Climbing spots of Catalonia part 4
Text and photos by Mateusz Ha³adaj
Here's the last part of the larger article by Mateusz Ha³adaj about climbing spots of Catalonia. This part includes the areas of Calders, Garraf, Collegats, Montgrony and Rodellar.
Calders – for all the lovers of steep terrain
I was able to take a look at the sector only from the ground, as it was all wet after a long period of showers. Located in a little gorge in the middle of nowhere, the crag of Calders hangs over the climber in a severe angle. The routes are obviously powerful and rather short (up to 25m) mainly without tufas. Calders is one of these places where you can train before going somewhere else, seems like it is very popular among the climbers from Barcelona. All grades, interesting.
Garraf – the sea breeze
I got at this tiny crag I got quite accidentally and I have to admit that it was one of my best climbing days in Spain ever. The wall itself is not very impressive and the rock is covered with salt and dust. Standing on the top of a train tunnel it seems hard to get there but the overall impression is satisfactory enough to at least try! Climbing is varied and sustained and there are some interesting features to be found that remind me of those characteristic for the French Calanques. You can really chill out standing by the sea and being blown by the wind. From Garraf one can easily get to the center of Barcelona by means of a train that stops in the village every 30 minutes. Probably only for winter as it faces south, about 60 routes from 5 to 8a.
Sunny Garraf (photo: Mateusz Ha³adaj)
Collegats – hidden in a gorge
Collegats is definitely one of the tiniest areas in the Pirenees, but also one of the best for a short stay. In the narrow gorge there is a west facing La Pedrera, where You may find 30 beautiful pitches up to 8b+ and this wall is surely of the best quality in comparison to other sectors. Such routes as: Fleck, Mascaxapes, Rambutan, or Per tutti’l ano represent the best sort of movement on a solid rock. Everyone, even if climbing on the 7a level max, would be satisfied! The only aspect that is a bit problematic (especially for children) is the approach via steel rope tyroleyan (pulley or steel biner and gloves are recommended). In the afternoon you may climb in two more east facing sectors. La Terrasseta has a great technical 7c, 8a and 8a+, L’Argenteria seems to offer some good easy pitches too. A bit further there is also the Cine sector offering easy routes in conglomerate rock.
La Pedrera - the main wall at Collegats
(photo: Mateusz Ha³adaj)
The period suitable for visiting Collegats is very long thanks to its altitude. In the summertime there is some wind and shade, in the wintertime one may climb in the sun. The spot is easy to approach from Terradets, near the town of La Pobla de Segur. There, one can find several more cliffs (Barrancots and some newly developed spots that still remain secret spots).
L'argenteria at Collegats (photo: Mateusz Ha³adaj)
Montgrony – The old school spot
Located 1,5 hour drive north from Barcelona in the Pirenees, Montgrony is a good choice for warm days of spring and fall. The area offers about 100 routes of various lengths and angles, mainly on edges and pockets with some great tufas as well. In most cases, the climbs are shorter than 20 meters, which means they may be rather boulder. There are some amazing tufa climbs like Aromes de Montgrony 8a+ with two pipes running along the wall. Montgrony may be a great climbing spot as long as one chooses the right routes, since some of the lines might seem a little bit too old school – short and intense on small holds.
Rodellar – climbing paradise
Obviously, I know that this is not Catalonia anymore but I guess this area is worth including on that occasion. I wanted to emphasise the fact that within 1,5 hour drive from Terradets or Lleida there is another huge climbing spot really worth visiting, which taken as the whole provides you with an ocean of climbing. Rodellar is really recommended to those who haven’t visited it yet. The best season is certainly not the summertime (too hot) or winter (it usually rains a lot as it is already the area of the Pyrenees). Although it is true that every year many climbers decide to visit Rodellar in summer, from my point of view it is definitely too hot at that and the friction on most of thepopular routes is unsatisfying.
After Margalef, Rodellar is the most popular climbing destination in Spain and its position in the ranking seems really justified. The aesthetics of climbing, stunning landscape and overall ambience are unique. You may choose from about 500 routes, which is a lot more than most of us normally expect. Since Rodellar is a big area it would be perfect to elaborate more on it in a separate article and here, I’ll try to make only some highlights.
The Mascun gorge at Rodellar (photo: Mateusz Ha³adaj)
To begin with, it’s recommended to visit the are in spring or fall as it is overcrowded in the summertime and some problems in relation to this appear (lines, garbage, lack of parking space). Rodellar offers mainly difficulties from 7b+ to 8b and one who climbs at this level can taste the areas real potential of the area. It’s hard to find good routes below 7a, most of them are not worth sending.
Generally, Rodellar is a climbing paradise, especially for climbers preferring tufas and continuous routes. Most of the climbs lead through tufa systems so one would need to practice some before paying a visit to the area.. On the other hand, tufas get easily wet and it’s hard to find anything dry after a heavy rain. Then you may try Alquezar, as it has very few tufas.
Beside that, in the vicinity of Rodellar there are other attractive areas, such as Mallos de Riglos, Vadiello, or Bielsa but this is a topic for another extensive material.
I still haven’t visited all the areas of Catalonia but I hope I will be able to share some more information about St.Llorenc del Munt and Sadernes in the future.