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CUETU TEJAU AND VALDOMINGUERO

Grade 3 to 4 - at least 1,100 metres ascent and descent – 10 kms – strenuous.

5 hours for Cuetu Tejau only. Add 2 to 3 hours and 4 kms for Valdominguero.


Cuetu Tejau (2,129 metres) is the dominant peak to the south-east of the village of Sotres (1,045m). The ascent from Sotres is 1,084 metres in a distance of only 5 kilometres. Despite the formidable appearance of the north-west face, there is no technical difficulty. The final ascent to the peak involves some easy boulder scrambling. The peak itself is exposed, with a view straight back down to Sotres. From the peak you have several options, as Cuetu Tejau is the first top along a rocky ridge with magnificent views.

You can start and finish in Sotres (GPS 30 T 358063 4788164), or at Escarandi (1,291m) (GPS 30 T 360437 4788571), which is 3 kms from the village on the road to Tresviso, and saves 246 metres of ascent and descent. Alternatively, taking a taxi to Escarandi you can ascend from there, and descend all the way to Sotres, which makes a brilliant end to the walk. This walk description is from Sotres to Cuetu Tejayu and back, but information is provided about the options en route.


In Sotres, from the hotel Pena Castil, walk up the street and turn right just before Casa Cipriano. Follow this minor road uphill, to pass a small transmitter on the right. Fork right at a junction of tracks. You will soon find a bench with a brilliant view over the Duje valley. Keep going on the track. Pass a cabin on the right. Ignore a turn to the right, and pass another cabin on the left as you cross a meadow. About 200 metres past this cabin take a track uphill to your right (20 minutes). The track soon becomes grassy. When it takes a sharp turn to the right, turn left across a concrete patch. The track swings right again, passing a cabin and a rocky hillside on your left. Crossing a grassy area, a vague path takes you uphill, south-east, towards beech woods, to the right of a large hill. The path soon swings right (27 minutes) and crosses a small, muddy stream. It then continues uphill following the side of the valley through trees, to reach an open area before more trees in a valley beyond (40 minutes). It is easy to go astray here. There is a path ahead, but the correct path is slightly to the right hand side of the open area, marked by a small cairn (June 2012). It is a narrow path, and takes you uphill slightly to the right, to skirt the woods on the side of the hill. In fact you need to brush past one or two of the trees. Follow this path all the way uphill to reach the top of a rise with an open grassy area, and a green valley in front and to your left (Hoyo de Fuente Soles) (60 minutes).

You can now see the peak of Mancondiu ahead, Pica Fuente Soles to your left, and a ridge rising to the right towards Pico Boru. A good footpath goes up to your right (GPS 30 T 359796 4787403) to ascend the ridge keeping the scarp to your left. The path is vague at times, but there are a few cairns. You move gradually across to the right hand slope of the hill, and as you pass a rocky area over to your right you will see moorland opening up ahead. Ascend this open hill, but keep to the right below the crest, and make for two metal posts on the hillside which are in fact a memorial to a plane crash in 1982 in which 4 people died. You can still find wreckage scattered around. (112 minutes) From here, make your way across fairly level ground, with the high rocky peak of Cuetu Tejau ahead and to your right. Cairns will lead you into the heart of the wide gully (Campos los Senderos), to the left of the peak, (150 minutes) and from the gully it is an easy walk/scramble to the peak (30 T 358943 4785664) (180 minutes).

You may come back the same way, but make a note of the following:
1. When coming down the wide gully, keep Pico Boru (1,887m) over to your right (although it gives you an easy scramble opportunity if you want it)
2. When passing by Pico Boru, do not descend to the left too soon, but keep to higher ground.
3. Aim for the left side of the crest of the hill ahead, where you will find the air crash site once more.
4. Once again, don’t be in a hurry to descend to the left. Stay on higher ground, and pass between the next two hills you can see ahead, but still keeping over to the right.
5. Still keeping to the higher ground, you will soon start to descend the nose of the hill. Do not descend into the valley on the right. You will pass a big pot hole on the right, and down below to the left you will see a green meadow, which is your next target.
6. Reaching a green ridge with a cairn, look for another cairn to the left, which takes you down to the higher part of the green meadow (Hoyo de Fuente Soles), from where our path back to Sotres goes directly downhill.
7. The path to Sotres is not too hard to follow, but if you lose it, the key is to keep to the left of the hill below, cross the stream once more, then keep left of the cabins ahead, and the tracks will take you swiftly back to Sotres (300 minutes).

OPTIONS
During the walk, you also have the following options:
(A) From the peak of Cuetu Tejayu, instead of returning the same way, continue along the ridge to the south, crossing the Picas del Hou sin Tierre (“Peaks of the Bottomless Hole”) (2,159m), and then either descend back towards Campos los Senderos, or continue to ascend the peak of Valdominguero (2,265m) (GPS 30 T 358996 4784666). It is easy to approach Valdominguero, but the final part of the ridge is exposed and not for the faint hearted. If returning to Sotres, it is sensible to turn round here and return by the outward route. The total distance from and back to Sotres will be about 15 kms, but with total ascent and descent of about 1,350 metres.

(B) To begin the walk at Escarandi, park in the ample car park on the right hand side of the Tresviso road. Take the right hand of the two major dirt tracks, signposted to the Caseton de Andara (a mountain refuge). After 10 minutes, pass a footpath going downhill to the left, and stay on the main track. The Pica Fuente Soles will be above you on the right. Below on the left you will see a group of old cabins (Majada de Jazuca) in the valley, and having passed these cabins, 20 minutes from Escarandi, at about GPS 30 T 360054 4787350, go across a grassy area to the right and ascend to reach a small ridge, beyond which you will find the Hoyo de Fuente Soles and the ridge to take you up towards Pico Boru and Cuetu Tejayu.

(C) If you want to go directly to the peak of Valdominguero (the highest point of the Eatern massif), follow the track from Escarandi to the refuge (1 hour) and then ascend one of the loose stony paths above and to the right of the refuge to reach a small pond (dry at times) from where you should not go ahead into the valley, but instead look for a path which goes along the left-hand (south-east) side of the hillside, looking almost vertically down on to the Pozo de Andara (a lake). You will then cross some difficult scree slopes to reach the Collado de Valdominguero, from where there is a difficult and exposed scramble up gullies to the peak.

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Cuetu Tejau.


 

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