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Weather Updates: Camino Salvador

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Time of past OR future Camino
Many, various, and continuing.
Exceptionally deep and drifted snow in the Sierra de Leon/Cuatro Valles area means hikers and mountain climbers should use extreme caution in the area. Areas above 1300 meters, depending on weather conditions and wind exposure, were posted "off limits" to leisure users Feb. 25, due to likelihood of avalanches and rockslides. The off-road/high altitude section of the Camino San Salvador, between Buiza and Arbas de Puerto, (which tops out at 1575 meters) is closed and considered impassible.

If you must walk the San Salvador, keep to the N630 and wear brightly-colored clothes.
For updates on weather closures on the San Salvador, phone Cuatro Valles Oficina de Apoyo al Turismo at 987 581 666.
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Hi Rebekah
Just want to say I love your blog with its vividly painted picture in prose! I am planning a Camino trek which had been cancelled last year and am looking for a bit of practical advice. My desire is to link Leon to Oviedo on the Salvador and then take the Primativo to Santiago. I'm very social enjoying camaraderie and would very much enjoy the company of other pilgrims for meals and at night but tend to enjoy the introspection gained with the prayer and rhythm of steps in quiet during the day. The Frances looks interesting but any thought of having to rush to get a bed is not at all appealing.

Due to time restraints I am looking at starting sometime between April 6-14th and am a bit nervous now when looking at your comments about the snow line and early spring weather. I'll have cold weather clothing ( thermal layers,rain gear, hat, gloves, gaitors, sleeping bag) but not being able to see the waymarking particularly in elevation is concerning. Also hoping to keep my pack light I've opted for basically trail runners but now think maybe Gortex is in order?? I've planned out about 28 days which would also include going on to Finisterre and Muxia and also rest days with all together shorter stages of about 20-30 km daily. Nearing my 5th decade I find myself not terribly fit and overweight however have in the past done some very long distance backpacking in mountainous areas. I always find the trail has a way of getting you in shape although if already fit it's not as uncomfortable.

Any thoughts by anyone taking this route or ideas would be greatly appreciated! Thanks also Rebekah for giving of yourself at Morenas! Peace to all!

Any thoughts woull be much appreciated!
Hello Smulllins4!

I was walking the Camino del Salvador last July.

There are several alternative routes for the Salvador - which is a good thing for someone walking as early as april... so, if weather is really bad, you should probably go along the national road between either Rodiezmo or Buiza till Arbas (or Pajares or ). (the N630)

My camino :
Leon - La Robla (albergue in sports hall if you arrive when town hall is still open - else hostal)
La Robla - Poladura de la Tercia (albergue) lovely dinner at bed and breakfast beside the albergue
Poladura de la Tercia - Pajares (via the mountain pass and after the 'puerta de pajares' on the path west of the N630 - only +- 15 km but they took the whole day) (albergue and a very lovely and helpful hospitalera)
Pajares - Campomanes (albergue - keys at police station) via western route again
Campomanes - Oviedo (albergue)

It is a hard and demanding route, rather adventurous, but quite doable. And mere beauty. Just be prepared.
The Poladura de la Tercia to Pajares section is very badly marked. Be careful, and avoid foggy weather (and snow).

On that part of the camino you will meet very few pilgrims - if ever.
I just met on the morning setting off from La Robla a Spanish woman. We shared the next one day and a half, rather reassured not to be alone on that mountain stage. Then we separated again, each continuing at her own rhythm.

Weather was fine, but it was July.
And even then, after having left Poladura de la Tercia on a sunny morning with my Spanish co-Pilgrim, we failed to return because heavy fog suddenly appeared.

If you need more information, don't hesitate.
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
Thanks FatmaG
Your post was very helpful! I looked on you tube and saw one solo female pilgrim that looked like she went in April and another two in February but it looked like it was quite snowy! I'm looking at all options but your advice about diversions on the road are appreciated. Also the refugios and sleeping info! It does look beautiful but doing the Frances at this time of year might be a bit " safer" and leave the others for a later time. Decisions! Thanks again!
Do the Salvador anyway. It is wonderful. If the weather looks dicey, just stay along the road. Weather so far in March 2011 has just been rainy and sunny so far, lots of warm days -- not nearly the amount of snow that was up there last year. Still... it is best to be cautious!

If you are worried, just phone ahead to the Casa Rural in Poladura de Tercia and ask them what it´s like up on the trails. They won´t steer you wrong.
Rebekah Scott said:
Do the Salvador anyway. It is wonderful. If the weather looks dicey, just stay along the road. Weather so far in March 2011 has just been rainy and sunny so far, lots of warm days -- not nearly the amount of snow that was up there last year. Still... it is best to be cautious!

If you are worried, just phone ahead to the Casa Rural in Poladura de Tercia and ask them what it´s like up on the trails. They won´t steer you wrong.

Thanks Rebekah
I have received rather differing views so am a little unsure about which route to take ie Frances vs El Salvador and Primativo...then would want to walk on to Finest... One person said if the Salvador is clear then no problem with the Primativo...... Do you agree?

I would imagine even the road route is beautiful and not tremendously travelled. Just don't want to get lost with snow as I'll be travelling solo. I think 50-60 degrees fahrenheit is perfect weather for hiking but do you advise a down coat for nighttime? I have a 35 degree bag and would take the stages slow but want to be warm in the albuerges as I sleep cold. Laundry and hot showers arn't so important as I figure I'll be stopping in Oviedo and then Melide anyway and am not accustomed to showers when hiking. If I bring a set of midweight capilene for sleeping do you think this will suffice? Sounds like the blankets are variable. Can handle rain.

I have not trained but figure with shorter stages this should be doable with hiking around 8-5 pm per day...any thoughts? My endurance has always been pretty good and I just take it easy often travelling about 2 miles per hr in the mountains (approx 3.2 kmh)--no need to hurry is my mantra....long days for me this go round would be 20 km so just 12 miles... and soem up to 30 K....figure with 8 hrs of hiking/resting this is realistic, si? Since you have done the trail do you envision low gortex trail runners would work with a pack weight of 5 pounds ( minus food/water). I leave Mon for Peru so need to book my ticket tomorrow so I am hoping to finalize which route. I;m still very interested in this original planbut just a little uncertain. The Frances is s asure bet and Ithink being early in spring I could forgo a terribly busy scene , si?

Thanks again for any insights!!! The Casa Rural looks great as well!! Your post gave me great encouragement! Restful peaceful blessings to you this day!
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Hi, Susan,

I walked the Salvador and Primitivo in 2008 (I was then 58, and walked alone except for the first two days from Leon). It was spectacular. I started in late September, so I can't help with weather suggestions for spring. But it was chilly, even cold in the mornings. It's a very cold part of Spain, I remember leaving from Leon early in the morning and the pharmacy sign was flashing 4 degrees (celsius, but still).

Walking the N-630 (620?) up to Pajares from Buiza was a very unpleasant experience, so if you are thinking that's a nice alternative in case weather gets bad, I would reconsider. We never did find Poladura de la Tercia, but rather went from Buiza on to somewhere else and got on the highway shoulder up to Pajares. Rebekah went after me and has straightened out the mess in her online guide.

This is a beautiful camino, no doubt about it. And the primitivo, WOW! Buen camino, Laurie
Thanks Laurie
Is good to hear others have done this alone and that you enjoyed it! Perhaps I should clarify..ha roads are very often not pleasant... just an alternative if needed. Took a drive and day hiked in the Picos years ago and remember even the roadways had tremendous views! These routes look spectacular...a totally different experience from Frances it appears. Staying in the monasteries, blessings, history, etc on the Frances with communal meals, etc sound very unique and almost sacred in some ways: however but when in mountains my spirit is so so at peace with the daily rhythm of prayer without distraction....seems you are surrounded by mountains more perhaps on these routes ?? In a large sense, solitude, introspection, and contemplative prayer helps sort things out which seems to be easiest for me when surrounded by the nature of less trodden ways. My best friend has just died 6 wks ago after a 7 yr haul with cancer and to be honest the the last 6 months have just been emotioanally charged despite the blessing of her passing and release. Patients have died but this was my first close friend to pass and we were both the same age of 46 (friends for 43 yrs).

Somehow I am hoping walking the Camino helps to sort some of this out. So aside from adventure I seek peace , truth, and a spiritual home with the eternal Spirit and healer in this ebb and flow of life. While walking this tends to come in ways that are deeply impacting and meaningful........so. on I go!....

Boy this was an aside..I'll post it anyway. Whatever will come will be fine with either route. Just want to be wise about the timing, weather and conditioning. By the way...did you train specifically for this walk and approx how many km did you walk each day? Thanks for any info and hope the exposed vulnerability doesn't leave you wondering. Also geez that temp in Leon looks cold!

Have a good ( late) evening in cold Illinois..ha! I am currently in Atlanta having lived many years in FL and more recently on a work contract in Utah..dry cold and great skiing. When it hits 35- 40 degrees here in wet Atlanta I'm feeling the cold..ha am just a wimp!

Peace and buen camino this day!
smullins4 said:
Hi Rebekah
My desire is to link Leon to Oviedo on the Salvador and then take the Primativo to Santiago.
Any thoughts woull be much appreciated!

I did this late June last year. I had very good weather. My camino:

Leon - La Robla: Albergue at polideportivo

La Robla - Poladura: Albergue. If doing this again I would stay and eat at the Casa Rural "El Embrujo". I didn't ring ahead and could not get a meal. 659 030 282.

Poladura - Campomanes: Hospedaje Senda del Huerrna (18 euros for room with ensuite)

This is probably the most enjoyable day's walk I have ever had. If the weather is bad, it would be a nightmare.

Campomanes - Mieres - Hostal Astur (18 euros)

Mieres - Oviedo : Hostal Arcos (30 euros)

Well worth doing!
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the decision is up to you, finally, which road to take.
And we won't be able to help you much more than to talk about our own experiences...
Nevertheless, to me, these answers on the forum were always very helpful, and guided me towards my own way.

Last year, the holy year, I absolutely wanted to be on the Camino.
But needed desperately loneliness - as you I lost a very very important person in my life some month ago due to cancer - and so I wanted to be alone and not on a "social" camino with many other pilgrims as the Camino Frances...

That's why I chose first the Tunnel route and afterwards the Camino del Salvador and the Primitivo.
This - for me - was perfect! It did much good to me. Having all the place for sadness and, of course, beautiful memories beside the painful ones.

So, if you need loneliness - you would definitely find it on the Camino del Salvador.
If weather is bad, you can always take for the 2 real mountain stages either the road or (in the worst case) a bus. There are always solutions and alternatives.

You should probably have a warm sleeping bag. In every albergue where I stayed, there were hot showers - although I didn't check for heating (in July). And perhaps walking sticks would be a good thing as well. And in Poladura (even if it is more expensive than to sleep in the albergue) I would recommend as well the "casa rural" rather than the albergue at that time of the year (beside, I ate there a very excellent dinner)

I think it is possible to do very short stages as well (mine were already quite relaxed : 5 days in all)
Hello, Susan,
I am so sorry to learn of your loss. I have been to two funerals in the past two days and can imagine how the solitude of the Salvador/Primitivo would be soothing and restorative. I think you've properly identified the differences you would find -- the blessings of the Salvador/Primitivo are not tied to communal rituals or high theology, but come from the air, the scenery, the solitude of it all. And for me, those tiny mysterious romanesque and pre-romanesque churches that dot this route are just as majestic as any of the cathedrals along the way. One of my big disappointments was not being able to enter Santa Cristina de Lena, a church slightly off the road about 6 km outside Pola de Allande. But just sitting outside in the grass and realizing the age of this building filled even a pretty prosaic person like me with wonder.

I posted a summary of each walk, more a logistical nuts and bolts kind of thing, you can see them at these links in case you haven't:


As far as training. I don't do any camino-specific training anymore. I maintain a high level of daily exercise (1 hour a day on an elliptical at a fairly intensive level, fairly intensive for me anyway) and find that I am fine. The years of stamina build-up seem to be perfect to keep me going and energetic.

As REbekah says, keep an eye on the weather and be prudent. The rest will take care of itself. Buen camino to you, Susan, Laurie
Hi Laurie, FatmaG, AJ, and Rebekah
Just wanted to say thanks for your replies and compassionate notes. Yes FatmaG those things do need space to heal and I agree with all you said Laurie- thanks to both of you... amazing how one can feel support through a forum-ha!

I am off to Peru in a few hrs and then will come back home for just a few days to have a bit of more time to finalize things for the Camino. Will be booking ticket today and just leave enough time for either-check the weather, download the maps, etc. At least the gear is mostly ready. Ha--- will train for the 2 1/2 wks I am in Peru--staying with my cousin who lives at the foothills of the Andes..taking my back pack. Certainly not the elliptical ( geez Laurie- that sounds like training to me--I was smiling) but will just have to suffice.

Buen Camino to you all wherever you find yourself! Isnt life just all about a journey?
Thanks again!
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For my annual weather update on the San Salvador:

I climbed from Poladura de Tercera up to the first collada this afternoon. Yes, there still is snow up there, (lots of snow melt and mud) but not too much snow for an experienced trekker with common sense. If the weather does not change anytime soon, I would tell you guys hoping to start in March to go ahead and give it a try. At least one person´s tracks went over the Cuchillos and on to the glacial cirque , where the wind has blown much of the snow away from the pass. Drifts are still up to mid-shin, but the rebar and sheet-metal arrows can be seen above the snow, making this camino SO much more navigable when visibility is good.

It is doable, but you are going to feel pretty tired by the time you get to Pajares!
Be safe up there!


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The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
No, no eran mis huellas. Las fotos son de un compañero de otro foro en el que participo.
Por cierto, aunque todavía es muy pronto para confirmarlo, podría nevar de nuevo hacia el seis de marzo de forma abundante por la zona. De momento es una posibilidad, pero habrá que seguir la evolución de la atmósfera.

No, not my tracks. The photos are from a colleague in another forum in which I participate.
Indeed, although it is too early to confirm, it could snow again to the March 6 abundantly in the area. For now it is a possibility, although further evolution of the atmosphere.
While we are veteran perigrinos with VdlP, and the Camino Frances completed in April 2007 and 2008, in addition to Sept and October caminos; I am looking for clothing advice for the Salvador. We start next Thursday (April 19) from Leon. Weather forcasts along the route indicate we will be starting our days in zero or sub-zero weather and can expect a lot of rain and perhaps snow. We plan to continue from Oviedo along the Camino del Norte to Santiago and want to keep the packs light. Do we need somthing extra over and above the Altus, Hardshell, Fleece, and long-sleve Colombia wicking shirt? Will Zero degree sleeping bag with silk liner keep us warm at night? Any suggestions and advice would be appreciated, and any info on the current condition of the trail after many days of rain would be appreciated. Many thanks David.
Best of luck to you, David. Sounds like you will have some challenges.

I have walked the Camino del Salvador and know there are many narrow dirt paths that probably turn into channels of water in heavy rain. But you will never be too far from a road, so I think you'll be able to know when to leave the path and head for the shoulder.

I find that if I keep my hands warm, I don't get those cold shakes that come from walking in cold rain hour after hour. I always bring a pair of lambswool gloves and can testify that wet wool continues to provide warmth. As far as the rest of the body goes, so long as I'm moving, I can stand being in freezing temps with a fleece, a rain jacket and a long sleeved shirt, so I never bring more than that.

Wishing you the best -- if you haven't seen the online guides, check out the CSJ site and also the link in a post yesterday to a Spanish language guide -- it has many helpful pictures.

Buen camino, hope to hear how it goes, let us know. Laurie
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Many thanks Laurie, The wool gloves/mits are a good idea that never before made it into the pack. I will add them for the Salvador and hopefully can leave them in Oviedo. David
Vídeo de Pajares hoy. Está nevando con fuerza a partir de mil metros y para mañana se prevé más nieve. A mediados de la semana que viene podría nevar de nuevo. Lo bueno es que estar ya en abril, el sol calienta, con lo que la nieve se va más rápido.

Pajares video today. It is snowing hard from a thousand meters and more snow is expected tomorrow. In the middle of next week it could snow again. The good news is that already in April, the sun is hot, so the snow goes faster.

http://www.rtpa.es/asturias:La-nieve-ha ... 17757.html
Thanks Angulero for the video link. I guess we will need to be prepared for snow as well as rain. Hopefully there will be some sun as well. We leave from here tomorrow and arrive in Leon on Wednesday and the weather forecast is still calling for rain and cold. David
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Ha nevado mucho la semana pasada y se prevé que llueva bastante esta semana de nuevo. Eso sí, la nieve caerá por encima de los 1000-1200 metros.
Preguntad en los pueblos antes de salir a caminar, y si lo veis complicado, id por carretera.

It snowed heavily last week and is expected to rain enough this week again. Yes, snow fall above 1000-1200 meters.
Ask in the villages before taking a walk, and if you see complicated, go by road.
the mountains got a new coat of snow over the weekend -- it is spectacular from down here on the meseta, but I wouldn´t want to be walking through it. Sunny and bright and windy. Forecasts keep calling for more rain/snow, it IS cloudy along the mountains but I do not see any snow happening now. If you have internet access, look up the weather site and plug in "Pajares, Leon" as your location for the weather updates on the mountaintop. If the pass is flagged yellow or red, take another route!
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The information requests are showing up again: "We want to walk the San Salvador in January." There is already a meter of snow on the ground up there, and more snow is falling. I know many of our friends on the Spanish Salvador site are up there banging around, but they LIVE up there and know the way, and they can read the weather. So IMHO, unless you want to walk along the highway (and what a drag that is!) Don´t try this camino in mid-winter!
Here is a pic from a couple of weeks ago, from the Spanish forum:


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I am looking for a weather update on conditions between Buiza and Parajes. I am leaving on April 8th and starting out from Leon on the Afternoon of the 9th or morning of the 10th.

Thanks for any information you can provide.

Down bag (90/10 duvet) of 700 fills with 180 g (6.34 ounces) of filling. Mummy-shaped structure, ideal when you are looking for lightness with great heating performance.


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