Tag Archives: desfiladero de La Hermida

Roca Verde Edition 2 – more details…

The first edition of the guidebook to everybody’s new favorite Spanish climbing destination sold out in just 18 months and so Roca Verde gets a makeover. Totally revised and updated, this new version comes jam-packed with even more crags and routes across the regions of Asturias, Cantabria and Leon in north-west Spain.

La guia nueva de Roca Verde...the new Roca Verde guide...

La guia nueva de Roca Verde…the new Roca Verde guide…

Working with many of the most active groups and equippers from each area we have added 6 crags never before published, as well as new sectors at existing crags and a couple of classic crags missed from the first edition. Roca Verde now has over 50 crags with 239 sectors to go at; and with over 500 additional routes there’s a staggering total of nearly 3500 routes packed into this edition.

Every topo has been overhauled and updated with new colours for each grade of route: making an ‘at a glance’ assessment of each sector for your grade much easier. In addition there’s even more superb photos, from some of the regions’ best photographers, featuring some of the best routes and climbers in the area capturing the spirit of each crag. In this new edition there’s also an exclusive overview of the bouldering in Asturias; giving you directions and downloads of topos for some of the best spots.

Hay muchos búlders guapos probar en Asturias...there are actually a lot of great places to boulder in Asturias...

Hay bastante búlders buenas probar en Asturias….there are actually a lot of great places to boulder in Asturias…

Finally, (and maybe a first in climbing guidebooks), there are QR codes scattered throughout the book linking to videos of various routes and boulder problems across the regions. In this way you can get an even stronger flavour of the venues and get some ‘sweaty-palm’ psyche even before you arrive.

Gran miguelini

Escanear el QR a ver el video…scan the QR code to watch the video…


So with over 50 crags, 239 sectors and nearly 3500 routes; an overview of the bouldering; links to videos and over 200 full colour action photos this is the definitive guide to the Roca Verde region.

Roca Verde 2nd edition is available direct here at www.rocaverdeclimbing.com and all good climbing stores.

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…



James onsighting Mana 8a as his warm up!!

James Pearson + Caroline Ciavaldini visit Roca Verde…Part 1

Wow…what a week…It’s great having visitors and showing off the place where you live – and have written a guidebook about!

But boy is it tiring…

James Pearson and Caroline Ciavaldini are friends of mine and were looking for a new place to visit for a recreational week of climbing after a busy month of work in England. So I decided to give them a whistle stop tour of the Roca Verde region.

IMG_9357-LoStarting in the east we stayed in La Hermida (at La Cuadrona, one of the best hotels around with ‘climber-friendly’ owners and lovely rooms) and visited some of the tufa-strewn crags in this amazing valley.

Soon after we hit the first crag (not officially on the map yet – watch this space) Caro christened this area ‘tufa-land’ and we had a great day on newly bolted lines up to 40 metres!! One with overhanging ‘tram-line’ tufas for the final 25m…

Embarrassing river crossing shot...

Embarrassing river crossing shot…

More tufas followed at Poo de Cabrales a classic destination in the shadow fo the Picos and with views of the iconic Picu Urriellu (Naranjo de Bulnes) in the background.

Checking the guide in the shadow of Bulnes...

Checking the guide in the shadow of Bulnes…

James and Caro made short work of many of the classics here but were stoked on the quality of the routes and at least one of them put up a bit of resistance – the short, thin tufa of ‘Bizcocho’ 7b+, surprising both of them with it’s difficulty. Short but no giveaway it seems.

James on Bizcocho

James on Bizcocho

They also sent Lord Byron 7c+ and few more and once again were impressed with the quality and the situation…

Day three saw us over in the west – James and Caro were ensconced in our holiday home – www.casaquiros.co.uk and we headed out to the giant cave of El Covachon in Teverga to get some steepness! James and Caro loved it and sent a bunch of classics including Mana  8a, Samba pa ti 8a, and Milenium 8a+. We also met up with locals Armando and Raul and had a great time cheering on Armando as he so nearly sent his project Macaco, 8b which crosses the giant roof.

Aramando almost getting it...but not quite...

Aramando almost getting it…but not quite…

Anyway, despite the disappointment for Aramndo it was a superb day’s climbing and James and Caro were suitably impressed with the quality and quantity of routes in the cave and once again the amazing situation overlooking the verdant valleys.

James onsighting Mana 8a as his warm up!!

James onsighting Mana 8a as his warm up!!

So after a great day we went in search of cider…

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


Guest Blog – Mike Owen on his visit to Asturias….

Mike Owen visited recently and here are his thoughts on the area and in particular a couple of the steeper crags (being a big tufa fan) Poo and Rumenes:

“The main objective (of our Spanish trip) was to visit Cantabria and Asturias in northern Spain as a result of buying Richie Patterson’s excellent new guide “Roca Verde”.

However, with a poor forecast we started in the east of Spain and the  first destination was a fairly new cliff called Culla about an hour north of Valencia. Thanks to Dave and Rhian Cross for the excellent info. However it was very tough on the Scali (van) getting down the 2.5km track to a perfect doss spot overlooking the crag. The crag was in the shade with plenty of wind, we had the place to ourselves and the routes were on fantastic colonettes.

It was finally time to drive on to Asturias at last. Driving along the autopista the scenery reminded us of North Wales. The mountains rise very steeply just a couple of km inland from the Atlantic in much the same way that the Carneddau rise above the villages of Penmaenmawr and Llanfairfechan. There was another similarity in that they were very often hidden by dark clouds and rain!

From the topo we sussed out the places that would keep us entertained: Poo de Cabrales and Rumenes. Both crags have plenty of colos (tufas) and enough shade for summer cragging. The lower sector at Poo has great short routes from 6b+ to 7a which are super warm ups. The upper “Chorreras” crag is great for onsighting from 7a to 7b+ (the harder routes are not as good). The best routes we did were Mociviellos (6b+), Cencerrada (7a), Alanvista (7a+), Entremedusas (7b) and Kalima (7b+). Richie says that the 7c+ at El Corralito is very good and the 8a+ looks brilliant (though has probably only had one ascent apparently).

Dave and Rhian Cross on the 7a+ part of El dia del arquero at Rumenes

Ahhhh, Rumenes. What wonderful climbs there are to do there, long colonettes and not too steep. The canyon is so impressive and there is so much rock everywhere. It is an equippers paradise, if you’re prepared to walk some. There will be a lot of development in the coming years. DON’T FORGET TO BUY THE TOPO BECAUSE RICHIE IS DONATING 20% FOR EQUIPPING. PLEASE DON’T PHOTOCOPY.

Sindrome de Stendhal, 50m of tufa heaven makes a great 8a (photo by Richie Patterson)
Jan from Czech Republic on the brilliant Rumenes power y al vino, 7a+



Asia from Poland flashing the excellent Cinderella Man, 7c


All the climbs at sector Chorreras are well worth doing, especially Rumenes power y al vino (one of the best 7a+’s anywhere) and the 50m 8a classic Sindrome de Stendhal. There are plenty of places to park up in the camper van in peace. On rest days the food and beer is very cheap in the climbers bar in La Hermida (Posada la Cuadrona) and there is a hot spring under the bridge.

We didn’t get to Teverga which is the other must go to destination, though much more sunnier. That’ll be at the top of the list for next time. The region is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to, the climbing is fantastic and the topo is amazing and so inspiring. I can’t wait to go back.”

Rumenes – the best tufas in Roca Verde??

An amazing venue and the best ‘tufa’ climbing in Asturias. The walls and routes at Rumenes are simply phenomenal and amply demonstrate the potential in this valley. The upper crag for the most part is literally tufa-strewn and provides a series of long, stamina testpieces.

Rumenes is probably  the most popular area in the Desfiladero – especially now there’s a good guide – and it was interesting to see people there from across Europe. Chatting to an Austrian team they were very impressed with the area (and the guide)…!

Austrian visitor becomes part of the spectacular scenery of Rumenes on Satanismo en el Alpinismo 7a+

Austrian visitor becomes part of the spectacular scenery of Rumenes on Satanismo en el Alpinismo 7a+

Shade arrives at Rumenes about 2pm but we arrived late at around  5pm after a long day at chilling out and bathing at the enormous beach of San Vicente about 30 minutes away (good tip). Already at the crag were a bunch of friends of ours – all ex-pats, some living in France some in Spain. The stamina legend that is Mike Owen was working the incredible stamina pitch of Síndrome de Stendhal, a super long 7c+ while his wife Elaine patiently nursed a very sore finger and belayed.

Mike Owen Sindrome de Stendhal 7c+

Mike Owen Sindrome de Stendhal 7c+

As we chatted to the Brits a French couple arrived and we realised it was a couple we’d seen at Teverga a few days before. They were enjoying their visit to Asturias and set about sending a few classics: Rumenes power al vino, 7a+, and Invocando de Onan, 7a one of the most ‘tufariest’ routes at this very ‘tufary’ crag!!

As I watched and snapped away I realised how burned I had got at the beach and my keeness to climbed waned…however, watching Marek Cincio from Poland absolutely fight his way up the 38 metre pitch of El día del arquero, 7c,  got me inspired. A brilliant effort he nearly fell several times before topping out on one of the best pitches there…

El dia del arquero, 7c. 38 metres of pure pump!!

Marek Cincio on El dia del arquero, 7c. 38 metres of pure pump!!

Our day eventually started about 6.30 and I warmed up on my favourite, La Tufa, 6b a great little route. However, after a bright start things went rapidly downhill as Mary started to feel a bit ‘sunstrokey’ and my pink flesh was feeling the pinch squeezed into my harness. An abortive attempt on a couple of routes failed and we slunk off down to La Cuadrona bar (another top tip) to be refreshed and revived by Chucho!!

All’s well that ends well and we ended the night chatting away to friends we hadn’t seen for a while and vowing next time to use a bit more sunblock!!