Asturias lays in the north of Spain, just before the coast of the Atlantic ocean. You might have heard of it’s ruggedness, and it’s soft hilly terrains, invisible brown bears and bisons that nobody knew existed. There’s Cider, Crema de Orujo, Fabada Asturiana, Carne Cobernada and Queso de Cabrales to indulge in while you’re there. One third of this region is protected and you will find about six Biosphere Reserves in the area. The truth is, the landscape is even more beautiful when you see it with your own two eyes.
And you call this unknown? Not quite.
Again and again, we asked people where’s the best place to go climbing while you’re in Asturias. Again and again, they mentioned Teverga or took out a thick edition of Desnivel magazine that lists all crags in Spain. Woahh!
Teverga is the largest climbing spot in the Asturias region and has a high density of routes lined up next to each other in Entrago. After a spending a few weeks in Cantabria, climbing in the Valles de los Picos de Europa, we moved on to Valle del Trubia, which lies about 100 km away from the coasts of Gijon.
Valle del Trubia
As we drove into the valley, we were greeted perpetually by signs of “Senda del Oso” left and right. Oso means “bear” in spanish which gave me an immediate impression that the bears where going to pound on you once you wind down your screen. It was not until later that I found out that this “Senda del Oso”was actually an old mining railroad turned into a 48.5 km bike trial that forks out and ends either in the Cueva Huerta or the Tuñón-Ricabo. The valleys were clustered with walls, caves, the roads windy. Heres a crag – wow! Theres a crag – wow! I couldn’t help but gaped wide open at what I was looking at. And then suddenly we were there:
Entrago. It was like a punch in the face! Hey wake up! It’s time to get some work done. Your rest days are over, lady. We stood before the main sector by the roadside and took in all the routes (and climbers) clustered next to each other. We were overwhelmed by the amount of climbers and walls, on a somewhat rainy day. It felt a bit like I was looking at a hyper dimensional open air climbing gym on a huge big piece of rock pierced with bolts.
We quickly checked into our quant little Casa Rural and got our bags ready to start climbing the next consequent days. Yeeehaa!
It had been raining hard the last few days. There were lots of black strips coming down on some of the main walls in Desfiladero. So we decided to go higher up, to a south sided crag where cuevas (caves) would have protected some of the routes. We got lucky in El Covachon. This sector lies just above the walls of Entecampos, some 15 mins away from the town Gradura. There was nothing below 7a. Every route looked short and pumpy – way too hard for me to start off on the first day after a few rainy rest days. So ladies gents first, please. The quick-draws were quickly hung in and my better half checked out all the moves. Eventually, he was ready for a go, while I was still huffing and puffing between the bolts. The crux was right after the third bolt. After a few tries, I started to like Espolon Marley, 7b+ and knew I have to come back again to pick it up someday. I cleaned off the route after his sending, as he looked on for the next project. “That was a nice warm up, now let’s do some serious business”, Me: roll-eyes.
Marabio – Alimoches derecha / El Rinconin
Thick black strips was still running down Entecampos making it look like Janosch the tiger. When we woke up, we saw nothing but dense fog before the window. We thought it might be a good idea to go higher up and decided on Marabio which was a few km away from Entrago. Through the fog, we drove the windy road 1000 m up and almost turned back when we reached the parking by the Ermita Sant Ana. Suddenly, I spotted a pinch of blue sky that got bigger and bigger. An awesome moment when it all cleared up to a magnificent view from the Ermita.
We ended up in the second last sector Alimoches derecha. By now the sun was shining brightly, as I watched how the vultures flew to a nearby summit to observe us. We took on one route that did not excite us and decided to move on to the next sector. 10 minutes later, we arrived at El Rinconin. My eyes popped.
A north facing wall! Shudder!
It had a different character, infested with chips and ledges, thoroughly structured with long, inviting looking routes. I added another layer of down on myself and decided to never take them off again. Hubby seemed to suddenly flourish, fully in his element. “You’ve got to try this” he shouted from the anchor. I waved him back with my thick skiing gloves, feeling a bit like frosty the snowman, below in the shadows of the trees. By now, the evening sun was shining on the wall and the icy cold wind looked for ways to reach my ear through the beanie.
Perejil 7b+, Jet set 7c and Sol y sombra 6c were must dos according to hubby. I knew I had to come back here again on another day. (Damn, when will I ever stop freezing and missing out all the fun?)
The consequent days were changeable, even though the weather forecast promised sunny weather and clear skies (at night). We spent a rainy afternoon in Peñas Juntas that was protected from rain after being rained upon at it’s neighbouring sector. Eventually we found ourselves dangling in El insoportable vanidad del ergo, 8c.
Motto of the day: “if you can ‘t climb a 6c, then do a 8c” We were alone, and perhaps that was a good thing. No need to feel embarrassed looking like a sack of potatos. I heard him mumbling something like “see it as training”. We had some fun and made th best out of the day. I was very amazed what strength lies in those biceps of a 60 plus. At the end of the day, the battery sign was blinking “exhausted” furiosly.
Our rest days were spent looking for other sectors around the areas. We felt quite comfortable in our little casa rural which had a wonderful view to the mountains and a sunny plateau to chill out on. The walls of Sobrevilla with the famous Muro Techó or El Vivac were worth the visit, but the access was so muddy and soft after the rainfall, we didn’t really wanted to go there again the next day with all the gear. I was hoping to get a chance to climb in Entecampos, but the weather was always so changeable and it didn’t look like there would be a spot to hide if a shower came.
Bovedas / la cueva
The walls in Desfiladero eventually started to dry up. The forecast reported showers in the afternoon before a strong low sets in again. We decided to give it a last shot at the sectors Bovedas which had an easier access from the main road. There was a small sector with a few fun warm up routes in the 6th grade, perfectly bolted and not always easy. I worked my way from left to right. My motivation was high that day. A quick flash in El desplomucu 6c at the rightest corner of the sector made me feel how easy everything came. The recommended Willis el pederro and Derecho de pernada, both a 7c, were wet at the crux and so we moved up and had a few gos on Forres que te corres 7a+ and Dragõn de Comorr 7b+ instead. They were a bit more polished than the others but outstanding and good, the latter, long.
It was an awesome day, awesome sector, awesome routes!
We woke up to the sound of pitter patter, pitter, patter the next morning. The weather forecast was finally right. The next big Low arrived and poured cats and dog. We knew now, that it needed a few days before the it dried up again. There were a few alternatives in the area to climb on but the choice of grades would be a lot less and the access to these sectors were not always easy with the rain. A shower or two does usually no harm. We packed up and decided that it would be a good time to start off our journey home.
We said our good byes to Miguel and Regina and their 10 kittens, and drove into France four hours non stop in the rain. When we reached Toulouse, it started to finally clear up. That was when we took a turn to Ariege in the Midi- Pyranees to spend the night. And got ourselves hooked up (again).
It took me a while to appreciate what I saw when I first arrived in Teverga (perhaps of the bad weather?) but eventually, we climbed on many awesome routes (in all levels) . I loved the scenery that came along with each area. The bolting was perfect, routes reached often a height of 38m if you combine 2 pitches in one.
The weather didn’t play well with us while we were there. And I am sure that there are better times in other weeks. Nevertheless, we managed to still climb quite a number of routes in some of its amazing sectors. Autumn was a lovely time to come. Fall colours complimented the landscape, wild chestnuts and walnuts were abundant and ripe, and it gets a little cooler which is perfect for the many sunny venues. At the same time, the statistics say that October is the wettest time of the year for Spain.
Don’t ask me why, but we often chose to look for the last sectors mentioned in both the guidebooks. Perhaps an access time of 20 mins was a little misleading for newcomers. It was more like a 30-40 mins walk!
Note if you ever happen to come across a herd of adorable looking sheep or cows lazily on the meadows, be a little cautious when approaching them. With every herd, there’s always a herding dog – usually a Kangal. And they won’t welcome you with a wagging tail. Their job is to keep any prey away. (Bears, wolves and colourful tourists) So just en route, respect and stay away from all these adorable looking animals.
It was a wonderful experience to be in Asturias and Cantabria. I wished for more time to be able to see the rest of the country or the coast. I wished I had been able to climb in Quiros too. It beats me why everyone seems to think that this region is unknown, because it isn’t. It’s much less frequented than the southern coastal areas, like Costa Blanca or Andalucia, but its not justified to say that its unknown. Perhaps the protected biosphere and nature reserves makes it less possible to build massive multiplex shopping centres or high rise hotels like how we know it to be in the south. Thank goodness! It’s more country than city. Yet , there’s enough bars, pubs and restaurants to chill off after a climbing day. You will see these typical Hórreos (little granary houses built on stilts) everywhere. You will discover wonderful picnic areas to enjoy the day and views. You can hike and bike, if climbing isn’t enough for you. Is Agritourism the better phrase? Perhaps. But if you miss a city, Oviedo or Leõn is just around the corner.
I would love to come back again someday to learn more about the existing > 250 wild brown bears and its other nature reserves, aside from exploring the many walls from the region. Give me the chance to fly back again, and I will jump.
70 m is compulsory, 80 m is better for some of the longer routes. 15-17 quick draws is good to take along.
9 big areas in Limestone. You will be climbing on ledges, some tufas, overhanging walls, slabs – practically everything. There’re sectors for both beginners and intermediate, for trad, for the techie classical climber and also for the cueva experts so it’s fine if you’re coming in mixed levels and tastes. Teverga has it all.
Published in 2014, this guidebook in english gives you a good idea of what to expect before coming in to Asturias and Cantabria. The book is also available in some of the bars in Teverga, Quiros and La Hermida. 190 selected sectors and 3000 routes. 35€ including postage for deliveries to the EU. ISBN: 9780992887407
J. Alberto Boza – Cordillera Cantabrica
230 sectors with 3300 routes to climb on. Paired with a digital App from Vertical Life, this book is written in both english and spanish. However, not all access are always translated so it would be good to have a bit of spanish knowledge. 32€ including App. ISBN: 9788461704415 Read the review here
It’s best to choose your accommodation around the area, even though it’s actually a 40 minute drive from Oviedo. If you’re not keen about moving around with a car, it’s best to find a place in Entrago and get to all the crags by foot from there. There are no existing private campsites in Teverga except for the parking lot before the access to sector Entecampos (see image). Here, wild camping is tolerated. There’s even toilets and COLD showers available on that lot. There are many guesthouses or little hotels to choose from, however many of them close after the season (we were there in October). Nights can get frosty in autumn, so you might want to really look for more comfort. Wild camping is possible, but remember that it’s only officially accepted in Teverga. We heard that the local police might quickly issue a ticket somewhere else. Oh and just a few km away, you will be entering the brown bear country. We’ve never seen them, but you might be lucky if you put the pot of honey outside your door.
Other listings in spanish
- Areas de servicio y parking (if you’re travelling with a Motorhome)
- Casa Rural
- Turismo Asturias