Tag Archives: casa quiros

Old Dogs New Tricks – Catch-Up Blog #1 Otinar – Training week 3 / Overall week 4 (Feb 22nd – 27th)

Ok so here’s the first of my ‘retro-blogs’ as a catch up to where I am at with ‘Old Dogs New Tricks’…

Otinar – Training week 3 / Overall week 4 (Feb 22nd – 27th)

Ok so we left our hero (me btw) on the horns of a dilemma – a late, light session on my board the day before I was going away had left me with a very sore strained arm (or worse).  So the question was; to travel the 700km with the injury or to cry off and stay at home doing a  bunch of stuff that you need to get on with:  we were due to move house and I needed to finish my new book, so the temptation was pretty high to stay.

However, on the other hand I’d been climbing for 5 years with Jairo and never been on a trip with him…could I let him down at the last minute…??? Fuck!!

So I went. And we headed down towards Jaen – a short 700km or 9 hour drive – in Jairo’s motorhome. My arm was sore, strained and un-relentingly not good so I spent the time on the back watching movies being pissed off and massaging with my ‘Arm-Aid’ which seemed to help…

The team...Jairo, Juan and me...

The team…Jairo, Juan and me…

What made it doubly bad is that we were heading for Otinar and I’d been super-psyched for the trip. This is a ‘new’ venue which had a bit of a reputation, a mega steep cave with a bunch of 7s and 8s and nothing easier than 7a+ across the crag. With air cold, crisp and spring-like the 5 minute walk-in was get everyone breathing hard and there was a tangible excitement in the air. There were 6 of us and I’d decided to be cameraman for the day to rest an arm that seemed no better – a sore ‘pulley’ from the palm to the elbow.

EL COLETA 8a

The crag was very, very, very steep…Jairo on La Coleta, 8a,

On arrival the crag was decidedly well, brutal, not to put too fine a   point on it. It was really steep, even the warm ups were really steep and the hard routes were super steep. It made my arm twinge just looking.  However, the guys dived right in and set about mauling the warm/ups…then set about the main course.

Not the most aesthetic of venues set mainly above a huge goat pen the routes were very steep and it was inspiring as Miguel first then Jairo set about some of the most overhanging lines. My palms were sweating as Jairo gamely battled his way up, via a biiiiiig pump, a 7c which overhung 10m in it’s 23m length…I decided to make the most of the day and get some photos as I’d brought my ‘proper’ camera but after 4 shots the battery went – things weren’t going my way..

Day 3 started better and although my arm felt really sore I was determined to give it a go…then came a migraine so I went back to the van to lie down. Three days in and I hadn’t touched rock…after a sleep and a rest i felt a bit better and so wandered off and stretched in a ruined barn…the glamour!!

My 2nd 'rest' day...a bit of stretching...

My 2nd ‘rest’ day…a bit of stretching…

Day 4 – The dark side - After more ‘arm-aid’ i was ready to climb – and climb I did, like a big fat spanner. Warming up on the 6b+ part of very steep 7c (the easiest stretch of rock by far) I was nervous, static and slow. Feeling every day of my age I felt terrible, heavy and dulled – and somehow disappointed that the three weeks of training I’d done hadn’t turned me into a worldbeater. Then I pulled stupidly, forlornly onto the 7c, and ‘dogged’ the moves…it felt too hard, I felt too old and my frustration at my injury boiled over into cursing (not been known before) as I slumped on the rope. After I rest I then found myself falling off the next easiest route – a 7b which took an unlikely line – and a dark cloud descended!! Bad day at the office…

The bright side – However, I took solace watching an incredible French couple: him a 60 year old ‘lean, mean climbing machine’ and her a female version. They’d been there a few days and their modus operandi was clear and precise, he’d try and onsight and if he fell, work the route perfectly and send first RP. Then she’d go next following his instructions to normally execute a perfect ‘beta-flash’…now none of this would be of interest except that they both looked as old as the hills, they were doing this on routes up to 8a+ and they climbed so efficiently that it was a joy to watch. Very much a lesson in clever climbing and what you can do despite a few years…

55 year old French woman takes on silly steep 8a route and wins...

55 year old French woman takes on silly steep 8a route and wins…

Day 5 – Felt better. The clouds and cobwebs of day 4 had gone and I made a determined attempt to warm-up at the crag…And after some stretching a bit of use of Jairo’s mobile fingerboard and some rubber bands I got back on the warm-up – which, to my astonishment actually felt like a warm-up! Psyched I did it again and then climbed on into the 7c – carefully, testing all the holds for maximum efficiency and best body position – trying to channel Jerry Moffat’s matra ‘work it hard – send it easy’.

A redpoint ensued but cold hands put paid to anything and the rest afterwards only really made me more nervous. It was burly 7c and the likelyhood was I wouldn’t do it…however, as I launched into the crux sequence – a series of (for me) long snatchy moves off good holds – it just about clicked and despite a few, almost costly, moments of hesitation I slapped, stupidly pumped, onto the last jug. I’d got a send!! (something I’ll come back to in later Blogs).

I chilled for a bit and enjoyed watching Jairo send his 40 metre 8a with numb fingers and a lot of work, amazing effort.

The last night became more fun, I’d done summat so could relax a bit and as the G&T’s went down and the night grew longer the injury faded from my mind and the whole trip became better!

Ticks/Points of interest: 1 x 7c for 1500km of driving. And a typical ‘me’ route, bouldery and very cruxy and short…fun but nothing gained apart from the knowledge I hadn’t improved after 3 weeks. Watching the French couple showed that there’s life in old dogs and that clever outweighs strong!!

Lessons learned: Mates are more important than climbing and if you go you will get something done…and even if you don’t, go for a run, take photos, belay your friends and enjoy seeing somewhere new…oh and make sure your battery is charged…and use your mates for motivation and if you are injured don’t bring them down by moaning…

Score – 1 x 7c…Weight – 72.5kg

Did you know your mates laugh at you if you warm up at the crag...

Did you know your mates laugh at you if you warm up at the crag…



Descargar la mapa nueva de las regiones ‘Roca Verde’…

Mejorado, más facile leer y entender,  la nueva mapa de Roca Verde tiene todos los sitios que aparecen en la guía nueva.

Hay 6 nuevas escuelas que no habían sido publicadas hasta ahora en ninguna guía, un par que se nos olvidaron en la primera edición, así como muchos sectores nuevos añadidos a las escuelas existentes. En total, más de 500 vías nuevas.

New Asturias Map

Y recuerdas que puedes comprar el libro ahora aquí…

Comprar Roca Verde edición 2…

Roca Verde Edición 2 – Más detalles…

La primera edición de la guía de la Cordillera Cantábrica Roca Verde se vendió en tan solo 18 meses, razón por la que acabamos de publicar una segunda edición, completamente actualizada y revisada. Esta nueva versión incluye innumerables sectores y vías de escalada de las regiones de Asturias, Cantabria y León, en el noroeste de España, un destino perfecto para el verano.

La guia nueva de Roca Verde...

La guia nueva de Roca Verde…

Gracias al trabajo conjunto con muchos de los grupos más activos y equipadores de cada zona, hemos podido incluir seis sectores publicados por primera vez, así como nuevos sectores de zonas ya existentes, y un par de sectores clásicos no recogidos en la primera edición. Roca Verde contiene ahora más de 50 zonas de escalada, con un total de 239 sectores y 500 vías más (un centenar corresponden a la zona de Teverga), lo cual supone la asombrosa cantidad de casi 3500 vías de escalada.

Todas las reseñas han sido revisadas y actualizadas, con la novedad de que los grados de dificultad se distinguen por colores, lo cual facilita la elección del sector con una rápida ojeada. Se han añadido más fotos de excelente calidad, de las mejores vías y escaladores locales, tomadas por algunos de los mejores fotógrafos de la región en su afán de capturar la esencia de cada zona. Esta nueva edición también ofrece una visión general de la escalada en bloque en Asturias, con indicaciones sobre la localización y las reseñas de algunos de los mejores lugares para su práctica.

Hay muchos búlders guapos probar en Asturias...

Hay muchos búlders guapos probar en Asturias…

Por último (y tal vez por primera vez en una guía de escalada), hay códigos QR que enlazan con vídeos de vías y problemas de escalada de la región, con el fin de ofrecer una visión más profunda del ambiente en cada zona, así como un anticipo de la sensación de “sudoración en las manos”, incluso antes de visitarlas.

Gran miguelini

En resumen: más de 50 zonas, 239 sectores y casi 3500 vías de escalada, una síntesis de la escalada en bloque, enlaces a vídeos, y más de 200 fotos a todo color, que convierten a esta guía en la más vendida, imprescindible para la “región de la Roca Verde”.

La 2ª edición de Roca Verde puede adquirirse directamente  aqui al mismo precio que el anterior, 30€ así como en comercios especializados.

Getting Roca Verde 2nd Edition to the printers > having a baby…

After realising around last October that the original Roca Verde was going to sell out – in around 18 months only – I was obviously thrilled.

However, that also meant that I had to start again and so, after 6 more months of intense work here I am with the second edition on the presses in Aviles (in Asturias) as we speak.

The 'doctor' oversees the birth - it's a book...

The ‘doctor’ oversees the birth – it’s a book…

A manic weekend (as well as several manic days before that) led me to this position and the stress, sleeplessness and last minute panic somehow led me to the conclusion that producing a book is a bit like having a baby…

Now I am not saying that it’s equivalent but (and this is just what I have been told obviously) in so much as that women having their second one say they only do it as they have forgotten how bad it was first time.

And that’s the same with books.

You forget about the proofing, the endless fucking proofing: re-read = errors, re-read again = errors, then more errors until you even wonder if it’ll ever end. Then it goes to PDF proof from the printers, more errors; then your PC decides it can’t cope and won’t print…etc etc etc

And in the end you sit there say sod it and just push it out…LOL

Giving it the first once over...'it's a healthy 512 pages'

Giving it the first once over…’it’s a healthy 512 pages’

Anyway, despite all that the new version of Roca Verde is ready to go and I should have copies in store on the 2nd May.

Full details will be released at the end of the week save to say that it’s jam-packed with even more brilliant routes in this amazing region – and lots of stunning photos too!!

There are stunning new images like this across the book...

There are stunning new images like this across the book…

 

 

Mas chapas del fondo a la gente

Roca Verde sigue a dar materiales a la gente que estan equipando y re-equipando. Hace unos dias yo di 50 chapas y parabolts mas y unos reuniones a la gente del Refugio del Llano quien siguen a hacer mucho trabajo a la escuela.

Y tambien yo di 50 chapas y parabolts inoxidable al Grupo de montaña Peña Sobia. Ahora mismo estan abriendo sectores nuevos y re-equipando en muchos sitios. Gracias especialamente a Armando y Cesar por su trabajo…

Entonces pronto seran mas vias para disfrutar en Teverga y Quiros !! Buen trabajo chavales!!

Materiales por Quirós

Materiales por Quirós

Y otra vez muchas gracias a Ludo Aventura y Kop de Gas para sus apoyos…

Many thanks to Ludo Aventura www.ludoaventura.es/

Many thanks to Ludo Aventura www.ludoaventura.es/

Thanks to Kop de Gas http://www.kopdegas.com/

Thanks to Kop de Gas http://www.kopdegas.com/

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!