Monday, June 29, 2009

Fish climbing

I used to post these, mountain for a dream (before, when i used to have high-flying dreams). What about a route for a dream? The fish.


(the one in blue in the center, 33 pitches, as long as the Nose)

Sunday, June 28, 2009


This w-end we spent in Collegats, another climbing area from the countless list of the climbing options available in Cataluna. Collegats is probably better known for its barrancos (canyons) - some info on the area and camping here. One of the strange places there could probably have been the inspiration to Gaudi's Nativity portal of the Sagrada Familia - it is called Argenteria Waterfall, maybe because of how it looks during winter, and it does look very strange indeed (not my picture):

We, however, as usual, were there for the climbing, and climb we did - two very good, although very different routes. The first one, Sang de Crack (topo here, although pretty sandbagged i would say...), was a semi-equipped wonder, with a first pitch that got my head and spirits down, and the continuation very enjoyable for each single pitch, even the last, one-move 5 wonder at the top, where I managed to use 3 cams to protect one move...Below is myself with full rack, the wall to be climbed is behind:

The cecond route was Passatge de l'Impossible, on the lower wall (center right wall way low near the river in the overview picture above, taken from the top of the Sang de Crack), very stunning location. The approach to the wall itself requires a tyrolian traverse over the river(set up by the canyon guides for their clients I suppose) - Cathy showing me how it's done below:

The tyrolian starts the adrenaline rush, and the climb continues in the same spirit. We first got off route with the first pitch, supposedly five. After aiding on each single bolt, tying off a tree and getting to a roof, I finally came to the pragmatic conlusion it could not in any world, even the catalan one, be a five, and successfully bailed. After starting the right pitch we enjoyed ourselves very much, and became the added attraction for the crowds swimming out of the Inferno canyon. The route surprised us by the difficulty, the pitches are definitely a big sandbag at 6a. The sun also got to us as our timing, as usual, was off the wall (double the guidebook's estimate). But we did summit, rapped, and finally bathed in the river :). Good w-end, off to train for more!

Here is Cathy leading off the aid pitch (supposedly 8a free), the opposite conglomerate side of the canyon as a background, with the Tanger route there in the skyline:

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ice Fajol in Valter 2000

This w-end we visited the Oriental Pyrennees that boast one interesting climb, just to the left of Vallter 2000 skiing area, one of the rare remaining private ski resorts in Cataluna. The mountain, Gran Fajol is a good winter alpine and ice destination to do corridors. It is less-known for climbing (for a reson, given the usually bad quality of rock). However, there is one interesting route on the main wall, going more or less through the center of the picture below:

It is called Ice Fajol, and as Oriol wanted to free climb the 6c+ pitch on it, i was lured into the undertaking. The route has 3 interesting pitches on the main wall of orange-white gneiss rock - 6a, 6c+, 6a+ protectable with friends and pitons. Below is Oriol following the first 6a:

The objective accomplished, we quickly descended to have a drink at Refugio de Ull de Ter below. Very nice setting at 2hr drive from Barcelona, nothing like a mountain strall to beat the onset of the heat! Below is the route, but in the winter setting (from the winter ascent by Oriol last year):

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Another good Latin American singer, from Cuba this time...

discovered thx to Silvia :)

Monday, June 15, 2009


We went to Montgrony for a hot summer day. It is a beautiful climbing spot and an old sanctuary dating back to the 9th century.

Now it is more of a tourist and climbing destination, with a lovely restaurant and recently renovated hostel at the base. The view is stunning with Pedraforca in the background (right corner of the pic below), and the climbing seems good too, although it is mainly south-facing.

We went to a North face a little bit lower down the valley, with less views, but more shade. Climbing is mainly hard, in the high 6s and lots of 7s range. Most pictures by the master, Chris Glennie!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Montserrat - Sanchez Martinez

We got on one of the classics in Montserrat this w-end, the Sanchez Martinez on Pared de Diables. (view of Cavel Bernard above as seen from mid-climb). It is a beautiful 10 pitch climb with relatively few spots requiring serious aiding.

The climbing is very diverse, stating with a chimney below, becoming a crack climb on conglomerate, incredible as it sounds, changing into the "big roof", no need for El Cap here!

And finishing with a classic Montserrat slab, with nice 3 pitches of 6a. Beautiful views and not a bad walk-off make it for a perfect day! Big thanks to the participants (Renaud) and the logistic team (Silvia and David)!