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Roca Verde features in Climb Magazine

Roca Verde features in Climb magazine in the Uk this month with a 6 page feature on the area published in the October issue which should hit the shops around the 13th of the month.

Green Kingdom is the title of the article about Asturias...

Green Kingdom is the title of the article about Asturias…

You can get the magazine in all good stores, or order through their website www.climbmagazine.com

 

Casa Quirós – our holiday cottage under the crag

We have just opened Casa Quirós – a picture-book pretty, traditional stone-built Asturian house that has been recently renovated to a high standard.

A great spot for climbers, Casa Quirós is just underneath one of the best crags in Asturias, Quirós, which has nearly 300 sports routes spread over 22 sectors. Teverga, another huge climbing area, with nearly 500 routes, is only 15 minutes drive.

The view from Casa Quirós on a summer morning...

The view from Casa Quirós on a summer morning…

The south facing house sleeps four and is situated in Aciera, a picturesque traditional Asturian village, in the heart of the parque natural de Las Ubiñas-La Mesa. Surrounded by beautiful peaks and passes the area is perfect for all types of outdoor activity including; climbing, road biking, mountain biking, trail running, hiking, fishing and birdwatching

If climbing’s not your thing (or your partner’s) then not to worry because the area has loads more to offer. The road and mountain biking, straight from the house, are both awesome. For littler legs the 45km long, mostly flat, Senda del Oso (bear path – yes, we even have bears!) wends its way along the foot of the valley beneath the village. There’s even kayaking on the reservoir just below the house.

See more about Casa Quirós here…

Teverga – Entecampos delivers as ever…

We were slightly worse for wear after the ‘bonitada’ (tuna festival) in the village of Aciera (just under Quirós). As ever Spanish hospitality was fantastic so after about 4pm the next few hours were taken up with a proper siesta (2 hours sleep). After that we managed to get back in the camper van and drive the 10 short minutes from Quirós to park up at a busy Teverga.

Men and grils...doesn´t change the world over... The next morning the parking  was, as usual, buzzing and there were a lot of climbers milling around ready to go…although as usual in Spain loads of them didn’t make a move particularly quickly.  So after a quick coffee in the always friendly Bar Sobia we decided on Entecampos – almost the closest sector and still with plenty to do; even though we´d been there loads.

Mary sends the first pitch of Nirvana 6b...

Mary sends the first pitch of Nirvana 6b…

Starting on Nirvana 6b we enjoyed the cool fresh air after the previous days storms and marvelled how the crag was completely dry even after the near wash out of the Saturday.  I then jumped on Diablo 6c, the short version and got a shock as it seemed hard than I remembered; fingery and intrictae it would be easy to fall of this neat little route.
For a change we the moved to the top of the sector: always empty yet with some of the best routes around. I had done Tijeruca 250 7a/+ before but the quality once again impressed. 35 metres, 16 bolts and a gently ‘leading you on’ feeling culminating in a pretty tricky move high on the route.

A very foreshortened view of the route...

A very foreshortened view of the route…

Mary did well on a top rope and my arms seemed as though they recovered / warmed up so I picked a route I’d wanted to do for ages – El último flote 7a+/b. Another long route, this time 28 metres, the start had always put me off – a decidedly thin looking tufa/groove which led to the steep roof and the superb looking tufa groove above.

The very thin and tricky initial groove of El último flote 7a+/b

The very thin and tricky initial groove of El último flote 7a+/b

Well the groove was a grim as it looked, super thin and a bit dirty I slapped for the finishing jug of that section very, very relieved!! Motoring through the roof I felt Ok but at the top of the tufa strewn groove the pump hit and form then it was ‘sh%t or bust’ to the top. Crawling higher and higher I though I was going to make it but confronted with the last move my arms failed and a desperate lunge for the top failed….

Shit or bust...bust!!

Shit or bust…bust!!

Lowering off i was both happy I’d got so close but pissed off that this was the first 7a+ i’d fallen off across the whole of Entecampos!

Still a great day out and as ever Entecampos delivers!!

Niall Grimes reviews Roca Verde climbing…

My memories of Asturias are strong: long, sandy surf beaches populated by locals; rolling green hills not ten miles from the coast; wide open, quiet countryside with a ruralness reminiscent of quieter parts of Provence; drinking strong cider in cider-bars in quiet country towns. And being on the wrong route on a fabulous sport crag.

Asturias is the coastal province on the northern coast of Spain. Think ‘left of France’. It’s a big holiday destination for French and Spaniards, although little known outside these two countries. While this may be true from a tourism point of view, it’s an undisputable fact when it comes to climbing. Well perhaps this is about to change.

Roca Verde is a new guidebook from British ex-pat Richie Patterson. Richie has been living and climbing in the region now for eight years and has dedicated the past few to bringing information on the local crags together into one volume. As is often the way in Spain, some of these crags were covered in small, area specific guides, and some never recorded before. The result is a book which throws a whole new climbing destination onto the table for rock-hungry Spainophiles to get their teeth in to.

It looks amazing. The action shots reveal the blockbusting quality limestone that we have come to demand of Spain – steep walls, overhangs, tufas, orange-and-blue streaks – these are all in evidence here. The routes look cool and well featured and the photos – mostly Richie’s own – make me want to be there. I must point out one thing here: the author has allowed himself the indulgence of putting an okay shot of himself on the front cover, something that hasn’t happened since Andy Pollitt’s day. But we’ll overlook that for now.

+Gema Lanza climbing in the amazing Desfiladero de la Hermida, 222 kb
Gema Lanza climbing in the amazing Desfiladero de la Hermida
UKC Gear, 15 Jul 2014
© Richie Patterson

One thing that turns me on about the photos is the background. There’s more green around than we have come to expect from Spanish climbing settings. Trees and grass attest to the area’s higher rainfall when compared to the Costa Blanca, but all that dust down on the east side does my head in after a while. I’ll take the odd shower, especially since there are plenty of crags in this book that are weatherproof.

There’s a huge amount of rock in these pages. As well as Asturias it covers the neighbouring regions of Cantabria and León combining to nearly 3,000 routes from 2s and 3s right up to tediously-hard 9as. It seems best, in general, in spring and autumn, although lots of the crags I looked at were goers in summer and winter too.

The book itself seems to work very well. It is functional, fact and number heavy, as is the way with continental sport guides. Maps aren’t beautiful, but who cares. Out of curiosity I picked a few at random and compared them to Google Earth and they all seemed spot on. Scales would be handy, all the same. Topos are excellent, taken in great light, and serve to showcase crags really well.

One last point I had to broach with the author, was what relationship Richie had with locals. To my relief it turned out to be a constructive one. Locals were a big help and in the production and have received the guide well, perhaps helped by the fact that Richie actually lives there. This impression is helped by the fact that, going by the names at least, the people in the action photos are locals. In addition to this, Richie has pledged some of the profits from the book towards local bolt funds. I imagine that goes a long way to making locals happy.

Niall Grimes (or Grimer) is a fixture on the UK Climbing scene, publishes climbing books for a living and is welcome to visit any time!!

Bovedas in Teverga features 6b slabs and 7b+ tufas!!

Bovedas in Teverga features 6b slabs and 7b+ tufas!!

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

 

Roca Verde is in print…in stores soon!!

Roca Verde is now in print…

Arriving in our tiny village on the back of a large truck we unloaded 1300 books. After two years of effort it was great to see them finally. The printers, Rigel in Aviles, Asturias have done a great job and I am sure anyone who gets a copy will be more than happy with the quality.

Guide-ArrivalWe will be shipping out the first editions ASAP and I hope everyone who has ordered will have a copy by the end of next week.

Guide-Arrival-#2Distributed by Cordee in the UK it will be instore across the UK soon and in stores in Spain pretty quickly too.

You can buy a copy of the book on this site at a special price until the end of the month..

Buy from the UK

Buy from Europe

Buy from Spain

 

Cerro corona….a crag with a view!

Wow…The hottest day of the year, a very unusual March day of 25 degrees, and I’m sweating my way up the 40 minute walk-in to Cerro corona. The imposing butress overlooks the town of Carrena in the east of Asturias and is one of those places you look at, say ‘wow’ yet never seem to get round to going to.

IMG_0339 V2

We’d planned this day for a while and we got lucky as although it’s  hot the light is amazing and as this shot from the valley opposite shows even the moon wants to get a suntan.

Cerro corona is the crag on the left and as you can see the walk in is steep and tree covered and long. It’s left me a bit drained – and maybe that’s why i get so pumped on the warm up. This long and involved 6b,  Fistro de diedros, is 26 metres of technical grooves and hard-to-see holds on perfect rock.

The sun beats down as I look for a spot to take some photos from. I finally find a place up a tree and we get to work. In the full sun the route looks tricky but also looks amazing set against the backdrop of the Picos with Picu Uriellu standing out behind.

First go I don’t get the light right but the climber doesn’t get the sequence either and so half an hour later I’m back up the tree. This time he sends and so do I  and we have our shot for the guide, epitomising the amazing climbing and magificent scenery encountered climbing in the Oriente of Asturias.

Both baked, though him more than me, we sit in the shade for half an hour until it’s my turn. Luckily I send first go and we pack up, job done and head down…only to be confronted by a final treat, the Picos ‘in full effect’ staring us in the face as we descend!

IMG_0472 v2

 

Roca Verde

Roca Verde is the first international guidebook, published in English and Spanish, to the amazing sports climbing in and around the Cordillera Cantábrica (inc. the Picos de Europa) in north west Spain. Roca Verde includes the best crags of the Spanish regions of Asturias, Cantabria and León.

Our intention is to highlight this fantastic area, which we believe has the potential to be a new ‘hotspot’ destination and a regular stopover for European climbers. The Roca Verde region is well served by international flights and ferries, has an excellent road network and, unlike much of Spain, has a climate that is amenable to climbing through the summer months.