Aizkorri is a peak by itself, but also gives name to a whole massif placed between the basque provinces of Alava/Araba and Guipuzcoa/Gipuzkoa. It's a mytical mountain in this wonderful land of green landscapes, and local legends talk about a sorceress who lived in a cave placed in the north face. It's not a really hard climb, it might be classed as a middle one, though Aizkorri can get to be quite steep and its grassy slopes might get "funny" when wet. The climb is properly marked and the normal route offers a walk of about an hour and a half. As a whole (up and down), a trip by the normal route from Otzaurte should take normally trained mountaineers some two hours and a half, probably a little bit more.
Summit-baggers must know that Aizkorri offers a whole list of summits to be reached in its long ridge. The three highest ones are Aizkorri (1528 m), Aketegi (1549 m) and Aitxuri (1551 m, the highest spot in the province of Gipuzkoa), but there are many others around offering a wonderful ridge activity.
Sanctuary of Aranzazu
A couple of routes are the most logical ones: from Guipuzcoa (trailhead: Sanctuary of Aranzazu) or from Navarra (via Alsasua-Zegama and Otzaurte Pass). From Pamplona, you will have to take highway A-15 to Irurzun, and afterwards turn west towards Vitoria via highway N-240a. At Alsasua (that's 50 km away from Pamplona) take road N-I towards San Sebastián/Donostia. Turn left towards Zumárraga at Beasain -after the Col of Etxegarate- following road GI-623. After Zumárraga follow the signs to Legazpi and Oñate/Oñati (road GI-3511). After this beautiful basque village your car will take you up to the Sanctuary of Aranzazu
, in a final steep climb.
For the Otzaurte trailhead
approach might be a little trickier: the very same roads (N-240a and N-I) have to be taken up to a crossroads north (a short way) from Alsasua. It is signposted "Zegama". You have to take a short turn right, turn left on the very same n-I you were driving on (southwards this time) and take the next turn right (road GI-2637) towards Zegama. Can't remember the exact distance right now (will find out), but it shouldn't be longer than five or six kilometers before you get to the Otzaurte mountain pass. That's the spot where the road begins descent towards the valleys of Euskadi (Basque Country). There's a restaurant there. There's a dirt road climbing uphill leftwards (south) . At least it used to be a dirt road, but recent information from rbartolome states that it's been covered by concrete nowadays (March 2005). Anyway, after the end of this dirt road (never mind wether you go up by car or walking) it will be a matter of some fifteen minutes to get to the Hut of San Adrián.
An alternative route from Vitoria would be the one travelling via Arrasate-Mondragón. Take road N-240 from Vitoria towards Durango, leaving it after 14 km to join road A-627 (to your right - eastwards). This road changes its name after 5,1 km (getting to be called GI-627) as it enters the province of Gipuzkoa. Follow it for 27 km until you reach a crossroads before the village of San Prudentzio. Turn right there, following road GI-2630 to Oñati and join the climb to Arantzazu previously described.
Pamplona - Aranzazu 102,6 km
Vitoria - Aranzazu 111km (via Alsasua-Zumárraga) 59,1 km (Via Arrasate)
San Sebastian - Aranzazu 87 km
Pamplona - Otzaurte 60,7 km
Vitoria - Otzaurte 57,1 km
San Sebastian - Otzaurte 61,6 km
The station most likely to be useful for the Otzaurte trailhead shall be the one at the railway junction of Alsasua/Altsasu. There is a smaller one at Zegama but fewer trains stop there. Both stations, nevertheless, are placed on the main track between Hendaye-Irún and Madrid.
Pamplona/Noain (124,5 km to Arantzazu / 73,1 km to Otzaurte)
San Sebastian/Hondarribia (119 km to Arantzazu / 83 km to Otzaurte)
No need for permits, nor climbing fees. Seasonal closures are only those required by the weather, but you will find no authority to forbid a climb. Of course, as usual in any mountain trip, basic (and logical!) routes for wildlife conservation are to be observed.
When To Climb
No seasonal changes. Note that Aizkorri is really close to the sea. Fog might appear quite suddenly and heavy rains are to be expected in autumn and winter. Snowfalls are not that usual, but might occasionally turn to be quite spectacular.
Weekends (specially sundays) can make the normal route from Otzaurte a little bit too crowded for some tastes...
Camping sites / Mountain huts
San Adrián Hut
Up to this moment I have no data on the possibility to camp on the slopes of Aizkorri. The original submitter of this page, nevertheless, stated that in his opinion it was not allowed. Nevertheless, there's a camping site 10km away from Alsasua (at the nearby Sierra de Urbasa): Camping Bioitza. Another one is placed at Etxarri-Aranatz, about eight km east of Alsasua. Check link section for an easy access to spanish language info on-line.
There is a mountain hut (San Adrián Hut) placed at an altitude of 900 meters above sea level, south of the massif. There is also a small hut just by the summit and a small church dedicated to Christ the King ("Cristo Rey"). Another church (the Holy Christ) is placed west of the peaks, at the Campas de Urbía, and there's a small mountain restaurant (often closed out of season!!)quite close to it.
Miscellaneous InfoZEGAMA-AIZKORRI MARATHON
A yearly mountain race is held from the village of Zegama to the summit of Aizkorri and back. It's about 45 km long and poses kind of a challenge for mountain-marathon lovers. Full details can be seen in the web page of the race (see links section)
map and book
- Oñate Town council
Tourist and lodging info on the area of Oñate/Oñati (close to the Aranzazu trailhead)
- Web page of the Zegama Town Council
Tourist info about Zegama, the village in Euskadi closest to the Otzaurte trailhead. Only spanish and basque version, sorry...
- Web page of the Alsasua town council
Tourist info about Alsasua, the village in Navarra closest to the Otzaurte trailhead. Only spanish and basque version, sorry...
- Camping Bioitza
Spanish language info on the Bioitza camping site. Includes phone and fax number
- Camping Etxarri
Spanish language info on the Etxarri camping site. Includes phone and fax number
- Zegama-Aizkorri Marathon
English version of the race organizers' web page. Only for the brave to attempt this ;-)