/ Picos de Europa
A friend and I are planning a trip to the Picos de Europa for early August. We plan do a few days climbing. We are looking for easyish routes, sport or trad (although veering towards sport at the moment to save taking a rack. Too limiting?). I have hiked in this area but haven’t climbed.
Can anyone offer any advice, on the climbing plus other useful information, having perhaps done a similar trip? There seems to be a drought as far as English guide books are concerned!
Many thanks in anticipation of any advice.
It's somewhere I've been wanting to go for ages, and have looked for guidebooks, and yes, they are are hard to find!
The Cicerone one (which I've bought) is OK, pretty sure it's only trad and mainly mountain routes though.
I found this one in Spanish that looked promising for sport http://rocaverdeclimbing.com/?page_id=11
It mentions on the page where to get it locally in Spain, which might be good for other books and/or finding climbers who can help point you in the right direction.
I went climbing in southern Spain earlier in the year without a guidebook and just got chatting to a few locals who told me of some websites that had topos on which was enough.
The Roca Verde guide is highly recommended, and the good news is that it's in English, written by Richie Patterson.
It documents thousands of mostly single pitch, accessible sports routes in the areas surrounding the Picos, but not the high mountain crags of the Picos themselves. We spent a month there a couple of years ago and really enjoyed the climbing. Check out the relevant blog posts at https://rockaroundtheworld.co.uk/category/spain/north-asturias-cantabria-leon/
The Cicerone guide is rather vague in places. I can highly recommend making the slog up to do a route on Naranjo De Bulnes though, there is a Spanish guide with photo topos for each individual pitch, Needlesports and outside are where I would start looking for guides.
Yeah cicerone is for old school trad routes
The roca verde is good for easy sport. We went to one amazing beach crag, easy sport in the morning and then swimming in the sea and sunbathing when it got hot. There's some amazing food, drink and festivals nearby. Picos/northern spain is so underrated!
Another little gem of a crag Sector Placas De Lebena is on the drive up to potes. Really cool tyrolean appraoch over a river. Its a water pock marked slab, loads of easy climbs but feel really good value in 5's and 6's. Had a great day cragging with the missus.
There is plenty of easyish sport around, as mentioned by others the Roca Verde guide is excellent! The beach crag is just brilliant with an amazing beachside cafe that does live music etc.
All the stuff on Naranjo de bulnes is trad (more or less), and requires a stay in the hut (or a camp outside it). Its so cool!
I am happy to lend you the roca Verde guide (2nd edition), a birthday present so can't sell!. We tried the place kemics mentioned. Great fun getting to it, but it was our first time climbing alone and found the grades harder than expected. Since then we have climbed in Sardinia and found the grades there more like what we expected in terms of difficulty for the marked grade. Can't remember but a local did tell us that there was a lovely crag with lots of lower end grades in the Leon region covered by the book.
> The Cicerone guide is rather vague in places.
I never really found that - I found it perfectly adequate for all the mountain routes we did.
Fair enough, when we did a route on Pena Vieja it read rather like the author had sat at the hut with a beer and some binoculars rather than knowing the detail of the route. Perhaps I had been spoilt by the high quality of modern guidebooks.
I'm pretty sure most of the routes we did followed 'natural' lines in any case, so a 'start at the bottom and climb to the top' is probably all they needed ! its been many years since I've been there but I do remember it being a stunning spot.
> The Cicerone guide is rather vague in places.
Seriously. The Cicerone walking guide to Sardinia tried to lose me in the wilderness. Every instruction was something like "bear left at the big tree". Does "big" mean not a sapling or a California redwood? Also trees grow over time so there's a lot more "big" ones since this was written. Oh there's a really big tree but it's a right turn. Did he mean right? Ad infinitum.
A walking guide to Sardinia is never going to be that useful in the Picos, to be fair.
Thank you for this. I think the Roca Verde book is the way forward.
I bet your trip was amazing. Thank you for the link to the blog; I enjoy reading about people’s trips. Any recommendations for campsites?
> Yeah cicerone is for old school trad routes
> The roca verde is good for easy sport. We went to one amazing beach crag, easy sport in the morning and then swimming in the sea and sunbathing when it got hot. There's some amazing food, drink and festivals nearby. Picos/northern spain is so underrated!
> Another little gem of a crag Sector Placas De Lebena is on the drive up to potes. Really cool tyrolean appraoch over a river. Its a water pock marked slab, loads of easy climbs but feel really good value in 5's and 6's. Had a great day cragging with the missus.
I love the idea of climbing followed by swimming as I expect it’s going to be hot! Thank you for the recommendation of this Crag; this is exactly the sort of thing we are after.
> I am happy to lend you the roca Verde guide (2nd edition), a birthday present so can't sell!. We tried the place kemics mentioned. Great fun getting to it, but it was our first time climbing alone and found the grades harder than expected.
Thank you. I may well take you up on this if I don’t find a second hand copy in the meantime.
Will bear in mind what you say about the crag Kemics mentioned.
My bf and I spent a month there sport climbing, year before last in October! It's ace!
Highly recommend the Roca Verde guide, there is also a new la hermida guide. The area is huge and the main guide covers the whole area. La hermida was my favorite place, loads of crags, near to the beach and there is also a hot spring! I can't remember what the grading was like but we did loads of low 7s and there were loads of great lines! Also Richie who wrote the guide will answer questions if you email him, he's super helpful!
Beautiful part of the world you'll have a great time!
The following guide books are readily available in the Picos, and whilst in Spanish, are fairly easy to follow and cover easyish routes:
Thanks - glad you enjoyed the blog
We used a few different campsites as we made our way around the Picos, but our two favourites were: Camping La Viorna near Potes http://campinglaviorna.com/en/
And Camping Picos d'Europa which is nearer the coast: http://www.picos-europa.com/
Have a great trip
> The Roca Verde guide is highly recommended, and the good news is that it's in English, written by Richie Patterson.
Excellent news! I'd just assumed it was Spanish for some reason.
Nice blog too
We stayed at Camping El Cares near Santa Maria de Valdeón. Really liked it. A short drive to the start of the Cares gorge.
Thank you for the camp site recommendations. They look good and I’ve heard Potes is a good base anyway.
In the (current) absence of a guide book, we are unsure about what length rope to take. Should 60m suffice for sport routes?
We started planning a trip there but never actually went. I bought a few books and maps from this guy, obviously never tested them but there's a wealth of knowledge contained within (primarily in Spanish). The book "PICOS DE EUROPA Ascensiones a las cumbres principales y travesías selectas" is essentially an encyclopedia of all the summits with grades and details of the main routes, seems better than the Cicerone (although apparently there's a new Cicerone on the way). I know it's not what you asked for but thought it might be of help to others thinking of travelling.
Perhaps more of use to the original poster is the database of routes:
The guide we used was the adrados esiciones cordillera cantabrica.
It's in Spanish but a very well put toetoget guide. My once you've worked out a few key words it's not too hard to follow and the topos are great.
We just climbed trad and I think it's well worth the extra weight. There's some amazing really long stuff out there.
It's going to be pretty hot in August!
Enjoy the trip
Nice! This looks awesome!
it is truly an amazing place to climb.....
vultures, clean rock, good food, excellent gites, we based ourselves out of Sotres
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