Rabado-Navarro: Pitch-by-pitch

So as promised here is a full description of the Rabada-Navarro on Naranjo de Bulnes. We had a hard time finding good information in English, so I hope this may be useful. This is how we did it, but pitches may be split or joined as you see fit, depending on your rope length.

TD 6a+  A2 / 6c free
E2 5c ****
Naranjo de Bulnes (Picu Uriellu) west Face
Picos de Europa
Allow 10-12hrs, plus 2 for descent
Sun from ~1400 in summer

Equipment – route is partially equipped with pitons, threads and expansion bolts. All belays are either pitons or bolted, though some deserve backing up.
15 quickdraws (pref extendable)
full set of nuts and cams
2 x 60m ropes

Guidebook – The best we found was ‘Free Climbing in Picu Urriellu by Alberton Boza (isbn 978-84-943399-2-9) Which has a lot of information in English/French/Spanish. Although the main route descriptions are in Spanish only, the photo topos are excellent.

Approach – From Sotres, around 3hrs gentle but uphill hiking brings you to the “Vega de Urriellu” hut (1.953m), directly beneath the west face. There is camping and spring water here, or accomodation in the hut. Meals available for non residents, but register for dinner before 6pm. Cash only.

The route itself is around 15mins up scree from the hut, starting at a small ramp beneath the obvious corner system and small cave

P1 (30m 6c bloc / A0) An easy ramp leads to a hard polished boulder problem through an overlap (2BR). After trend diagonally left with further thin moves to reach an eye-shaped cave.

P2 (20m 6a) Start up the leaning corner system to reach a ledge (bolted belay)

P3 (45m 6c / v+ A1) The continuation of the leaning corner system is polished and will take all your crack and corner tricks to free. At half height you can move onto the face, before another, easier, crack leads to a good ledge. Lots of fixed/jammed gear protects

P4 (30m 6a) A thrutchy chimney start (hard with a pack) leads to more open climbing. Follow the crack system that trends slightly left.

P5 (45m 6a) To the top of the left trending cracks

P6 (50m V) Diagonally rightward up a large systems of cracks and flakes

P7 (55m V) Traverse rightward past the rib before going up and then heading back left to a perched peg belay directly above the previous stance, from where a ramp leads down left to the slab. 2p

P8 (25m 6a+) Feels hard, polished The iconic and photogenic traverse. Step down the ramp to get established on the slab and follow a line of spaced bolts, rising slightly, although be prepared to step down occasionally. Go up a flake near the end to reach a pair of rings.

p9 (15m) Abseil 10m and swing-traverse left to gain a hand traverse (piton) left to a bolt belay. Tie off the ends of the rope to assist the second. A prussic or shunt is vital to allow use of hands on the traverse. Alternatively both climbers may abseil to the green pair of bolts, and climb the remainder of the pitch in conventional fashion.

P10 (65m IV) Traverse L along ledge and up the first section of grand diedre corner system – 65m total, requires a little simul climb to first nut runner. Or there is a 2 piton anchor half way.

From the base of the diedre it is possible to rappel down Muricana, and is the last convenient opportunity to bail from the route

P11 (50m IV+)continue Up the grand diedro, via cracks and chimney systems (likened to La Demand in Verdon!). 55mropes get you to just below the top of the spire (2P), longer ropes would allow link to top (better)

P12 (50m) Finish up the spire if you need (extend runners well) and follow the easy but loose ramp downwards to a grassy ledge. Peg belay at the wider point of the ledge.

P13 (30m V+) Go straight up from the belay ledge into a mini-cave, and through two steep sections (but with good holds) to a left-trending crack system

P14 (30m IV) finish up the leftward crack system more easily to a spectacular position perched on the ridge (2P)

P15 (35m IV) Follow the slabby ridge to pass a large blocky mass to the left and belay above it.

P16 (70m V) 70m directly up the slab via a flake crack to reach the left of the twin cracks, place protection (extend) and cross into the right hand groove. Continue up easy but broken ground, with some simul climbing, to reach a bolted belay just as your second reaches the first difficulties of the pitch.

P17 (40m III) Easy climbing leads to the summit ridge.

Scramble with care south-eastward to the summit

Decent. Continue past the summit cairn (statue), following the ridge down and left (east) for 100m, until the open bowl of the south face appears on your right. Scramble down an open gully for 80m until a ramp allows an easy traverse left (facing out, east) for 15m to find abseil rings below.

4 x 50m abseils to the base of the south face and rough paths downwards, skirting around the east and north faces, to meet the main valley just below the hut


Author: naranjoclimbs

Ropemonkey, monkeybotherer, crack-lover,

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