I always thought that a summer in Spain is very dry, hot and inhabitable, and any sane climber wouldn’t go there during that period of time. Therefore, when first Vilija and Domas suggested to meet in Cantabria / Asturias (North West of Spain) for climbing, I was very sceptical.
During the 10-hour drive from Lleida to Teverga, or from East to West, the landscape was slowly changing from desert-like dry fields to greener and greener hills. “It’s too hot even without t-shirts” was soon replaced by “damn, where is my down jacket”.
For us it was the first time in Cantabria / Asturias. The regions often reminded Lithuanian forests (there are even ticks!). However, the main difference is massive climbable rock formations which obviously Lithuania is lacking.
Climbing-wise, you can find almost everything - from massively overhanging rocks with huge tufas to delicate technical faces. Probably the best climbing topos for the area are “Roca Verde” and “El Desfiladero de La Herminda”
The first part of our reunion trip with Vilija and Domas was spent in Taverga. Climbing there was sometimes too slabby even for the biggest slab lover Domas. However, the area has a huge advantage - the big wild camping spot with toilets and cold water (somewhat refreshing after two and a half months of living in the van). Also, as with any climbing spot in Spain, there were more dogs than climbers. Most of them did not qualify as “crag dogs” though.
After climbing a few 7a/+’s (Laura was an outlier of the group - she sent a couple of 7b+’s), and when the spot got way too crowded to our taste, we decided to move to another climbing area called La Hermida.
La Hermida felt claustrophobic due to small roads which quite often were packed with tourists’ cars. In the beginning the wild camping was problematic too, but luckily we found a good spot (for others, near Inferno on the other side of the river, just pass the stone bridge). Anyway, La Hermida is a real climbing paradise! During 1.5 week we visited the following top notch sectors:
- Inferno (overhanging and tufas).
- El Salmon (somewhat ugly look but with nice varying climbing).
- Rumenes (very long and big tufas!).
- Urdon (slightly overhanging and technical with nice white noise coming from the hydroelectric power plant).
- Cicera (long, difficult and crimpy; a replica of Ceuse).
The quality of routes was very good. Not polished, and even some required more traffic to make them less painful to climb. So, go and climb there!
By the end of the visit, after watching Fanatic Search trailer for the tenth time, the mood of the group turned into A Muerte: Laura was hangdogging on “Troncomovil” - a very long 8a, I managed to send a brutal but at the same time delicate 7b+ “Pacifis”, Domas was demonstrating his falling technique while once clipping a top anchor and once falling close to the ground, Vilija was dancing on very techincal 7a’s. Also, Domas went a mile further and for the first time was climbing without a t-shirt.
The trip was ended with many unsuccessful attempts to find a grill, singing songs and enjoying local cider.