Elevation: 2,339 ft
GPS: 41.593, 1.838 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 87,482 total · 661/month
Shared By: Monomaniac on Jul 18, 2009 with improvements by molly jacobs and 2 others
Admins: Jason Halladay, Robert Hall

Description

Perched fortress-like atop the surrounding wine country sits Spain's largest climbing area, and the spiritual cradle of Catalonian climbing. The magical blunted spires of Montserrat hide literally thousands of excellent routes, with a variety of length & commitment sure to intrigue climbers of all tastes & abilities. Located only 30 miles from the bustling metropolis of Barcelona, the Parc Natural de la Muntanya de Montserrat that contains the climbing area is a popular destination for locals & tourists alike. The main attraction for tourists is the aesthetic Benedictine Monastery located among the cliffs on the East end of the park, which offers access to many of the more popular climbs.

A funicular provides access to the Southeast portion of the park, reducing the daunting approach to a meager stroll. Beware there are two funiculars, one that goes up (St Joan), and one that goes down (Santa Cova). Be sure you are in the correct station before you buy your ticket.

There are a number of Refugis in the park that provide cheap accomodations for climbers. The Monastery also offers rooms and a campground.

Addition 11/1/19 - In addition to the general guidebooks of "Europe" there is a specific guidebook to the Sant Benet areas and a general guidebook of the trad climbs. There are photographs of these (you'll have to click on "see more photograps"), as well as the great map. These are available in shops in and around Montserrat. R Hall Admin. 

The Rock

Montserrat is composed of excellent cobblestone conglomerate, not unlike the rock found at El Rito, Castlewood Canyon, or Maple Canyon in the US. The primary difference is that these formations reach heights of over 1000 feet, offering a world-class multi-pitch climbing experience. Although the cliffs may appear chossy, the rock is generally very solid, and highly featured, with many protruding knobs and sinker pockets.

The rock of Montserrat is high-quality cobblestone conglomerate.


Routes range in difficulty from 3rd class scrambles & via ferratas to 5.14c. Lengths range from the ridiculously short 2-bolt power route, to multi-pitch adventures in excess of 10 pitches.

The vast majority of lines are bolt protected, but many of these are runout, and there are opportunities for intermediate natural gear placements. A small rack of nuts will prove useful on most lines. Helmets are a good idea here, and seem to be favored by the vast majority of local climbers. Although these routes see nearly constant traffic, pockets of loose rock remain.

First-time visitors will be drawn to the Gorros formations that tower above the Monastery. More accomplished climbers should not miss the imposing
The South face of the Cavall Bernat is literally just the tip of the iceberg. The intimidating NE face extends for several hundred feet below the horizon. 'the half-dome of Montserrat', and its imposing East face. Countless high-quality single-pitch sport climbs are spread throughout the park.

When to Visit

Montserrat is a year-round crag, but like most "year-round" crags, spring and fall are best. Shade is at a premium in the warm summer months, and in the winter many of the most challenging multi-pitch lines will be too cold to enjoy. If you are here in the winter, the Gorros get morning sun and are bear-able on warmer winter days. Additionally, the south-facing slabs of
Panxa del Bisbe offers sunny moderates. & other formations around
L'Elefant (the one that looks like an elephant) and La Momia offer long, warm slab climbs near the Monastery. are relatively sheltered from the wind.

Beta

http://climbinspain.com/area-overview/barcelona/ has a lot of areas, including some of Montserrat, included.

Getting There

"The Loop Road" surrounds the cliffs of Montserrat & provides access to all of the climbs. There are multiple ways to reach this road, but for direct access to the Monastery area, take the A-2 out of Barcelona to the C-55. Take the C-55 to the small town of "Monistrol de Montserrat". Here get on the winding BP-1121, which joins the loop road a short distance North of the Monastery.

The parking situation at the Monastery can be troublesome, particularly on weekends. Arrive early or expect to waste a good bit of time looking for a space. There is a ~5 Euro fee if you are lucky enough to get a spot in the parking lot.

There is a train from Barcelona that will literally take you up the mountain to the monastery. We regretted renting a car, especially given how expensive all car related things are in Europe. Recommend the train, as it drops off at the monastery, and that is very very close to the hiker/ climber camping and where you begin many hikes to get to climbs.

Camping

There is a camping available mere steps from the monastery, though it seems to be unadvertised. In order to find the campsite (run by a climber), just follow the large path that runs between the two funiculars uphill for about 5 minutes until you reach the camping on your left. it has a small office building and gate on the side of the path. It can't be missed. The campsite has showers, facilities to wash dishes, and even a small "kitchen" area with two tables and a fridge where camp stoves can be set up. Additionally, it is the best view imaginable. The only downside is that the monastery rings its bell tower several times per hour, rather loudly. Bring earplugs if you are anything other than the soundest of sleepers.

Approach

Many routes will require a significant hike in, given how large Montserrat is. All but the easiest tourist paths are only maintained by foot traffic, and are covered with rocks from the conglomerate which have fallen out. Sturdy hiking shoes are a must on this approach if you don't want a turned ankle.

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Classic Climbing Routes at Montserrat

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