Sun sea and rock – Cuevas del Mar, re-equipped and ready…

Sometimes in summer it’s hard to choose between the beach and the rock. The call of the waves and a day chilling out is difficult to ignore, especially as the temperatures climb.

Luckily there’s few places in Asturias where you can do both: and on Tuesday in the company of my brother and his family on their first trip to Asturias, we called in at Cuevas del Mar.   Five minutes off the motorway between Llanes and Ribadesella this is not only a beuatiful beach but thanks to a hardworking local team has been turned into a very popular climbing spot.

IMG_2708The bay of Cuevas on a sunny day…

Recently re-equipped with stainless steel bolts and resin bolts this has turned the area into a safe and fun venue with the emphasis on easier grades and some great beginners routes.

One of the most popular routes Aficion y desorden 6a+...

One of the most popular routes Aficion y desorden 6a+…

Starting on Afición y desorden 6a+, we moved swiftly on to the very tricky route, HonorINOX 6c, two routes to the left which features rounded, almost offwidth climbing!! Not as bad as it sounds it was a bit trickier in the midday heat!!

Then it was the kids turn, and one of the great things about Cuevas is the amount of routes for beginners meaning you can brings friends along and let them have a go. So my brother and his three girls all got roped in (excuse the pun) into trying climbing.

Georgia Patterson on La Central V

Georgia Patterson on La Central V

However, there’s not just easy stuff at Cuevas and I ended up climbing with a couple of guys from León who were trying the classic tufa of Chochitos a la mar 7b+. This short but sharp route takes a very steep line and is a much sought after little tick. Jorge managed it but I managed to blow after the crux; blaming skin, thin and heat, hot!!

Jorge on the very steep Chochitos a la mar, 7b+

Jorge on the very steep Chochitos a la mar, 7b+

Another great things about Cuevas are the endless posibilities for new routing on the amazing sea cliffs nearby. A trip out in a canoe confirmed as much and with a slightly bigger platform underneath than I thought we will be going back pretty soon to have a play.

P1010039-Sea-Cliff

Cuevas del Mar can be found by exiting at junction 312 from the A8 motorway, heading into the town of Nueva and following signs to the beach.

Once again we have to thank the guys from Llanes for the great job equpping and you can see more here:

https://www.facebook.com/EscalarenCuevasdelMar?ref=br_rs

 

The Acid Test

The weekend saw us hook up with an American family who, having bought the guide, had changed this year’s holiday plans and come to Roca Verde country for a month-long climbing trip. We couldn’t help but feel the pressure. What would they think of the book? Were they managing to find their way round okay? And, most importantly of all, were they having a good holiday?

IMG_3481 Krista

With climbs like this to go at, who wouldn’t enjoy a month-long trip to Roca Verde country? Krista on Piden Trabayu, 7a, at Bóvedas, Teverga

To add to the pressure the weather forecast was looking somewhat dodgy for Saturday so we decided to head to Bóvedas in Teverga, a great sector that has the added bonus of staying dry in the rain. We needn’t have worried, as despite a short sharp shower in the morning the rock dried instantly and conditions turned out to be pretty good.

Bóvedas was still a winning choice though, with some awesome 6s and 7as to keep Krista and Tim happy, with really interesting and varied climbing packing in everything from some delicate, fingery slab moves to tufa-pulling thuggery.

For the kids there was plenty of dirt to play in, which is always guaranteed to bring a smile.

IMG_3442-Me-V2As for us, we were just happy to hear that the Maloneys had been having a great trip climbing throughout Cantabria and Asturias and that they hadn’t got lost once. Especially after their confession that they normally allow an extra hour on top of any journey time, to compensate for the inevitablity of time spent going round in circles.

Of course the other joyous thing about Bóvedas is that in between goes you can sit and will your arms to recover whilst watching the wads across the way on Pared Negra. All the inspiration you could want to try and pull that little bit harder.

 

Nani, 7c Pared Negra

Nani, 7c Pared Negra. One for the tick list…..

 

An Afternoon in La Hermida and Potes

In the end we only had a couple of hours free, in between delivering books to shops. We wondered if we’d get the chance to climb at all but that’s one of the many great beauties of the La Hermida gorge – the proliferation of roadside crags.  A shorter walk-in = more time to climb.  And you couldn’t get a shorter walk-in than the one to Puente Lebeña. In less than a minute from the road you can be tieing in. And we were.

Mary on Tecno Viking, 6b Puente Lebeña

Mary on Tecno Viking, 6b Puente Lebeña

Even the book delivering itself turned out to be pretty fun in the end. We discovered a couple more cool climbers’ bars in Potes that are definitely worth checking out if you visit. Set in the beautiful medieval heart of the town both La Sidrería and La Reunión offer something a little bit different to the standard local fare.

The pinchos and smoothies at La Sidrería are simply superb

The pinchos and smoothies at La Sidrería are simply superb. A great bet if you´re a vegetarian.

 

You can sip an excellent craft beer at La Reunión while checking out their wealth of topos and information.

You can sip an excellent craft beer at La Reunión while checking out their wealth of topos and information.

Of course no trip to the La Hermida gorge would be complete without a visit to the hot springs. On the outskirts of the village, underneath the bridge that leads to the Balneario Spa Hotel is this glorious free-access hot spot (literally.) A balm for tired climbing muscles and the perfect way to end the day.

Chilling in the hot springs

Chilling in the hot springs

Retomando Cuerda en Quirós

Ultimamente hemos tenido muy poca oportunidad de escalar…..(igual ya sabéis que andabamos bastante ocupados con lo de publicar una guía?!! ;-) ) Ya era hora de retomar cuerda y no hay mejor sitio para hacerlo que en Quirós.

What a view to wake up to...another beautiful July day in Asturias..

What a view to wake up to…another beautiful July day in Asturias..

Despertarse y ver un día así de guapo, claro que mete ganas de salir al monte. Así que ayer subimos al Escalón para calentar en unas de las vías faciles en las placas.

Great warm ups on the slabs with the steeper pitches of Depiedradores (the groove) and Corner (the arete) obvious above...

Great warm ups on the slabs with the steeper pitches of Depiedradores (the groove) and Corner (the arete) obvious above…

Que gusto tomar el sol ahí y recordarse como es escalar…. Incluso el más pequeño de nuestro equipo se animó a escalar un poco…..

Jack gets going...

Jack gets going…

Luego probamos un par de las vías arriba de las placas, más cortas pero bastante más desplomadas. Después de unos meses de no hacer nada como cuestan!!! Pero como molan también…. 

Así que, agotados pero muuuy contentos, bajamos al Refugio del Llano para reponer fuerzas con buena comida y refrescos fríos…… Como nos encanta Quirós!!

 

Quirós – simply perfect for getting into the groove again..

Once again the queen of Asturian climbing doesn’ t disappoint, from the fantastic location – we woke up in Aciera to the view below – to the great weather and as always great routes.

What a view to wake up to...another beautiful July day in Asturias..

What a view to wake up to…another beautiful July day in Asturias..

We have a had  a few months off climbing so we decided to hit Escalón (one of the most popular sectors at Quiros) with a great mix of slabs to warm up on and short testpieces to get the juices flowing. Mary started on one of the easy classics, ‘La Placa Fina’ V, a good call because as the sun rapidly rose and the temperatures as well it seemed that we may not get anything too difficult done…

Great warm ups on the slabs with the steeper pitches obvious above...

Great warm ups on the slabs with the steeper pitches of  obvious above…

However, luckily there was a bit of a breeze and instead of retiring to the pool at Proaza we carried on. I thought it was my turn, and was just getting psyched for Depiedradores 6c+ when Jack, our 4 yr son, decided to get into the act and after a go on the rope decided that a bit of soloing was for him.

Jack gets going...

Jack gets going…

Finally, I managed to get my turn and after a not too convincing warm up on the V sent the fingery and Depiedradores with only a  moderate amount of finger pain!!!
Undeterred Mary went up on a rope and as the breeze died off and the temperatures climbed quicker than we were I willed her to send it quick. She duly despatched it with only a couple of hiccups and I decided that as we were there I’d try and do Corner, 7a, again. By this time it was truly hot and both our son and faithful hound were sheltering beneath whatever shade they could find.

Moving quickly I matched the last hold before taking flight having crossed hands…!! Drat…

Still it was hard to moan as the day was so gorgeous and so pretty happy for first day back we descended to the Refugio below just as others arrived (refugio El Llano) and Jose fed and watered us!!

Unknown climber on the super classic slab of Place Torres 6c, Escalon...

Unknown climber on the super classic slab of Place Torres 6c, Escalon…