San Donato's range with its characteristic form of perched syncline is one of the most important peaks of Navarre because it's very visible from very diverse points of its geography and the neighboring province of Pais Vasco. For all its faces it presents a hard slope over the valleys of Sakana, Ergoiena and Arakil. All the range is located in the Sierra de Andia and with the nearby Sierra de Urbasa constitute the natural park of Urbasa-Andia, one of the most interesting enviroments of Navarre.
Placed to the west of Pamplona, the capital and more important city of the province of Navarre, for its nearness is one of the most visited mountains. Due to its length there are many routes of ascent to the summits of the range of diverse difficulty for all kinds of mountaineers, from the hard slopes without degree of technical difficulty as Unanua up to the rock-climbing of the Morro-Iyurbain. In winter it is necessary experience in snow and unfortunately the most of the years some victim fall in this mountain.
The nameThe name of the range comes from the former hermitage of San Donato and San Cayetano that is in Beriain's summit.
The small church in the summit of San Donato is the highest one in Navarra (restaurated 2005).
The 3 principal summits: Beriain (or San Donato, 1494m), Iyurbain (or Morro de San Donato, 1420m), and Leziza (1360m).
The range of San Donato (Sierra de san Donato) is a part of the range of Andia (Sierra de Andia) and it's completed with the range of Satrustegui (Sierra de Satrustegui) with a long ridge that includes the summits of Amorro (1345m), Idoitxiki (1272m), Satrustegui Central (1207m), Satrustegi (1184m), Txurregui (1125m) and Gaztelu (1002m).
The last spurs of range of Andia in direction to Urbasa's range: Trinidad de Iturgoyen (1221m), and Mugaga (1221m).
Some routes (slope):
Long but easiest: Lizarraga (414m). You need generally another car in some of the others trailheads.
Routes in order of difficulty: Ollo-Ilzarbe across Sierra de Satrústegui (900m), Goñi (950m), Unanua (normal, 854m), Huarte-Arakil (815m), Yabar (830m), ...and more.
Getting ThereTo approach to Pamplona (main city of Navarra):
-By air: to airport of Noain-Pamplona from Madrid or Barcelona.
-By train: see renfe.
-By car or bus: from Madrid (N-I, Burgos-Vitoria-Pamplona,407km), Barcelona (Lleida-Zaragoza-Pamplona,437km), Zaragoza (N-232+N-240 or A62+A15, 175km).
Red TapeNo permits required. It's located in Natural Park of Urbasa and Andia but not fees are necessary.
Important: the normal routes are generally not complicated but in the last years the mountain had some deadly accidents. You must be carefull with leave the normal paths (the falls are very impressives) specailly in winter.
June 26, 2005, sunday: 2 new deaths in the mountain, Borja and Ruben R.I.P. (link in spanish to new)
When To ClimbMay-October.
In winter it's a great experience for the magnificent views but it's a little dangerous, specially the summits of Iyurbain and Leziza. It's necessary the use of crampons and ice-axe and to have precaution with the avalanches if it has snowed recently since the slopes are important (2 victims in 2003 in route from Uharte-Arakil and 1 in the Morro).
CampingPamplona, with a lot of hotels, restaurants,... no problem except 6 to 14 july, when the popular and international fiestas of sanfermines are celebrated.
Diario de Navarra-El Tiempo
- Magazine El Correo
route normal for Beriain in spanish.
normal route in french with photos.
- Euskal Mendiak
Berian-San Donato in euskera.
Fantastic spanish web page with more than 500 routes of mountains of Navarra. Write "San Donato" in the search-route for information and pictures of this mount.
- Map of IGN of Urbasa-Andia
1:35000, 1998 (spanish)
- Book "Montes de Navarra #2"
Description of the route for 200 mountains of Navarra including San Donato (spanish)
- Iratxo-Tres ermitas, page about society of Irurtzun and his popular challenge of Tres Ermitas