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Climbing Anboto from the Urkiola Sanctuary

Mountaineering in the Euskadi is more than just a tradition, for Basque mountaineers it could be said to be a way of life. There are several mythical Basque Mountains that a good mountaineer, Basque or not, longs to crown at some point in his life. In the Urkiola Natural Park, one of these mountains awaits us, surely one of the most mythical of all those we can climb in the Basque Country, the Anboto. There are several routes that take us to its summit, some of them of considerable importance, although on this occasion we would like to talk about the ascent of Anboto from Urkiola by the classic route. It is a route that is not exempt from some fairly significant steps where the emptiness and the worn-out rocks require skill and caution in almost equal parts.​

How to get to the start of the route to climb Anboto from Urkiola

The Urkiola Sanctuary, the starting point, among others, of this route up to Anboto, is located on the road between Vitoria-Gasteiz and Durango, passing through Otxandio. Once at the sanctuary, there are several parking areas from where you can start the route.

Itinerary of the ascent to Anboto from Urkiola

From the Urkiola Sanctuary to Urkiolaguirre 1.7 Km

If we are lucky enough to be able to park our vehicle in the upper car park, which we will find after passing next to the sanctuary, just before reaching the barrier that prevents vehicles from passing along the track that leads to Anboto, we will save not only the distance but also the difference in height that separates us from the unofficial start of the route. After leaving the Urkiola Sanctuary behind, you will come across a sign at the fork that indicates the different routes that pass through here. We have two possibilities: we can continue ascending along the main track, crossing the barrier that prevents vehicles from passing, or we can take a detour to our left that will take us to the same point but passing through the summit of Urkiolaguirre.

In our case, we chose this option, leaving the track for the return route, a slightly longer route but which will save us from having to climb this mountain in the Urkiola Natural Park again.

We will quickly come across a fence that we will cross to start ascending through a green meadow surrounded by trees. Little by little the trees gradually give way, allowing us to enjoy the magnificent scenery that will accompany us on this route. The route ascends taking us without any changes in direction, making us leave a path covered by the green grass that borders the peak that we are about to crown. It is not without effort that we reach the wide summit of Urkiolaguirre (0h 50min), where a table awaits us, among the typical letterboxes and milestones, allowing us to discover the mountains that surround us.

From Urkiolaguirre to Anboto 3.2 Km

After the corresponding stop to enjoy the scenery and regain strength, we start the descent on the opposite slope to the one we climbed to Urkiolaguirre. In this part of the route the difference in height is more evident, fortunately we have to go downhill. A little further on, we come across the path that we left to one side on the way up, which could be a good alternative if we intend to return along the same route. After a quick descent following the marked course of the itinerary that follows this old road, we arrive at the Asuntze fields, but not before crossing another fence thanks to the easy steps that have been set up there. Here we meet up again with the track that comes from the Urkiola Sanctuary, a track that we will follow and that will help us to regain part of the altitude we have lost. In the fields of Asuntze we have the possibility of approaching the ferruginous Pol Pol fountain, whose waters have a marked taste of iron. From the spring there is a path that runs parallel to the track we are about to follow, joining it further up. In our case, we leave the visit to Pol Pol for the way back and we start to climb the slope that the path presents us with. A path that takes us past the paths that lead to the hermitage of Saint Barbara and the one that descends towards Atxarte.

This part of the route climbs up to a new fork, where we leave the path we were taking and continue towards Otxandio, to go up the stretch that separates us from the Pagozelai col. It is here that the real ascent to Anboto begins.

We leave the path by which we arrived, which continues towards the Zabalundi col, to enter the beech forest where the path that ascends towards Anboto runs, following the signpost that indicates it to us. All this part of the ascent is a real chaotic labyrinth of stones and paths. Fortunately, the occasional red marker and a solitary stone milestone allow us to keep our bearings. Marks and signs that we have to be very attentive to so as not to get into more difficulties than necessary. After a good while of searching for the best route that will allow us to overcome each obstacle that the route puts in front of us, we leave the beech forest. The Anboto rises up in front of us and just before the last stretch, the Agindi col awaits us. Here we can recharge our batteries and enjoy the spectacular scenery that surrounds us while we study the final stretch of the ascent to Anboto. This is a somewhat aerial section that is dangerous on wet rock, ice or snow, and with the rock in perfect condition requires caution and experience in this type of terrain. Those who dare to climb this area almost without noticing will find themselves at the summit of Anboto (2h 35min), enjoying the reward for their effort. After a well-deserved rest, we will return to the Urkiola Sanctuary (3h 45min), where this route will come to an end.

Tips for do the ascent route to Anboto from Urkiola

1-Reaching the col of Agindi is already an adventure that is rewarded by the magnificent scenery that surrounds it. Don't risk more than necessary, the difficulty of the final stretch to Anboto is not so much in the ascent as in the descent.

2-On this final stretch, as well as on some of the steps on the ascent to the Agindi col, especially if you were confused by the route, you may have to use your hands to help you progress more safely.

3-The humidity considerably increases the possibility of slipping and the risk of falling, not only in the final stretch but also in the beech forest area.

4-The fog on the Anboto, as well as warning us of the presence of the goddess Mari, may cause us more difficulties than expected, so be foresighted and keep an eye on the weather.

Waypoints of the route
1-Urkiola Sanctuary 0:00h 740m 0Km 30T 529140 4771967
2-Urkiolaguirre 0:50h 1008m 1,7Km 30T 530392 4771105
3-Anboto 2:35h 1331m 4,9Km 30T 532840 4770665

Coordinates UTM Datúm WGS84

Profile of the route ascent to Anboto from Urkiola

Profile of the route ascent to Anboto from Urkiola

ico-distancia-totalDistance: 10,2Km

ico-tiempo-totalTime: 3:45h

ico-dificultadDifficulty: Remarkable

ico-desnivel-acumuladoSlope: 1500m

ico-desnivel-positivoSlope +750m

ico-desnivel-negativoSlope -750m

ico-altitud-maximaMaximum altitude: 1331m

ico-altitud-minimaMinimum altitude: 740m

Cartography and maps

Map of the route ascent to Anboto from Urkiola

This sketch of the route is not made to scale nor does it contain all the information relating to the area, it is merely indicative.

Topographical map of the route ascent to Anboto from Urkiola

ico IGN

This schematic with the path is approximate and has been created from the derived cartographic base © Instituto Geográfico Nacional "Cuadrante 87-2 y 87-4 1:25.000".

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Listado de experiencias
Marta Castro
Created the 24-10-2023

Una cima muy especial!!

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On the east face of Anboto, the most abrupt of them all, is the Cave of the Lady of Anboto. According to legend, this cave is the home chosen by the goddess Mari when she visits this Basque mountain.

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Route information updated on 14-06-2021. The route may vary greatly depending on the time of year, weather conditions and terrain, as well as the actions of third parties and the evolution suffered in the natural environment where it is located. All opinions, advice and/or assessments made by SENDITUR in their descriptions are for guidance only and are subject to and/or refer to the specific conditions of the specific day of the route, referring to that specific day, taken from trained people, with the appropriate experience and with a high level of physical and technical preparation as a reference, as well as correctly equipped.

All the times are approximate and take an orientative character, the stops have not been taken into account, no matter how small they are. All the information related to the route, texts, images, videos, maps, diagrams, tracks, towns, and places of tourist interest are published as a guide, and may not coincide with the current state of each place. Before undertaking any activity, assess your technical knowledge, your physical condition, find out about the weather and the variations that the route may undergo, equip yourself correctly, be prudent and responsible at all times, and do not exceed your capabilities. SENDITUR is not responsible for any misuse or inappropriate use of the comprehensive guides of its routes and/or publications as well as its electronic guides, nor for any variations in their descriptions for the aforementioned reasons, and recommends that everyone be responsible and prudent in carrying out the activity. We also encourage you to read books and specialised guides to complement the information described above.

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