My, What a Big Tooth you have!

Im down in the flatlands, having bade farewell to the Pyrenees. The long hot drive over to the Ecrins, and again avoiding the peage tolls wherever possible.

I had met up with Emily in Seu d’Urgell and driven through Andora, which is a weird place. More petrol stations than I had seen in such a small place anywhere in the world. Cheap fuel though! We passed over the Pas de la Casa and dropped down into the french Ariege, Ax-les-Thermes and Orlu, home of the iconic Dent D’Orlu – the Tooth of the Wolf Continue reading “My, What a Big Tooth you have!”

A break from the large – Cavallers

So, my original intention after the Picos was to go to Ordessa / Monte Perdido and keep on with the big limestone. And indeed Seb and I met possibly the most enthusiastic spanish climber ever, Viti, who was headed in that direction. But by that time I had a very friendly invite from Lee to visit Cavallers, an area I had not previously heard of, but seemed to have a reputation for very high quality granite. So I bade Seb farewell in Santander, and off I went to hone my rusty granite skills. Continue reading “A break from the large – Cavallers”

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.

Nabada-Navarro
TD 6a+  A2 / 6c free
E2 5c ****
700m
Naranjo de Bulnes (Picu Uriellu) west Face
Picos de Europa
Allow 10-12hrs, plus 2 for descent
Sun from ~1400 in summer Continue reading “Rabado-Navarro: Pitch-by-pitch”

Beautiful Suffering : Rabada-Navarro

Well, the weather crapped out for a few days, cloud base down to the level of the cable base-station, mountains invisible. Seb and I retreated to to the now familiar Cueto Agero and found it cloud free, a good length of warm-up route at last! Seb got to teach me some about brakes, too as my newly replaced rear pads started to smoke alarmingly on the long downhills. Calipers and piston stripped, pads sanded and re-assembled by the road. Touch wood they’re doing fine since!

Then with days dwindling we headed around to the more recommended (Sotres) approach to Picu Uriellu (Naranjo de Bulnes) – the real thing. Continue reading “Beautiful Suffering : Rabada-Navarro”

The Mystery Col and Elusive South Ridge

After a comfortable night on Aliva Meadows, we decided to do ‘the best route in the eastern massif’ – the south ridge of Picu Jisu. Only first we had to decipher the location from Seb’s old Cicerone guide, which kept referring to named cols not marked on its maps, or indeed even within the area covered by said maps! Continue reading “The Mystery Col and Elusive South Ridge”

Moonscape Sunburn

So Seb arrived! In our eagerness to get stuck in we drove around to the south of the range, where the Fuente De cablecar allows quick access to the high altitude areas. In theory. The reality is more like a waiting game, the inefficiency of which defies logic. We kitted up, and walked over to the station at 8.30am, only to find a huge cue and discover that the first cablecar was not until 10am! Not 9am as we had thought. Add to this that the last scheduled return car was 7pm and we soon realised that this was not designed with climbers in mind. Anyway, we had committed ourselves to this plan now, so we paid up and waited for our number to come up. Around 10.30 we finally departed, and indeed it made short work of the steep ascent to the El Cable hut (otherwise a 3 hour hike). We set off into the moon-like landscape. Continue reading “Moonscape Sunburn”

A Soggy Start

So while I waited for Seb to arrive, I took a drive down into the fringes of the Picos de Europa. I had only a little information on the climbs there, but I found myself accidentally parked up at Lebena, underneath the impressive prow of Cueto Agero, which was one of the few valley-based routes that I had a description for. Took a walk up to look, and scrambled up the back to scope the decent route and take in the view. Continue reading “A Soggy Start”