The Cuélebre in the Naranjo de Bulnes (Picu Urriellu), although less famous and repeated than other routes in the West Face, can be considered as one of the classics of this wall. It consists of a sustained climbing with a first slabby section during which you'll need to pay attention to the itinerary until Tiros de la Torca, and a more alpine or adventurous second section.
It doesn't measure up to its neighbours in terms of quality (Rabadá-Navarro, Murciana, Gizon etc...) but it's a complete and varied route, more difficult than the topo would suggest at first glance and with a certain degree of adventures that makes it very interesting. It's advisable to feel confident in the 6a grade. The first three pitches have been restored, as re-bolting is getting completed, the frequency of repetitions is likely to increase.
Cuelebre in the Naranjo de Bulnes (Picu Urriellu). Route description:
- First pitch : it starts on the right side of the big yellow-orangish patch at the base of the wall, one piton, one bolt and a rock tunnel will guide us smoothly along the route. Belay station using one bolt and one spit.
- Second pitch : traverse towards the left until reaching a "minimalist" rock tunnel, then, climb up carefully looking for the easiest itinerary. Don't dismiss opportunities to place protection. We will also find some bolt. Grade a bit tight in our opinion. Belay station using two ring-bolts.
- Third, fourth and fifth pitches : beautiful and where you'll need to navigate to find the easiest way. Belay station using bolts and spits/burils.
- Sixth pitch : diagonal pitch looking for the easiest zones to reach Tiros de la Torca. Very good rock overall, three rock tunnels guide us along the route. Belay station using two spits.
- Continue walking by Tiros until skirting a small spur that can be climbed on the right side (III). Belay station using two spits. If we want to retreat from the route, we can rappel down the Sagitario (very dangerous in case of rain or stormy weather because of the large amount of loose rocks falling down the route).
- Seventh pitch : easy but poor dihedral. Belay station using two spits.
- Eighth pitch : it starts with a little bulge coming out on a dihedral made of big blocks and increasing in difficulty as we're going up. Belay station using three spits.
- Ninth pitch : probably one of the most beautiful of the Picos de Europa, difficulty-wise. A wall of exceptional rock holes and slightly overhanging. There are three burils and rock tunnels, but friends need to be placed. Tight grade in our opinion. Belay station using two spits.
- Tenth pitch : a very hard move at the beginning (7b+) that you can pass using a hook or a blue Alien (A1). Watch out! Before that there's a precarious buril not so easy to reach, and falling here will lead you directly to a ledge. Then you come to a vertical wall pretty well-equipped with burils and pitons, but distant from each other. The rock is a bit poor in some sections. Belay station using two spits in a grey slab on the right side (pitch of about 35 m).
- Eleventh pitch : we come out of the belay station by an easy slab with holes but not so easy to protect until a piton, and a few meters above a rock tunnel. From the rock tunnel, traverse easily towards the Leiva in which we continue climbing up about 35-40 m until the belay station using one buril and one spit. It's also possible to continue by the Cuélebre, but the itinerary is much less obvious (we don't know it).
- Twelfth pitch : we continue in the Leiva couloir (IV+) until the end, where we'll find the belay station using two pitons.
- We get back down using the rappels that have been set up in the South Face. Traditionally, people used to rappel down the Directa de los Martínez, but two parallel lines have recently been installed to avoid gatherings as well as disturbing people climbing the Directa de los Martínez (see descent description).
To sum up, the Cuélebre in the Naranjo de Bulnes (Picu Urriellu) doesn't offer the same level of excellence as its neighbours, still it's a nice little adventure that will certainly leave us with a good impression.