Climbing spots of Catalonia part 2
Text and photos by Mateusz Ha³adaj
Here's the second part of the larger article by Mateusz Ha³adaj about climbing spots of Catalonia. This part includes the areas of Terradets, Tres Ponts, Oliana and Santa Linya.
Terradets – the wall of pipes
Many climbers have already visited Terradets and I can confirm an opinion that it’s one of the best destinations for climbers who love tufas, or for those who would like to become more familiar with them. It’s a must, especially when you already climb 7a. Most of the routes of the main cliff called Les Bruixes lead through systems of pipe-like tufas and blobs. You may climb both in the sun and in the shade, that’s why the period when you can visit the spot is quite extended (probably summer is the worst choice).
Les Bruixes, Terradets (photo: Mateusz Haladaj)
As far as the grade is concerned, the area of Terradets is commonly regarded as soft, still the routes require a good endurance preparation and tufa technique. Otherwise it doesn’t seem soft at all and you may fall on the very top slabby parts. In my opinion, most of the routes are of a great quality, even the warm ups more to the left handside. Les Bruixes is simply great, as long as you don’t mind the power station and the dam. It often happens that during the weekends most of easier router are crowded so be patient.
The north face, Regina, is situated higher and it’s suitable for summer. The sort of climbing is slightly different to the one at Bruixes – the crag is not slippery and tufas are bigger. It’s recommended for climbers who climb at least 7c. Most of the climbs are sustained, on tufas of a good quality.
Tres Ponts – the marathon wall
The sector is quite small, offering about 50 routes, located by the river and north facing, suitable for warm days and generally very windy. It’s a great option for a few days stay, especially for those who climb more than 7a and prefer long, sustained routes, or for those aiming at some endurance training. The best lines are to be found in the steepest middle part. They are very long (single pitch up to 50m) and offer mainly good holds as well some athletic moves. The crag is suitable for spring and fall, the routes hardly get wet as there are few tufas, and dry up quickly thanks to some strong winds.
Marathon wall, Tres Ponts (photo: Mateusz Ha³adaj)
Oliana – a true pearl of Catalonia
Unfortunetely, I could watch Oliana only from the ground but what I can truly say is that it makes a great impression. Not only because of its scale (routes up to 50m long), but also because of vivid blue-grey stripes forming tufas along the cliff. Oliana is certainly one of the best crags in Catalonia, and the one for extreme climbers (the easiest routes are around 7a+, and there is only few routes up to 8a). From there, you can easily travel to some neighboring areas. such as Perles, Tres ponts and Cubells. A few minutes drive south there is Coll de Nargo, one of the brand new world class spots that was discovered for climbers in 2011 and the bolting process is still in progress.
Contrafor de Rumbau, Oliana (photo: Mateusz Ha³adaj)
Santa Linya - overhanging paradise
Santa Linya is known from its massive cave full of hard routes and tough grades. For those looking for climbing goals harder than 8b in a severe overhangs, this place can hardly be compared with anything else in the world. Apart from the Cova Gran with lots of hard lines, around there is plenty of sectors for random climbers. The Cave offers about 50 routes and some more combinations starting from 7b (the warm up routes are a little bit polished but still very attractive) but if you really want to taste its character of climbing, it’s recommended to climb at least 8b. The climbing is generally powerful but most of the routes are tricky. The style is rather complicated and the grades are considered tough. This may be one of the reasons the Cave is never full. In fact, the sector offers outstanding routes of a varied style, some of which continue for 50 meters in the ceiling, therefore a good shape is definitely recommended. The best period to pay a visit at Santa Linya seems to be winter, still it all depends on actual showers. Very good conditions are also possible in spring or fall.
The neighborhood of Santa Linya
(photo: Mateusz Ha³adaj)
There is another excellent crag only 40 minutes away from Santa Linya – Terradets. For the climbers who also search for less demanding climbs I recommend the sector called Futbolin (with circa 40 good routes on the wall) which is only 15 minutes walk from the cave. In the neighborhood you can find other nice crags out of which the best is Tartareu with some interesting limestone relief (just try to avoid artificial routes). Besides, Os de Balaguer and Ager are worth a visit if your climbing goals can be described as grey and vertical.
While staying in the area you can climb in several other good areas within 1 hour drive.