero Llano guardian and another. My cousins carried me to Avila, where my other cousin was waiting me for going to Madrid, my friends had already left. We avoided the motorway when driving to Madrid passing Puerto del León.
(Note that this report doesn't include an Almanzor ascent, but it's located in the same Sierra de Gredos)
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