OUCC Proceedings 9 (1979)

A note on map coverage of the area

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In order to reach the expedition area, road maps obtained from the Spanish National Tourist Office or made by Firestone (Costa Verde y Picos de Europa, 1:250,000) are quite adequate, and usually in agreement one with another. At a more detailed level, no really accurate maps appear to exist.

The most accurate looking map is the Mapa de Los Tres Macizos de los Picosde Europa at 1:50,000 scale produced by the Federation Española de Motañismo (Alberto Aguilera 3, Madrid- 15; the same address as the Comision Nacional de Espeleologia, from whom permits are required to cave in Spain). This map is on sale only in Potes, Aliva, Posada de Valdeon, and Arenas de Cabrales, and is basically the same as the relevant portions of the Mapa Nacional sheets 55, 56, 80 and 81. However, the Lambert grid on those is not reproduced, so map references must be given in terms of latitude and longitude (West of Madrid, not Greenwich!).

Another 1:50,000 map is produced by the Federacion Asturiana de Montañismo (Melquades Alvarez, 16, 1. Izda., Oviedo) and this gives full details about the network of mountain refuges. Its contouring is far less detailed than the other map, but the rivers, settlements and paths are generally more accurate.

The most used map of the area, and the most easily available, is the 1:25,000 Mapa Topográphico - Excursionista produced by Editorial Alpina (Apartado de Correos, 3, Granollers) entitled Picos de Europa I Macizo Oriental. This comes complete with a guide book to walks in the area, but can be rather, misleading or confusing to use. This problem is exacerbated if comparison is made with the other maps!

The map which is considered best by experienced members of the SIE group of cavers from Barcelona is another 1:25,000 map produced by JR Lueje for a book called Picos de Cornion, published in Gijon in 1968. Unfortunately, this is not easily available.