The massif of the Gorbea is the one that completes the great trilogy of important Basque mountains together with Anboto (north) and Aizkorri (east). Though the top of the mount Gorbea (1481 meters) is the most visited place it is necessary to remember that indeed it forms a part of a great nature reserve of 20000 hectares between the provinces of Alava and Vizcaya. As other Basque mountains it is very humanized and the legends are frequents from times of our forbears. Though the pastoral culture and the charcoal-burners who inhabited this zone are disappearing replaced with the industrialization still we can enjoy the beauty of this important natural zone. The mountaineers who love enjoy the nature will find remuneration in these easy mountains, but those that look for big alpine challenges will not find them here. The normal routes of Gorbea are generally easy walk-ups and probably of the big basque mountains it's the most attainable to any type of person but not for it, it must be despised.
Nowadays the shortest and easiest itinerary to reach Gorbea's top, from the construction of the track, it's Pagomakurre, but others routes are also interesting for mountaineers as the classic route from Barazar-Saldropo, the dams of Murua, and the House of the park (Sarria).
Gorbea is located between the basque provinces of Alava / Araba and Vizcaya / Bizkaia, because it the normal approach is from the capital of the provinces: Bilbao (Vizcaya), Vitoria (Alava) and Donosti / San Sebastian (Guipuzcoa). It's possible to climb it from a lot of places and villages but the most popular are:
Barazar (East route) Bilbao
N-634 to Galdakao. N-240 to Barazar. Vitoria
N-240 (north) to Villarreal and Barazar. Donosti
A-8 /E-70 to Durango, Zortnoza (Amorebieta) and Galdakao. N-240 to Areatza and Barazar.
Pagomakurre (N.E. route)
From Barazar to Areatza take N-240 (14km). From Areatza take the forest track (9km) to the area of Pagomakurre.
Murua (South route)
In the road N-240 from Vitoria to Bilbao take the direction to Murua before the Puerto de Barazar.
Some companys of Bus to natural park:
-Bizkaibus (Bilbao, Tel: 94-4208132)
-La Unión (Vitoria, Bilbao, Tel: 945-258400)
No permits required. No fees. It's in a natural park with rules of wildlife conservation. Not camping allowed.
When To Climb
All the year. Some routes can be a little problematic in winter after a snowfall but the normal routes are generally possibles to climb.
The best season is may-october.
It's a natural park, the camping is not allowed in the area.
Free Hut on the mountain but the best option it's the lodge in some "albergues" or "casas rurales". The villages and the roads are very near of this mountain (you can sleep as well in hotels in Artea, Areatza, Murgia,...and in Vitoria, the capital city of Alava that's only at 20 km from there)