Tag Archives: 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…



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.

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…

 

 

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.

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

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…

Quiros – Sector Eclipse new, old and ignored…#1

There are some places I just love to climb and Sector Eclipse at Quiros is one of them. Now I don’t understand why but this is a sector ignored by most and I have  never seen anyone there. However, for me it has a great mix of routes, there’s a decent spread of grades and possibly the best 6c+ in Asturias. (Controversial!!!)

Oh, and one more thing I should mention, it also gets into the shade at around 1.30, a blessing for a keen climber in the summer months. Returning there after a break was a treat for me for a number of reasons; firstly I completed my project, secondly I warmed up on a route which felt pumpy as hell on the last visit and finally I had the same feeling repeating a route as the first time – which is rare.

Amanita, 6c+, a really good route with a bit of everything...and OK at the grade!

Amanita, 6c+, a really good route with a bit of everything…and OK at the grade!

First visit, with the ever patient Den (who seems to get stuck with me in project mode) I warmed up on Amanita 6c+, a really good (and long) route which takes a burly crack for fully 35 metres. Certainly easier the second time there’s big moves, finger jams and intricate slabs and was happy that I felt solid all the way. Reason being I’d returned to finish a route I’d bolted about two years ago.

Called Chorrera Negra I’d tentatively graded it 7a and put it in the guide even though I’d not had time to complete it. I’d had the time after bolting to top rope it and although very tired had just about done it in one go. So feeling good I thought I’d just whip up it quickly and get it ticked.

Pumped in mind body and legs with a long wa y to go!!

Pumped in mind body and legs with a long wa y to go!!

However, I hadn’t counted on the fact that A. I hadn’t cleaned it brilliantly and the intervening 1.5 years would leave it worse. And B. it was pretty badly bolted with spaced bolts meaning you had to do hard moves above them and C. it was bloody hard!!!

Starting up an existing route, El loco de la colina, it zips straight up the wall above the start via a series of pockets, flakes and some very small and indistinct holds to join the belay of Luz de alba (another very good route).  Almost immediately after leaving the start of the first route I was stumped – I’d put the first bolt on my route high to avoid any conflict and instantly it was a nervous clip. Then again after clipping things didn’t get much better as teh crux seemed desperate, above the bolt and with a ‘gripper clipper’ for the next one.

Up, down, up down, I got pumped and more pumped. – feet on nothing much, dirty hand holds and fear keeping me down. Finally I committed and managed to push on – brutal – but a decent crimp got me clipped and a carried on. Phew, crux done! I didn’t remember anything else hard until the last few feet so felt a bit happier. But, I was once again subject to memory failings as almost isntantly the territory became thin, precarious and very, very unobvious. Sketch by sketch I advanced and slowly but surely i was going to be mine. By the end I was totally pumped with cramping feet and it was will power nothing more (and the threat of having to come back) which got me up it.

Very relieved I snagged the belay and lowered off pleased as punch but damn tired.  I was very proud of my route and my determined effort, whilst acknowledging it’s failings and vowing to come back and clean and add a bolt or two to my ordeal.

On the very thin crux of Chorerra Negra now a healthy 7a+

On the very thin crux of Chorerra Negra now a healthy 7a+

So overall, maybe my first new route on the Queen of Asturian crags isn’t the greatest but it’s intricate and fun (in an old school way). I upgraded Chorrera Negra to 7a+, I am going back soon to ‘sort it out’.

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!!