Etxauri is one of the classic crags in the entire Euskal Herria. The area was formed due to a massive fault line which shaped the Sierra de Sarbil mountains and in doing so created rock faces and peaks that have attracted climbers and mountaineers since the early ages. In fact, according to local legend climbing started in 1728: a cross and inscription on the summit of Kantero, the monolith whose summit can only be reached by rock climbing, proves that Etxauri really does have a long vertical history.
There are circa 800 routes in the area and the wide variety of rock faces ensures that there is climbing of all grades and styles, from easy grade III outings to extreme 9a's. In recent years the crag hit the international limelight when Patxi Usobiaga made the world's first 8c+ on-sight by climbing the Bizi euskara.
Etxauri lies 13 kilometers from Pamplona-Iruña, while the new sectors such as Kale borroka lie a further 5km west. From Pamplona leave the A15 at Arazuri and take the NA-7000 west to Etxauri.
Walls of excellent compact limestone, some sectors are dedicated exclusively to sport climbing, and there are also several multi-pitch routes. Most routes ascend vertical slabs or slightly overhanging face, and the climbing is mainly technical and crimpy, but there are routes of all styles including cracks and corners.
FOOD AND ACCOMODATION
Etxauri is the traditional climbers hangout, with a bar, pharmacy, swimming pool, butcher etc. The closest supermarket is at Ororbia or Pamplona.Wild camping is prohibited. A small refuge which sleeps 6 is located in the sector Pared del Refugio. The closest campgrounds are Camping Lizarra Kanpina (www.campinglizarra.com), Camping Mendigorria (www.campingelmolino.com) and Camping Ezkaba at Pamplona (www.campingezcaba.com).
There are numerous other smaller quality crags close to Etxauri worth visiting. The best of these are San Fausto, Estella, Errekagaitzeta, Peñartea and Lezaia, while the closest bouldering area is Larraona. All are located within an hour's drive from Etxauri. In case of bad weather the closest climbing wall is Rocopolis at Berrioplano, just north of Pamplona. www.rocopolis.com
Pamplona ha s a vibrant nightlife. Etxauri celebrates its local holiday during the first week of June, while Pamplona's Los Sanfermines from 7 -14 July needs no presentation. There are plenty of pleasant walks in the valleys around Etxauri.
A final note: in the past thieves operated in the Etxauri area and although in recent years this problem disappeared, it is nevertheless advisable to not leave any valuables in the car.
Euskalarria, Sport Climbing in the Basque Country by Martín Ramirez de Alda, Miguel Angel Mulas, Iñaki Marco and Ekaitz Maiz