Pena Cigal and Picu Urrellu

          Finishing up our last few weeks in northern Spain. It has been a blur. Over the course of the past few months we have progressed from top rope climbing to sport leading, and finally culminating in multipitch trad routes. We started off with a few smaller objectives, including Pena Cigal, before taking on the highlight of the trip, Picu Urriellu. For Pena Cigal we split up into three rope teams (Alfredo and I, Dan/Jake, Logan/Dennis/Jono) to climb Amigos and Reencuentro. The last few pitches of Rencuentro ended up being the hardest of the entire route, mainly because every handhold felt like it was going to rip off. It ended up being a pretty ok day. Over the next few days the weather turned out to be great so we promptly loaded the van up and headed up to Fuente De and then hiked to the base of Picu Urriellu (aka Naranjo de Bulnes). To our surprise there was a refuge up there that sold food and most importantly beer. Our first day on Urriellu was focused on the east face climbing a classic line called Cepeda (with the Shulze link-up). Being a weekend there were many climbers around, which equated to lots of waiting. Thankfully the next day there weren’t many climbers around. Alfredo had a couple Basque clients to take up the south face (the easiest) so we tagged along behind and took an alternate route up. The first pitch was a nice 6a+ trad crack, which had Dan squealing like a little girl. After that I led a 65m pitch of relatively easy climbing but extremely run out. One more super relaxed pitch and we were on our way to the summit. The hardest part of the day was getting back to the refuge knowing that we still had a 3-hour hike back to the tram and Fuente De. With some effort we pushed hard back to catch the last tram of the evening with 5 minutes to spare. Now we have a few days of classes, gear maintenance, and paperwork before heading down the northern Patagonian ice cap.

Pena Cigal
Pena Cigal, Pared Central

Final rap on Pena Cigal


Refuge at Urriellu, they sell beer of course

The bivy

Jono looks like a lost tourist

East face Urriellu


The thinking man

Yes....I have wings now

Top of Urriellu