Ordesa / Peña Montañesa / Picos d’Europa

Mid June and the first part of the working season is done. Roughly two months of logistics and cycling with guests along Dali’s heritage, with only a few days cragging and bouldering jammed in between tours and free afternoons. Body and mind were already missing multi-day vertical activity and the scents of mountain living. Luckily, excitement was seedling with a plan for the summer with a great partner. We left Costa Brava with a farewell to the then starting high temperatures and the upcoming busy touristic months but, with happy sights on its calm Mediterranean and quaint countryside charms to continue in September/October’s guiding.

First stop, Ordesa/Monte Perdido – A lot of expectations to climb the valley walls and meet with “Samu”el Ortega again. Years have passed since we last climbed together in the Alps and there we were to catch up, start strenghtening arms and legs, tune ourselves for the multitude of plans discussed over messages and now waiting ahead. Four days, three routes with their beautiful Ordesa approaches and top-outs. Volume to put things running. JENGA AÍ!

Second stop, Peña Montañesa – Another place I had been curious about. Four more days, two wall routes and some overhanging climbing at Bielsa. Really appreciated the rock and lines character on both the terrain d’aventure and the sport sector. Campsite with the van by the river. Samu leaves for home and the fireman’s action; we’re aiming for some more. Road to the West.

Third stop, Picos de Europa – Desfiladero de La Hermida and its sport sectors. Alternative summer environment, only warming whenever squeezing tufas for some steep sends and, late in the day, when jumping in the hot natural spring waters for relaxation. Rest days surfing and discovering the Cantabrian/Asturian coast, sampling green Spain’s best (Gamoneu smoked cheese) and some Celtic culture reminiscents (A.K.A. Cider). Vincent (Hélène’s brother) visiting, autonomy backpacks for a three day and one climb traverse in the heart of the range. The return of the Tortillero de Mocejón and off we go to Posada de Valdéon with two routes selected from the Txolos guidebook. One, a random spot, great piece of rock; two, more packing, this time for an outing at the more remote Peña Santa. All smooth with the preparation climbs – accomplished with fun and amidst great backdrops. Enthusiasm to get back to Picos for a fourth visit.

Last days of July. Slow, three days countercurrent driving (as most vehicles on the busy motorway was southbound) and recovering period along the Cantabrian sea, the Pyrennees; towards the Provence Alps for the French acclimatization.

Cala S'Alguer

Cala S’Alguer

Cala S'Alguer_Boulder

Costa Brava’s inlets, not to be underestimated.


Hélène just emerged from a chimney at Sadernes.

Novo tripulante_Zen

Zen, the new crew member in the house. Born by the river at Sant Aniol, La Garrotxa.

Walk_Faja de Pelay

Afternoon, arrival hike on Faja de Pelay.



Integral Franco-Espanhola_Tozal del Mallo_Ordesa

Tozal del Mallo, Integral Franco-Espanhola / ED-, 400m. ph. S. Ortega

Samu_Integral Franco-Espanhola_Tozal del Mallo_Ordesa

With over twenty routes done in Ordesa, this man was obviously – apart from this one – on for the collectors menu.

Cume_Integral Franco-Espanhola_Tozal del Mallo_Ordesa

Tozal del Mallo (2245m). Yeahh!

Calcicolous plants_Ordesa


Tozal del Mallo_Ordesa


Sitistrato_Libro Abierto_Ordesa

More “Jenga” style climbing on Sistitrato / ED-, 350m, Libro Abierto. ph. S. Ortega

Light effects_Ordesa

Top out rewards.


First light at Cotatuero’s waterfall.

Despiau Battaia_Libro Abierto_Ordesa

An almost all solid pitch eight on Voie Despiau-Battaïa / ED-, 355m, Libro Abierto.


We were pretty much running back to the valley – thinking of Tortilla de Patatas – when a foot got stuck on a forest root and his skull noisily hit a stone on the ground!

Approach_Peña Montañesa

Peña Montañesa NE face.

Cuca_Fantastischen_Peña Montañesa

Another verdonesque pitch on Fantastischen / ED+, 270m. ph. S. Ortega

Sin casa ni perro ni jardin_2_Peña Montañesa

Take from belay six on the excellent Sin casa, ni perro ni jardin / 7a+(7a obl.), 260m. Masterpiece of Christian Ravier, Martin Elias and Remi Labourie. Highly recommended.

Way back_Sin casa ni perro ni jardin_Peña Montañesa



Txemari and Samu reconnecting with civilization at Ainsa.

Rumenes_La Hermida.jpg

Change of subject:  Rumenes.

Hélène_La Hermida.jpg


La Hermida


Mar_La Hermida

Surprises from Porto and Lisboa. Friendly shared days with: Alexandre and Mar (photo), Inês, André, Rita, Mateus and Salvador.

Ria Asturiana_Summer swell

Hurricane force North Atlantic summer storm? Better check the charts and hit the coast. Fresh swell coming into the river mouth sediments with the morning high tide…

Directa de los Martinez_Uriiello

Family ascent via Directa de los Martinez / D+, 250m. Second climbing experience for Vincent; chapeu!


Picu Urriellu (2518m).

Cara Sur_Uriiello



The traverse Pandébano-Vega de Urriellu-Jou de los Cabrones-Bulnes-Pandébano continues.

Campsite_Jou de los Cabrones


Guia_Picos de Europa


P3_Big Bang_Tiro Pedabejo

The hardest section of the sustained Big Bang / 7c (7a obl.), 190m.

Tiro Pedabejo

Tiro Pedabejo.

Vega de Liordes

Vega de Liordes.

Casa_Sotto de Sajambre

Signs of the Civil war, Soto de Sajambre.

Vega Huerta_Peña Santa

Vega Huerta cabin, Peña Santa and Samu doing his best horizon look 🙂

P1_Reino de Léon_Peña Santa

1st rope length of the modern classic Reino de Léon / ED-, 600m.

P3_Reino de Léon_Peña Santa


P10_Reino de Léon_Peña Santa

Crux moves and sound rock higher up on the route.

Happy Cows

Happy meat or happy cows? Lets control our intake so that even if labelled, these kind animals can be at least as free range as most of us are.

Urban Food.jpg

Urban infos…Donostia street.

Vive la France_Nyons

Vive la France.

La falaise

Ohlala, La Falaise! Five climbing days on perfect rock; a lot of onsighting and a 2nd go send to the first belay point (45m) of that striking blue line (Infiniment Bleu). À tout de suite!

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1 comment

  1. Grande Rock Trip Cuca 🙂 abraço meu!

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