Tag Archives: Spain

Vistas impresionantes, con Carcalosa detras... Alex López,
Ritmo caribeño,
F: José Alberto Puente Great view of the angle of the crag: and you can see Carcalosa behind

Cicera – Crags of La Hermida #1

A world-class venue, and possibly the crag that everyone´s been waiting for more than any other, Cicera has a selection of brilliant climbs on perfect rock. Sitting opposite, and complementing almost perfectly the ludicrous tufas of Carcalosa, the main sector is only slightly overhanging making for technical and very pumpy wall climbing.

Carlos Cué, Plataforma, 7c, Cicera, una vía muy técnica de placa desplomada.

Carlos Cué, Plataforma, 7c, Cicera, una vía muy técnica de placa desplomada.

It’s a mix of grey and orange rock with good friction and mainly long or very long routes. For those climbing in the high 7s and 8s there’s an endless supply of testpieces and, unlike much of the valley, it’s a venue where finger strength and climbing ability take precedence over big arms!

Vistas impresionantes, con Carcalosa detras... Alex López, Ritmo caribeño, F: José Alberto Puente Great view of the angle of the crag: and you can see Carcalosa behind

Vistas impresionantes, con Carcalosa detras… Alex López,
Ritmo caribeño, F: José Alberto Puente Great view of the angle of the crag: and you can see Carcalosa behind

In addition, the lower crag provides more entertainment in it’s own style with grey almost ‘Verdon-like’ fingery slabs and some tough, shorter roofs.

Carlos Cué, Mar Negro, 7b+, Sector Abajo, Cicera. Placa técnica de fuerza de dedos...One of the brilliant wall climbs on the lower crag...

Carlos Cué, Mar Negro, 7b+, Sector Abajo, Cicera. Placa técnica de fuerza de dedos…One of the brilliant wall climbs on the lower crag…

The familiar theme is the lack of easier climbs but with such high-quality routes it’s easy to forgive.

Routes Summary
V+ – 6c+ = 4
7a – 7c+ = 28
8a – 8c+ = 23

Another view of the lower crag, this time a super cool 7a, Corbatas de Unquera.

Another view of the lower crag, this time a super cool 7a, Corbatas de Unquera.

Children: Fine for older children but quite a long walk in and steep underneath.

Season: Usefully, the upper crag is almost never in the sun so it’s great through the summer and can also get a good breeze in late afternoon. The lack of sun does mean it can be cold in late autumn and spring and once wet it does seep a bit and can take a while to dry – though there are plenty of routes which stay dry all year. Overall it’s a very reliable venue for good conditions.

The upper crag has so many great wall climbs, this time it's Orujo de Liébana, 7c

The upper crag has so many great wall climbs, this time it’s Orujo de Liébana, 7c

 

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…

 

The Acid Test

The weekend saw us hook up with an American family who, having bought the guide, had changed this year’s holiday plans and come to Roca Verde country for a month-long climbing trip. We couldn’t help but feel the pressure. What would they think of the book? Were they managing to find their way round okay? And, most importantly of all, were they having a good holiday?

IMG_3481 Krista

With climbs like this to go at, who wouldn’t enjoy a month-long trip to Roca Verde country? Krista on Piden Trabayu, 7a, at Bóvedas, Teverga

To add to the pressure the weather forecast was looking somewhat dodgy for Saturday so we decided to head to Bóvedas in Teverga, a great sector that has the added bonus of staying dry in the rain. We needn’t have worried, as despite a short sharp shower in the morning the rock dried instantly and conditions turned out to be pretty good.

Bóvedas was still a winning choice though, with some awesome 6s and 7as to keep Krista and Tim happy, with really interesting and varied climbing packing in everything from some delicate, fingery slab moves to tufa-pulling thuggery.

For the kids there was plenty of dirt to play in, which is always guaranteed to bring a smile.

IMG_3442-Me-V2As for us, we were just happy to hear that the Maloneys had been having a great trip climbing throughout Cantabria and Asturias and that they hadn’t got lost once. Especially after their confession that they normally allow an extra hour on top of any journey time, to compensate for the inevitablity of time spent going round in circles.

Of course the other joyous thing about Bóvedas is that in between goes you can sit and will your arms to recover whilst watching the wads across the way on Pared Negra. All the inspiration you could want to try and pull that little bit harder.

 

Nani, 7c Pared Negra

Nani, 7c Pared Negra. One for the tick list…..

 

Quirós – simply perfect for getting into the groove again..

Once again the queen of Asturian climbing doesn’ t disappoint, from the fantastic location – we woke up in Aciera to the view below – to the great weather and as always great routes.

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..

We have a had  a few months off climbing so we decided to hit Escalón (one of the most popular sectors at Quiros) with a great mix of slabs to warm up on and short testpieces to get the juices flowing. Mary started on one of the easy classics, ‘La Placa Fina’ V, a good call because as the sun rapidly rose and the temperatures as well it seemed that we may not get anything too difficult done…

Great warm ups on the slabs with the steeper pitches obvious above...

Great warm ups on the slabs with the steeper pitches of  obvious above…

However, luckily there was a bit of a breeze and instead of retiring to the pool at Proaza we carried on. I thought it was my turn, and was just getting psyched for Depiedradores 6c+ when Jack, our 4 yr son, decided to get into the act and after a go on the rope decided that a bit of soloing was for him.

Jack gets going...

Jack gets going…

Finally, I managed to get my turn and after a not too convincing warm up on the V sent the fingery and Depiedradores with only a  moderate amount of finger pain!!!
Undeterred Mary went up on a rope and as the breeze died off and the temperatures climbed quicker than we were I willed her to send it quick. She duly despatched it with only a couple of hiccups and I decided that as we were there I’d try and do Corner, 7a, again. By this time it was truly hot and both our son and faithful hound were sheltering beneath whatever shade they could find.

Moving quickly I matched the last hold before taking flight having crossed hands…!! Drat…

Still it was hard to moan as the day was so gorgeous and so pretty happy for first day back we descended to the Refugio below just as others arrived (refugio El Llano) and Jose fed and watered us!!

Unknown climber on the super classic slab of Place Torres 6c, Escalon...

Unknown climber on the super classic slab of Place Torres 6c, Escalon…

 

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.