Category Archives: Climbing

Sector Nuevo / New Sector – Gradurin, Covachon, Teverga

I was climbing a few days ago with Armando Suarez Diez at El Covachon (Gradura) and he was showing me the new routes that him and his mates had established alongside this classic sector.

This new sector, they have called Gradurin, is basically an extension of the cave but is a bit more relaxed, not so steep and there are quite a few routes to go at.

GraduinaAnd the good news is that there’s also a couple of easier routes to go at including a pair of 6b+ for those for whom the cave is too hard.

Anyway, as well as checking those out I got a great foto of Armando as he took the ride from the end of Macaco, an 8b which basically goes straight through the roof of the cave at it’s widest point.

Armando Macaco 8b

There are some short but good new routes at the Bordillo sector of Marabio...

New Page: New and Updated Topos

After a year of publication, and a summer of lots of action in the Roca Verde regions, there’s plenty of new routes to report and updates to existing crags.

All the areas in Roca Verde are vibrant, active areas with plenty of people adding new routes and new sectors and even new crags: more on that to come.

So, to keep my readers abreast of the new routes I have added a new section to the site where I’ll be publishing updated topos/croquis to some of the sections in the book, as well as topos to new areas.

You can see more here: New Topos

And to start you off here’s an example of an updated topo for the small sector of Bordillo at Marabio…we climbed there today and nearly all the routes are worthwhile and the two new short 6b’s pack a real punch!!

So thanks to the people who re-equipped and added the new routes!

There are some short but good new routes at the Bordillo sector of Marabio...

There are some short but good new routes at the Bordillo sector of Marabio…

And remember Roca Verde with it’s bolt fund helps to provide gear for the people who give their time to these onerous duties: see more at our Bolt Fund page…

And for anyone enjoying the Uk’s weather here’s what the day looked like at Marabio today…

 

Roca Verde in Uk’s Climber magazine…

Roca Verde’s made yet another appearance in a European climbing magazine, this time in the UK’s Climber Magazine.

Based around the climbing in La Hermida it takes a look at the main crags there and what you need to know if your planning a visit to this mini climbing paradise close to Santander.

Great spread in climber magazine...

Great spread in climber magazine…

All included in the Roca Verde guidebook the La Hermida valley is a great destination combing a host of grades and styles of climbing to complement most parties.

The article runs to 8 pages with lots of great photos and is available in the UK until the 10th of September.

You can download a ‘rough’ copy of it here to get a flavour:

La Hermida

 

Mini Post – Vimeo channel of Asturian bouldering and climbing

Just found this great Vimeo channel collated by Nano Montes where you can see tons of bouldering and climbing videos from all across Asturias…

Asturian Vimeo Channel

And here’s a couple of sample videos:

Climbing at Teverga, a classic, Derecho de pernera, 7c

Lolin en derecho de pernada from Alejo on Vimeo.

And here’s some bouldering, very atmospheric:

“Poseidon” (8a+).f.a. from nano montes on Vimeo.

New videos and new YouTube Channel

After having a bit more free time I have started to make some short videos about the climbing in Roca Verde territory.

Here’s the first one I’ve done – it’s me on one of the super cool routes at the Sector Las Ardillas, at the crag of Quiros in the heart of Asturias. 

I’ll be making plenty more videos from now on – and hopefully learning more on the way – and you can see more at my YouTube channel.

RocaVerde YouTube channel…

I’ve also started to collate as many videos about Asturias as possible in one place so you can see what else there is on offer.

There’s about 30 videos that I have found – of varying quality – that show some of the climbing in Asturias and beyond.

Placas del Sol

For once Placas del Sol didn’t live up to their name. A light blanket of cloud in the afternoon made the day, although hot, very bearable turning this latest visit into my longest session at the crag.

I had joined a couple of guys who were staying in Casa Quiros after they’d chosen the crag to make the most of the morning shade. With a pretty impressive plan of starting at Placas then going on to Planeta X I was psyched to meet up and climb with Conor and Sean.

I had recommended Placas for its brilliant routes, general lack of traffic and the fact that it’s always shady until about 1.30.

Being Brits Conor and Sean were already stuck in to the ‘warm-up’ when I arrived promptly (well just after 10), though to be fair they’d had 10 minutes drive from Quiros while I’d been an hour in the car. Psyched I stomped up the hill and arrived out of breath just as Sean descended, so I tied on and scooted up the ‘Minimum’ 6a+ for the third time.

Conor, strating well on Empezamos Bien..

Sean, starting well on Empezamos Bien..

They’d both enjoyed this tricky, but fun, slab and, enjoying being ‘ringmaster’ I set them off on the next route, the beautiful groove of ‘Empezamos bien’ 6b+. They were both pretty keen, Conor going first, and although I warned him about the thin, techy start he got out of sorts and slumped rather inelegantly onto the rope.

‘Drat’ he said (I may be paraphrasing) then got back on and scooted to the top. Mood improving as he really seemed to enjoy the delights of the climb Conor topped out happier. Sean’s more measured approach paid dividends and he ascended pretty smoothly making light work of the start and only pausing briefly in the middle section. I followed and doing it for the third time still found the start hard, but got up OK.

Bit's of rope on bolts should always be a warning...

Bits of rope on bolts should always be a warning…

Next it turned out to be sandbag time as I set Conor off on a pretty brutal 7a+ called Ojos caprichosos…I’d been pretty much spanked on it but presumed Conor leaner physique and lack of years would triumph…Hmmm, not be. Equally chastened on the grim pocket pulling start Conor quickly bagged it off and we retreated to the more favourable angle of Distrito Apache a very good 7a on the first buttress

Distrito Apache...

Distrito Apache…

Having done it before I put the clips in and watched as Conor managed somehow to drop it on the last few moves (actually understandable as it’s a bit thin and unobvious) and then Sean ‘suaved it’ afterwards for a pretty good flash.

It was my turn to actually put some effort in next and I was desperate to slay a mini-nemesis in the shape of Karicaturas, 7a+, a brilliant pitch which takes a very blunt tufa to a challenging headwall and move that had repelled me about 20 times on the previous go. This time went better on the tufa below, which is remarkably sneaky, and I was fully psyched to make the move above, though very pumped, and caught it spot on; latching the crozzly crimp well enough to get through. Very pleasing.

After that Conor decided to finish Distrito and smoothly sent it while Sean dozed beneath…it was packing up time more or less when i was suddenly shocked by the fact that a route I had always fancied – that took a great line through a roof was actually a 7b not a 7c.

Me on the first roof

Me on the first roof

So sod it, off I went on an ‘eyes bigger than belly’ on sight attempt and after sending the first roof with a lot of effort I found myself in a ‘no-mans land’ trying to rest in a  big hole. Not getting any less pumped I decided to soldier on and little by little with some big pulls and breathing like a cow giving birth arrived under the top roof.

In the big hole after the roof...

Just after leaving the big hole after the roof…

Just one move to go and I would have on sighted my first 7b of the year – only a week after doing my first 6c of the year!! Gingerly i flet round the roof and at first couldn’t find anything, but, calming my breathing and looking a bit harder a small slot appeared and I was able to grab the top jug.

This was a very good day out and for once as the placas didn’t live up to their name and frazzle us after 2pm we could have a full day there and enjoy everything it had to offer!

Quirós – La Cubana – Short and (mainly) sweet

La Cubana is one of those sectors that’s got a bit of everything – from your first 5 to an 8a+ roof – and because of that it seems a lot bigger than it is.

It’s actually a pretty small sector but because there’s quite a bit to go at and the routes are short, I always tend to have a good time there. However, this is also probably because most of the routes are really good, and in fact there are two or three that are ‘must do’ routes of Quiros.

La Cubana

La Cubana

Lying a little bit above La Selva there’s a bit of a steep slog uphill on a pretty rough path – but at least it gets the blood pumping. In summer La Cubana catches the sun a bit later than the rest of the crag and its angle means it’s late to leave too, getting rays until around 5.30…

The slight downside of its position is that there can be a wind which is funnelled up to the crag which can make it chilly. It was like this when we were there recently and the fact we were climbing in a three meant that fingers took a bit of punishment on the start of each route.

Den and my partner Mary had got there first and had already sent Mao and Tao, two great little 6a pitches on the high-quality grey limestone that bounds the left had part of the sector. And when I arrived Den was just setting off the classic Sol y Nieve, 6c, which takes a line of thin holds up a vertical wall. Balancy and delicate there´s a couple of hard pulls and it’s a bit of a vertical puzzle.

Denise Mortimer does the crux of Sol y Nieve...

Denise Mortimer does the crux of Sol y Nieve…

I followed, leading the route for about the 4th time, and although I knew it, the off-balance nature of the climbing and the delicacy of the moves means it’s never in the bag until the chains are clipped.

Suitably flash pumped I decided it was Den’s turn again and sent her the brilliant Corazon Salvaje (Wild Heart), 6c+. This is an unusaul route for Quiros and one of the best there, involving some burly pulls on an ever steepening tufa. Sharp and committing  Den almost had it but just failed to latch the key part of the tufa. Cold hands and sharp holds almost certainly playing a part!

Ruben Trabanco Corazon Salvaje, 6c+, La Cubana, Quiros.

Ruben Trabanco Corazon Salvaje, 6c+, La Cubana, Quiros.

I did the route quickly after Den and emboldened by warm hands, and owing Den a favour, I offered (was persuaded) to put the clips in the very fingery 7a, Brutus. Like a thin version of Sol and Nieve Brutus is, well, brutal! Luckily on the attached video you can’t see my poor efforts where I fell before the crux but this gives you an idea of the nature of the climbing.

Anyway hats off to Den who sent it first go, flashing it and ending up very pleased with her days haul. Another great day out, a mite cold but some sweet routes in the bag.

Remember if you are coming to the Roca Verde area we have just opened a new guesthouse www.casaquiros.co.uk

Muro Techo – shelter from the storm!

After a bad couple of months for me in terms of injuries (bad back, bad leg, deep cut on my middle finger) it was a pleasure, even on a cold day, to get out climbing. Even more special was to be able to show our first guests at Casa Quiros (www.casaquiros.co.uk) some great routes at one of the sectors that maybe they wouldn’t have gone to. Muro Techo is a great crag (looking much like the UK’s Kilnsey crag) and yet, because it’s a bit of a hike (20 mins), it’s sometimes forgotten.

I’ve climbed there a lot, and especially in summer when its orientation means it doesn’t get the sun until around 1.30pm so you can have a good few hours shady climbing. However, on a cold day (or when there’s a bit of rain), it can also come into its own as it is both sheltered and, due to the jutting roof that guards it, virtually never gets wet. In fact you can basically climb in the pi**ing rain there and have a great day. And on this day, mid-March is was both cold and rainy so we headed up there to sample the delights!

Nicola Basset on the brilliant Llagartu Verde 6a,  with a good view of the massive roof behind…

Nicola Basset on the brilliant Llagartu Verde 6a,  with a good view of the massive roof behind…

In general the rock at Muro Techo is very good, and tending towards the slabby it’s a technical and delicate climbing style. And with a preponderance of routes up to 6c on the main walls there’s plenty to go at.

As usual we warmed up on the short and sharp 5+ first pitch to Ambigut – a steep crack, it’s a good way to get the arms working. I then took Nic and Rodger over to the Clasica de Muro Techo 6a, 6a+. Even upgraded to 6a the first pitch is a tricky proposition and a bold layback and difficult clip adds meat to this good route. However, with the clips in Nicola stormed it but appreciated my warnings of the potentially stopper move!

The tricky clip on Clasica del Muro Techo...

The tricky clip on Clasica del Muro Techo…

Just after this my friend Ramon pitched up and bizarrely enough had been climbing next to Nicola only a couple of months before at El Chorro. Introductions were made and then Ramon headed up to try Ambigut – this time the 2nd, 7b, pitch. And although a lot of Mure Techo is slabby at the right hand end there’s plenty of steepness with a series of routes of ever-increasing difficulty though some tough roofs. Ambigut V+, 7b is the most accessible of these and Ramon attacked it with gusto – only coming unstuck on a particularly fierce mono move near the top.

Ramon Alvarez on Ambigut

Ramon Alvarez on Ambigut

Our team then moved onto Llagartu Verde, a sweet little 6a, 6c whose first pitch is a superb exercise in slab climbing. This time I took photos while Nicola sent the first pitch without too much trouble and came down singing its praises!

The first pitch of Llagartu verde 6a

The first pitch of Llagartu verde 6a

Finally, it was my turn to climb and I chose to finish on Hierro y Fuego, 6b, a great little route which wends its way up the centre of the main part of the crag. With two tricky sections and some rock which is a little ‘different’ it’s quite a challenging route. I just held on at the top when some evil slopers come into play and after a couple of months out was suddenly feeling the strain.

Lost in a sea of rock, Nicola on the crux of Hierro y Fuego...

Lost in a sea of rock, Nicola on the crux of Hierro y Fuego…

Nicola followed me and finally came unstuck as a combination of a cold day and a couple of pumpy layback moves did for her! However, she was not downhearted and both her and Rodger, who had been surprised to be able to climb on what was a pretty miserable day, were pleased to get out and tick some pretty cool routes and visit a different crag!

As we walked down, we christened it a ‘British/Spanish day’ and headed off to enjoy a very, very thick cup of chocolate in San Martin below!

Esplanada: a route falls – and so do some rocks!!

La Esplanada at Teverga is one of the most popular sectors at this crag and one we return to plenty. And it’s not hard to see why: some superb routes across the grades, shade until 1pm on a lot of it, shade again in the evening and a big grassy area that’s perfect for Jack and other kids to play!

However, there is a downside and as I point out in the book it’s rockfall – importantly, not over the whole area, but on some the routes right on the Senda very occasionally it can be a dangerous place and helmet is recommended.

We returned to Esplanada recently and after a break of some time I decided to warm up on the classic Woman del Callao, 6b+, which as always provided plenty of entertainment – but this time not just because of the testing nature of the intricate climbing! About 5 bolts up a whizzing sounds pricked my ears and the thud of rocks hitting the ground next to Mary shattered our evening peace.

It was for this reason we hadn’t done this route in a while and that I’d recommend helmets for the few routes on this slab as, once in a while, following heavy rain or when the goats are above this part of the Senda is a like a firing range. For one reason or another i stuck with it and finished the route (it’s actually pretty safe tucked right in on the rock) but even as i did some more, bigger stones crashed to the ground.

The author on Momo, 7b+, Esplanda..

The author on Momo, 7b+, Esplanda..

Deciding to move to a calmer route we shifted our gear into the main part of Esplanada to where the steep walls above guaranteed that we wouldn’t be disturbed…

I had a mission and that was to tick off an old enemy, Momo, a burly and technical 7b+ that I had tried a few years previously and been somewhat put off by dint of not being fit enough to try it! LOL

Anyway, this time things flowed better and after a quick ‘dog’ to put the draws in, the redpoint adrenaline (possibly from the previous adventures) seemed to get me through the steep and pumpy crux to a delicate rockover move on the final slab. Easy I thought, having dogged it a few minutes previously, but this time, first go I almost fell. Shaking slightly I committed and was relieved to find my foot stick on the rounded boss and a jug come into my grasp…

So from a somewhat dodgy start the evening ended well and a little itch was scratched…as well as a reminder that even sport climbing isn’t 100% safe!!

Asturias has it’s first 9a…and it’s totally natural!

A few days ago I went to see for myself the first 9a in Asturias. It’s in Teverga, the ever expanding climbing paradise, but on an out of the way buttress which sports a selection of super routes.

Established over 15 days by Madrid climber, Pablo it’s a 28 metre gently overhanging wall which very unusually goes without resort to chipping or sica!! A fantastic effort!!

Jairo on the first hard section of Clandestino

Jairo on the first hard section of Clandestino

Arriving at the crag it was pretty obvious this wasn’t an evening for sending: the ‘Indian summer’ was continuing and it was around 25 degrees and very still. Jairo and Ignacio Mulero (a very strong youth who was projecting the route) were already there and it was incredibly inspirational to see Isaac ‘warming up’ by smoothly climbing through long sections of the route despite the sweaty humid conditions.

Ignacio Mulero on the 9a

Ignacio Mulero on the 9a

Unfortunately for me the crag’s easiest route is a 7c+/8a, called Alien and so after warming up as much as I could with a theraband I gamely gave it a go!!

Me warming up

Me warming up

Way steeper than it looked, I got thoroughly spanked first go and lowered off from what I thought was the crux as a sweaty mess. Second go I felt better and arrived at the ‘crux’ and after a few dogs got through it…however, as ever a bit of misunderstanding doesn’t help and I realised with horror that what I had done was a preliminary bit and the crux was yet to come.

Steep enough? Alien, 8a...

Steep enough? Alien, 8a…