Naranjo de Bulnes, Picu Urriellu, Spain (Google Maps & Photos)

Naranjo de Bulnes is located in one of the most iconic areas of the Picos de Europa National Park, Spain. It is about Picu Urriellu, better known by the name of Naranjo de Bulnes. It is one of the most famous peaks in this national park and is located in the central massif. It is 2518 meters high and was first climbed in 1904. Since then, these peaks have become one of the important stages in the beginning of Spanish mountaineering.

In this article we will tell you all the features, geology and curiosities of Naranjo de Bulnes.

Naranjo de Bulnes Spain


This is a peak that is composed of a calcareous monolith formed for the most part by light gray limestone rocks. These rocks were massive and built of microbes. These materials originate from a large platform with a high content of marine carbonates and were developed during the Carboniferous period . The ups and downs that the sea level experienced during the Carboniferous period caused the uplift of the upper part of the platform and karst processes have developed.

In karst relief, the cavities arise as a result of the karstification process and are filled with materials from the Permian period . These materials have been identified as with reddish gaps and clays. The main characteristic of Naranjo de Bulnes is that it has its morphology as an origin, fundamentally created by glacial modeling. The modeling of the glacier was responsible for the general aspect that the geology of the terrain occupied during the glaciations. The entire area of ​​Picos de Europa underwent glaciation during the Quaternary era , the last glacial peak of which occurred about 38,000 XNUMX years ago.

Naranjo de Bulnes Spain
Naranjo de Bulnes Spain

By the time the icing began, the upper part of the central massif was covered with a mountain hat. The peak is composed of a rocky outcrop, completely surrounded by hieros, belonging to two glacial tongues. It has a polished wall and no edges. These are different characteristics that show the abrasive action of glacial tongues on the walls of Naranjo de Bulnes. Glacier modeling has unique characteristics that allow geologists to identify the formation of each.

Geological and cultural interest of Naranjo de Bulnes

As expected, a peak with these characteristics, the result of a glacial process and known as a cornerstone in Spanish mountaineering, has great geological, cultural and social interest. If we turn to the geological interest that Naranjo de Bulnes may have, we see that it is of a geomorphological type. The geomorphology of this peak is a good example of a nunatak. Nunatak is a type of rocky outgrowth that takes place within a mountain hat. This mountain hat is characterized mainly by the presentation of highly polished walls due to the action of glacial ice.

Naranjo de Bulnes Spain
Naranjo de Bulnes Spain

Freeze-thaw cycles cause rock abrasion. Due to the fact that there was a lot of icing on this peak, the wear of the ice polished all the rocks until their morphology changed. This morphology is characteristic of a temperate glacier and at the same time serves as existing evidence to be able to interpret the evolution of the glacial dynamics of the Quaternary.

He has other non-geological interests, such as historical and cultural. From a cultural and social point of view, it can be said that it has good characteristics to be a good landscape. It is considered one of the most emblematic and well-known elements of the Picos de Europa National Park. Since then we have to add the historical aspect and the peak was first climbed in 1904 by Pedro Pidal and Gregorio Perez. These two mountaineers were the ones who laid the foundations of Spanish mountaineering.

How to get to the base of Naranjo de Bulnes

There are many ways to reach the Vega de Urriellu area. Perhaps the easiest thing would be to leave the car in the town of Sotres. From there we can walk along the existing track and head to the winter ones in Cabao. Later we will cross the river Duje and from there we can practically climb to the Pandebano pass, where the track ends and the trail begins.

From here we can see Urriellu and if you follow the path you will reach the town of Bulnes. There are other paths, but they are a little more complicated.

Naranjo de Bulnes Spain
Naranjo de Bulnes Spain

Although not the highest peak in the Cantabrian Mountains, it has an altitude of 2,519 meters and is considered one of the most famous peaks. Especially what makes the peak famous are its 550 meters vertical wall on its western side. As mentioned earlier, the origin of this wall is realized through the glacial origin of the Quaternary and the wear and tear of the ice and thawing.

Most Famous Climbs

After the first ascent in 1904, some more followed. The second ascent took place in 1906 and was performed by Dr. Gustav Schulze, PhD in Geology and an experienced German climber. He also did it for the north wall and did it himself. He was the first climber to use pegs to jump on the south wall. This geologist described the climb as short and difficult.

Naranjo de Bulnes Spain
Naranjo de Bulnes Spain

In 1924, a climber named Victor Martinez Campillo managed to open a new, simpler route, located on the left side of the south wall. It has since been known as Vía Víctor. One of the last escalations took place in 1973 and was widely covered by the media. The interesting thing about this climb is that it was winter and took several lives and several very spectacular rescues were made.

As you can see, Naranjo de Bulnes is one of the most famous and most famous peaks in Spain. I hope you can learn more about this information.

Naranjo de Bulnes Google Maps