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.