HeSpike It is probably the most emblematic mountain of Massif of Carrionas Fountains. With its 2450m altitude, it is visible from many points of the region and its rocky character makes it a true paradise for lovers of high mountains. The massif is located in the north ofPalencia and belongs to theCantabrian Mountains. Its highest summit is Peña Prieta with its 2538m altitude, not being the most important, since it is its ownSpike who has won this award, although for other mountaineers it may be theCuravacas.
Our route today starts from a parking lot located between the towns of Down Cardaño and Cardaño de Arriba. This route as you see in the sketch, has a distance of about 13 kilometers with 1200m of unevenness. It is demanding regarding the physical condition, but simple at the technical level, provided that in the latter we have experience in the mountains. The latter is because there are some steps in which we will have to use our hands and therefore have to expose ourselves to a fall with serious consequences, so the fear of heights will not be a good ally in this journey.
Ascent to Espigüete
Start the climb
Starting from parking in which at least 20 vehicles can enter (in front there is another with greater capacity), a forest track leaves without the possibility of loss. We decided to make the route that goes up the north face of the mountain, but there are two other quite feasible routes that you can do.
One of them starts from Down Cardaño (South Face Route: probably the one with the worst views but at the same time the simplest) and another one through the east ridge, which is often used as a descent. The latter was our downhill option, but the strong wind and zero visibility made us return the same way there.
During the first kilometers of the route, the track is suitable for 4 × 4 vehicles until the arrival to the deviation of the Shelter of the Majada del Espiguete. This shelter is out of the way and unsaved, so it is open all year. Later the road turns green and we begin to see many cattle, mainly cows.
At the end of the path it branches into two small roads, one that goes to a beautiful waterfall (Mazobre stream waterfall) and another that continues skirting the skirt of Espigüete. Well watch this data, some 50m before the diversion to the waterfall, there is the path that goes up to the Espigüete.
Waterfall over the Mazobre stream
This path can be difficult to see, especially since it runs along a small stream, ending in a wall of stones that we can border on both the right and left sides. Finally these two paths will come together and we will have the first views of the scree waiting for us to climb the mountain.
From this perspective, the scree seems quite steep. As the photo does not deceive, the scree is really what it seems.
Arriving at the foot of the scree, we will see how there are many silos for the practice of speology, some of them are closed due to rockfalls. One of them must be careful because it runs along the path, since its depth is very high.
Once on the scree the most beautiful and hardest part begins. We must stick to the left side of the mountain and try to move around the places where the gravel Be less loose. It is very easy to take a step and lower two. If someone comes up with shoes that do not cover the ankle ... it will be really bad.
One thing to keep in mind is to always have your head facing up. This is because there may be rock fall at high speed, especially if we have other mountaineers a little higher, this is why it is recommended to use this itinerary mainly to climb and not hinder the mountaineers who go in the opposite direction.
Pedrera Norte Espiguete
After a delicate section in which we had to use our hands, we reached another scree easier to follow. The bad thing that joy did not come to fruition since the fog He fell on us and accompanied us for the rest of the day.
Pedrera Norte Espiguete
Once reached the ledge, the wind was very strong and visibility was zero. We only needed 100m to summit, but the views that awaited us there were going to be practically nil. A real shame.
We finally arrived at the summit and we decided to look for a small bivouac to make a stop and to have lunch. Unfortunately, the summit is full of plates where many mountaineers have left their lives doing what they liked most. Rest in peace.
After lunch and seeing that the fog did not subside, we decided to be cautious and return by the same way. Going over the ledge without seeing a pepper was not very reasonable.
Top of Espiguete
When to go?
In winter it is a mountain to take into account. Only experienced climbers should try to climb, even if there are two routes whose difficulty is low. Summer and Autumn are the best times to visit, however it is a mountain that imposes and must have some respect.
How to get?
We have two ways to arrive if you come from the south. One is from the town of Cervera de Pisuerga (Highway Palencia - Santander) and another by Carrion of the Counts (León - Burgos highway). From the south there are two possible alternatives, the one that communicates Pots (Cantabria) with Cervera de Pisuerga, or Cangas de Onís (Asturias) with Riaño.
Where to sleep?
About a shelter was built in the town of Triollo, named Mesón-Albergue Curavacas. It eats phenomenally, has 24 seats and 2013 prices were around € 10 per bed.