We use cookies to track usage and preferences. See Cookie Policy
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
US
Pocketmags Digital Magazines

Naranjo de Bulnes
Rock and Ice

Naranjo de Bulnes

Posted Friday, May 1, 2015   |   1418 views   |   Sport   |   Comments (0) Naranjo de Bulnes is the most famous mountain in Spain, and Orbayu, its burliest route, is one of the hardest free walls in the world.

The Picos de Europa in Northern Spain are a striking collection of three limestone massifs carved by glaciers into sheer walls up to 1,700 feet tall, with summits at altitudes above 8,000 feet. It’s said that “the Picos,” which lie just 12 miles from the sea, were the first glimpse of Europe for sailors returning from the New World. These days the Picos are a refuge for wildlife, including a large population of Cantabrian brown bears (8,000 sightings in 2006), wolves and climbers.

The most famous formation is Naranjo de Bulnes, a 1,600-foot plug of limestone that people have been scaling since 1904, when Pedro Pidal and Bernaldo de Quiros, the marquis of Villaviciosa de Asturias, guided by the shepherd Gregorio Perez, climbed the north face to establish the Via Pidal, a 1,500-foot moderate. The very steep west face didn’t get climbed until 1962.

The west face has a distinctive orange patina that gives Naranjo (Spanish for orange) its name. It’s also the site of one of the world’s most famous routes, Orbayu, freed in 2009 by the Basque brothers Iker and Eneko Pou. With five of its 13 pitches graded 5.13b or harder—the brothers rated the fifth pitch 5.14c/d—and 30-foot runouts above wooden pitons, copperheads, TCUs and nuts, Orbayu was touted as possibly the hardest free wall in the world.

In 2011, Nico Favresse (Belgium) and Adam Pustelnik (Poland) teamed up to attempt the line. Favresse, a seasoned wall climber with first ascents in Yosemite, Patagonia and Greenland, found the climbing to be manageable and he redpointed Orbayu in just three days, linking the fifth and sixth pitches into one 60-meter monster that eliminated a hanging belay. Pustelnik sent the route the next day, and the two agreed that the overall grade was probably more like 5.14a/b.

This past summer the Swiss climbers Cedric Lachat and Nina Caprez started working on the iconic line. After battling typically cold and foggy conditions, Lachat succeeded on a single-push redpoint of the route in July, after three weeks of effort. Caprez managed to free every pitch, but she hasn’t yet done the line in a push.

For more great articles like this get the Free Preview Issue issue of Rock and Ice below or subscribe and save.

Single Issue - November 2017, #246 Replica Edition included
$5.99
Or 599 points
Annual Digital Subscription
Only $ 3.75 per issue
SAVE
37%
$29.99
Or 2999 points
6 Month Digital Subscription
Only $ 3.75 per issue
SAVE
37%
$14.99
Or 1499 points

View Issues

About Rock and Ice

Rock and Ice is the world's premier climbing magazine, with stunning photography and award winning writing and design. Built by climbers, Rock and Ice features every aspect of climbing, from mountaineering to rock climbing, to bouldering, big walls, sport, ice and indoors.

More great content like this...

For more great articles like this subscribe to Rock and Ice today.

Most read articles this month


How do digital magazines work?

How do digital magazines work?

Digital magazines can seem like an alien experience for devoted magazine fans. Where will you be without that new glossy magazine smell? The sound of the page turning? A quiet half hour to just devour the latest news and views on your favourite hobby? More...
STAFF PICK: Blocks Magazine

STAFF PICK: Blocks Magazine

Adam Osborn reviews Blocks Magazine More...
 3 Vegan Nice Creams from Vegan Food & Living

3 Vegan Nice Creams from Vegan Food & Living

The shades are out, the sunscreen is on and all you need to complete your summer chill is the best ice cream! More...
7 Ways to Stick to Your Workout with Your Fitness

7 Ways to Stick to Your Workout with Your Fitness

Whether it’s a busy schedule, life commitments or simply a lack of motivation, it can be tough to stay on track with your exercise regime. Your Fitness magazine asked Jim and Fiona Crossley, the founders of F45 Kingston (f45kingston.co.uk), for their tips on how to keep up with your training and achieve your fitness goals. More...
Carping4Heroes weekend raises £10k

Carping4Heroes weekend raises £10k

More than £10,000 was raised for Help for Heroes during the Carping4Heroes weekend, held for the first time at Cudmore Fisheries, Staffordshire. More...
STAFF PICK: Look magazine

STAFF PICK: Look magazine

Kate Ashley reviews Look magazine More...
STAFF PICK: F1 Racing magazine

STAFF PICK: F1 Racing magazine

Steven Mikellides reviews F1 Racing More...
Christmas Gifts for Her

Christmas Gifts for Her

Stuck for gift ideas for the lovely lady in your life? The Pocketmags team have pooled all their best ideas for gifts for her this Christmas. Get ready to earn some serious brownie points! More...
Nadiya Hussain's Tiramisu Cake

Nadiya Hussain's Tiramisu Cake

Nadiya tells Great British Food magazine: “The smell of strong coffee makes my stomach turn, but strangely enough I can just about bear the pain if I know it’s about to be mixed into cake, or tiramisu. Or – best of all – tiramisu cake!” More...
Failsafe  fingering

Failsafe fingering

In answer to a reader’s question, Graham Fitch addresses the complex subject of how to find fingering that works for you More...
Vouchers Gift Cards A magazine subscription is the perfect gift but you'll need something to show on the big day. View All
Ways to Pay Pocketmags Payment Types
At Pocketmags you get Secure Billing Great Offers HTML Reader Gifting options Loyalty Points