"This is a place in Spain where you can climb comfortably in the summer and still sometimes need your jacket"
So the last part of our trip is a kind of unplanned rehabilitation back into England and its weather. We have headed into Asturias the apparent hidden gem of Spain for climbing and travelling in general. This is a place in Spain where you can climb comfortably in the summer and still sometimes need your jacket. Which is pretty "cool" considering the temperature in the rest of Spain at this time of year. We are driving to a place called Teverga to meet up with some of our friends from Ireland Neal and Naomi who we met in Chulilla earlier in the year. This alone is exciting as we get to hang out and climb with them, they are both very inspiring climbers and people.
On the way to Teverga we stopped at a little bakery which we had seen on another of Rick Steins programmes. It's famous for its giant empanadas and bread. We were not disappointed. The bread was delicious and the empanada was bigger than Sarah's head. Perfect for the journey to Teverga. The journey certainly lived up to its name of green Spain with the landscape changing dramatically looking more like Yorkshire than Spain.
We arrived at Entrago's main carpark which has a small football field next to it. This small piece of flat land is surrounded by Tevergas amazing mountains. It's a beautiful place to camp. There is a small shower, toilet block and also a club house run by local mountaineers/climbers. They maintain and run this campsite from donations and membership of the mountain club. I'm really, really impressed by the set up here. They seem to have got it so right compared to other spots with free camping in Spain e.g Chuillia where the whole carpark smells pretty awful. Due to the facilities here the place is really clean and has a great atmosphere. The locals seem really involved and super friendly. The local climbing scene here is one of the best I have ever experienced. It's a shinning example of how if everyone works together you can create an amazing place that everyone can enjoy. A lot of credit has to go to the local bolters for making such a welcoming place. The car park has a real multi cultural feel to it with climbers from all over the world. We became really good friends with some of the other climbers staying here for a longer period. Some of the climbers from surrounding areas such as Galicia, Leon or other parts of Asturias come here every weekend during the summer. Would you believe it I even managed to get two pair of shoes resoled by a climber from Galicia. He was taking the shoes away then bringing them back the following weekend good as new! I mean where else in the world can you get that in a car park. Here is a link to his site www.rgrip.es look out for his silver van with the website sticker on the side. Also in the car park was a lovely couple, both climbers from Leon selling custom made climbing pants which were amazing this is their website http://www.leonerashop.com.
Nothing is more exciting than a shiny new guide book. The latest edition of Roca Verde 2nd edition is fantastic and can be bought all over in Entrago and the rest of the region. Conveniently we bought ours in a local hotel where we had nipped to for a coffee. The book is beautiful full of great info. It's nicely laid out and full of awesome climbing shots to get you feeling inspired. If you can't wait until you get there you can order the guide here. You can read a review of the guide book on UKC here. Also there's a great blog on UKC about the region here.These blogs have some really cool climbing shots on too. Something which we unfortunately struggled with as we were mainly climbing in a two.
The first day we headed to an area called Bóvedas. The climbing here in the lower grades is great quality but similar to the last few places we have been slaby, technical and delicate. The area is amazing and the setting is truly jaw dropping with some steep tufa climbing. If you climb in the 7's then you will be in heaven here as the style seems to change to be more tufas. We really liked this area so we decided we would return here once we were back fit again. Both just needing to build back up our strength and stamina after not climbing for a while. I was happy too as my finger felt better.
Now something I have to mention about the Valles De Trubia is the weather. It's mountainous and can change quickly and Asturian climbers have become pretty hardened to the rain. They just don't care about it anymore as most of the time at some point in the day you can get out and climb. We so far have had a few days of rain, the rain that gets you soaking without you even realising! However on both we still managed to climb. We have also had days of glorious sunshine. So I guess what I'm trying to say is, it can get a bit wet when you're camping and maybe you won't want that if you are coming from England where we live with it all the time. It is important to remember this is not the Costa Blanca or Cataluña. However I would say the climbing and all around beauty of the place is worth it just don't expect the the consistent sunshine like the rest of Spain. The temperatures here is good for climbing in Spain during the summer, although you will still need the shade. In four weeks in July we had about 3 days of rain so that's really not bad at all. So I suppose Asturias really offers an alternative Spain to venture into and I doubt you will regret it at all.
I haven't been to France but our friends say this area reminds them of it. We are kind of in love with it here. It's really perfectly located and probably one of the only places in Spain where you can be in the mountains and then surf only one hours drive away. We actually spent a few days at the beach escaping the mountains, having access to a hot shower, bed and washing machine! Thanks Naomi and Neal!
As usual there are the really popular crags close to the car park where climbers go everyday and us also but we like to try some of the other climbing areas as well. We went up to Planeta X which was a hike and a half the guide book says 20 minutes, it took us 50 minutes. However it is absolutely stunning up there high above Entrago feeling on top of the mountains. Now due a storm coming in we only did 1 route which was good and the rest of the area looked spectacular. We also headed to LaBoncandia a newly bolted crag with the promise of more tufa climbing and single pitch routes of nearly 40 meters. As the guide says the area does not see much traffic and so unfortunately it is still very dirty and dusty with occasional rock falls. The climbing though has so much potential put this crag close to the car park or back in Yorkshire and people would be flocking to it. Hopefully it gains the popularity it deserves. We had a real cool experience with a massive swarm of bees here something upset their nest and with a sound that's kind of indescribable the swarm came out of the limestone high up right where a climbers project rope was hanging. Cool to see but so glad we were not climbing near them. We climbed three routes here all great the 37 meter 7a was tough but glorious at the same time the kind of route that makes climbing addictive.
We climbed at Penas Negra also a very popular area with some classic climbing in the higher grades. Although don't be put off there are three routes on the left side in the 6's all really good. There is a fingery, slaby, scary 6c feeling like a right of passage for Teverga. It's often surrounded by climbers shouting Venga! Venga! As you teeter high above the bolts wondering why the hell you climb in the first place. We also returned to Bovedas (La Cueva) which is filled with great routes. Some steeper stuff in the more amenable grades 6B, 6C and 7A. This was my favourite crag. During the rainy days most climbers head up to Muro Techo. The walk in can be a little wet however most of the routes are protected by a massive roof 50 meters above. This crag is superb and comes highly recommended by me. The are some awesome 30+ meter 6b's on crack lines. Also some cool 6a's so a great crag if you operate in the lower grades. There's loads of harder stuff there as well. There has been a lot of recent bolting and tidying up at this crag so it may be worth checking that all the routes are equipped as I got to the top of one route and there was a really old anchor. However all the other routes I did there were really well equipped. All in all Teverga would be right at the top of my recommendation list for climbing in Spain. It has got it all wonder, beauty, tuffary, fingery, slaby, steep climbing and amazing people. We will be back that is written.