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Spain in late March for easy 5.10 and hard 5.11 climbers


Original Post
Varun Singh · · Providence, RI · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 131

I'm going to Spain with my girlfriend in late March. Flying into Barcelona and we'll have a week. I've heard good things about Siurana, but I'm not sure about the easier options there. Leaning towards Lleida from what I've read online.

Anyone have beta? Ideally somewhere where we can find walls with good 5.10s for her and 5.11s / 5.12s for me. It looks like MP is missing a lot of routes, so hoping to choose an area and then try to get a guidebook. Unless someone knows of a website or app with pretty good coverage of routes and grades?

JCM · · Seattle, WA · Joined Jun 2008 · Points: 95

Mountainproject is not useful for those areas. I'd instead suggest looking through the ukclimbing.com route database to get a sense of the grade ranges available at various crags. The database should be adequately complete for most areas you'd be interested in. I.e.: https://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=1731#maps

You could also maybe consider some of the lesser-known areas near Siurana (Mont-Ral, La Mussara, Vilanova de Prades) for a good mix of grades and possibly a less crowded experience. These are covered in the "Tarragona Climbs" guidebook by Andrada and O'Donovan.  

I've also heard great things about Collegats, for similar reasons (good climbing, wide grade range, much less busy than the super-famous areas). It is in the "Lleida Climbs" guidebook by Andrada and O'Donovan.  

***Disclaimer- I have not visited those specific crags myself (yet), but they look intriguing from the guidebook. You'll have to do your own research.***

Varun Singh · · Providence, RI · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 131
JCM wrote:

Mountainproject is not useful for those areas. I'd instead suggest looking through the ukclimbing.com route database to get a sense of the grade ranges available at various crags. The database should be adequately complete for most areas you'd be interested in. I.e.: https://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crag.php?id=1731#maps

You could also maybe consider some of the lesser-known areas near Siurana (Mont-Ral, La Mussara, Vilanova de Prades) for a good mix of grades and possibly a less crowded experience. These are covered in the "Tarragona Climbs" guidebook by Andrada and O'Donovan.  

I've also heard great things about Collegats, for similar reasons (good climbing, wide grade range, much less busy than the super-famous areas). It is in the "Lleida Climbs" guidebook by Andrada and O'Donovan.  

***Disclaimer- I have not visited those specific crags myself (yet), but they look intriguing from the guidebook. You'll have to do your own research.***

Thanks, that is great beta right there. I'm gonna poke around on ukclimbing.com and might snag the Tarragona Climbs and Lledia Climbs books from climb-europe, they both look good.

Varun Singh · · Providence, RI · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 131

Also curious if anyone knows of any easy multi-pitch adventures around there. Probably not bringing my rack, so looking for bolted climbs

Bill 1552 · · Portland, OR · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 325
Varun Singh wrote:

Also curious if anyone knows of any easy multi-pitch adventures around there. Probably not bringing my rack, so looking for bolted climbs

Montserrat

Varun Singh · · Providence, RI · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 131
Bill 1552 wrote:

Montserrat

Thanks, Montserrat looks pretty awesome. Between Leida, Tarragona/Siurana area, and Montserrat, wondering if anyone has experience with the areas to help us narrow the list down to 2. Hoping to not have to buy 3 guidebooks since we'll probably only end up hitting up 2 places in the week we have

Bill 1552 · · Portland, OR · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 325

The setting at Siurana is hard to beat, and there are a number of areas within close proximity, most at least have some easier climbs. That would be my pick with a day or two in Montserrat. I haven't spent enough time in Lleida to give much first hand info though, I had bad weather when I was there so didn't really get to climb. Probably less crowded. If you went that direction you could maybe include Riglos as well for some multi-pitch. 

Chris Winter · · Portland, OR · Joined Apr 2008 · Points: 300

Check out Margalef.  Siurana is rad for 5.11+ and up but you won't find many moderates.  But man is it beautiful.  Margalef is also quite pretty and has a better spread of grades for a party of mixed abilities.  Its about 45-60 min drive to Siurana, so you can easily get in a couple of days at both.

Lleida is also rad.  There are awesome multi-pitch routes in Terradets also some really good cragging at Camarasa.  Tres Ponts is also super beautiul and chill.  So many options in Catalonia.    

Adam Brink · · on the road · Joined Mar 2001 · Points: 470

I'm in the Siurana area right now and it is stellar! Definitely one of the great climbing areas of the world.  To have a chance to come here and not do it would be a big miss.  In the area there are stacks of walls with both 5.10 and 5.11 (6a-7a).  While Siurana is famous for 7a and up, many of the walls have great 6a to 6b routes as well, just not as many.  Between Siurana, Montsant, Villanova del Padre and Massura, you could go to a new wall every day and be here for months.  If you add Margalef, it is a lifetime of climbing.  I would rent a house in Cornudella as it is central and drive to all the different crags.

Varun Singh · · Providence, RI · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 131

Thanks all for the great beta. Maybe we'll hold off on Lleida for this trip and stick to Siurana and Montserrat. I've heard so many good things about Siurana I don't think we can miss it. We'll just have to deal with the crowds   

Adam Brink wrote:

I'm in the Siurana area right now and it is stellar! Definitely one of the great climbing areas of the world.  To have a chance to come here and not do it would be a big miss.  In the area there are stacks of walls with both 5.10 and 5.11 (6a-7a).  While Siurana is famous for 7a and up, many of the walls have great 6a to 6b routes as well, just not as many.  Between Siurana, Montsant, Villanova del Padre and Massura, you could go to a new wall every day and be here for months.  If you add Margalef, it is a lifetime of climbing.  I would rent a house in Cornudella as it is central and drive to all the different crags.

cool! Any suggestions for favorite walls with good moderates (5.10s)? Bonus points if they also have 11s

Adam Brink · · on the road · Joined Mar 2001 · Points: 470

Every cliff at La Mussara (one valley over from Cornudella) has absolute stacks of 10's and 11's (plus plenty of easy 12s to 13s).  Just Mussara could be a whole month long trip of just 3 and 4 star routes in the range you want.  Vilanova de Prades is the same and is just a bit farther away.  As for really close to Cornudella, both the valley and village crags of Siurana have plenty of 5.10s and 11s.  Of course there are lot more harder routes but I have had no problem finding plenty in the range you want.  Also, Montsant crags have so many routes between 6a and 7a.  All these crags are with in a 40 minute drive of Cornudella.  Maybe if you spent your whole life here and only climbed 5.10 and 11 you would run out but for a year long trip you would have more than you can handle.  Add to the fact that it is a truly stunning area, you would be foolish to miss it.

As for the crowds, they are nothing most of the time.  I climbed yesterday at the most popular village crags of Siurana, a perfect sunny saturday, and only saw a small crew of the same people at a couple different crags.  By American standards there are no crowds at all and if there are all you have to do is move to a different sector and you will have it totally to yourself.  On the weekends just choose Montsant or Mussara and you will have it to yourself.   

What you just need to do is get the new Siurana guide (which is available everywhere in Cornudella) or the older Tarragona Climbs guide and it will have a lifetime of routes in the range you want.

Salud!

Varun Singh · · Providence, RI · Joined Jun 2015 · Points: 131
Adam Brink wrote:

Every cliff at La Mussara (one valley over from Cornudella) has absolute stacks of 10's and 11's (plus plenty of easy 12s to 13s).  Just Mussara could be a whole month long trip of just 3 and 4 star routes in the range you want.  Vilanova de Prades is the same and is just a bit farther away.  As for really close to Cornudella, both the valley and village crags of Siurana have plenty of 5.10s and 11s.  Of course there are lot more harder routes but I have had no problem finding plenty in the range you want.  Also, Montsant crags have so many routes between 6a and 7a.  All these crags are with in a 40 minute drive of Cornudella.  Maybe if you spent your whole life here and only climbed 5.10 and 11 you would run out but for a year long trip you would have more than you can handle.  Add to the fact that it is a truly stunning area, you would be foolish to miss it.

As for the crowds, they are nothing most of the time.  I climbed yesterday at the most popular village crags of Siurana, a perfect sunny saturday, and only saw a small crew of the same people at a couple different crags.  By American standards there are no crowds at all and if there are all you have to do is move to a different sector and you will have it totally to yourself.  On the weekends just choose Montsant or Mussara and you will have it to yourself.   

What you just need to do is get the new Siurana guide (which is available everywhere in Cornudella) or the older Tarragona Climbs guide and it will have a lifetime of routes in the range you want.

Salud!

oh man, it sounds great. Thank you for all the info. I figured there'd be crowds cause of the proximity to Barcy but sounds like it's just a different scene out there. Kind of hard to imagine the sheer quantity of routes.

Anyway, sounds like we are definitely going to the Sierra de Padres area. It's funny cause what I see online is a new Tarragona Climbs book and and old Siurana guide book, so I'm not sure which two you're talking about:

http://www.climb-europe.com/rockclimbingshop/Tarragona-Climbs-Guidebook.html

http://www.climb-europe.com/rockclimbingshop/Siurana-Rock-Climbing-Guidebook.html

Was going to pick up the new Tarragona Climbs book unless you have another suggestions

Adam Brink · · on the road · Joined Mar 2001 · Points: 470

I would get the Tarragona Climbs as it has multiple areas where as the Siurana (obviously) focuses on Siurana.

kck · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 85

My experience at Montserrat was not good. We tried climbing on a Saturday and everyone from Barcelona went there and the road up turned to a parking lot. It didn't move for a good 15 minutes so and we gave up and turned around and took the tram up. Once we got up we asked where the campground was and they said it was closed for the season (in November). The campground is where you can get a lot of the information about the climbing if you don't have a guide book. We didn't see anyone climbing when we were there, but later we found there is another area where most people climb. Anyway, just bad luck I suppose but I'd avoid it on a weekend or know where to go and how to get there before you go.

Tram was kind of expensive. 28 euros for 2 people I think?

Montsant was beautiful - Roca de Misa especially (only crag we went to). There is a mix of grades, but requires a vehicle with good clearance to get in (or you can hike the last bit of it). I don't think there are climbs in the 5.10 range though. They are long though. In general you'd want a 70 m rope for Spain and even better if you have a 80.

Honestly it might be too hot in March. You might have to chase shade so plan your climbs accordingly.

The coffeeshop in Cornudella has guidebooks to use for free for the climbs around the region but the people who work there are not climbers and don't speak English.  

juan carlos MS · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2017 · Points: 0

Both Tarragona and Lleida Climbs are very good guidebooks for single pitch mainly but not for multipitch where routes description are very much spread on different guides and Internet sites. Montserrat is fantastic place 50 km from Barcelona with more than 5K routes (up to 1000 ft) and a unique landscape but, as is said before, too crowdy of tourist on weekends. Climbing route 'Punsola' at Cavall Bernat is one of the most iconic bolted climbs in Montserrat. You can pay a look to this web for this and many more topos and descriptions in Barcelona region (and other regions too) escalatroncs.com/2011/08/07…

Lleida (150Km from Barcelona) is plenty of multipicth  areas like Montrebei (more than 100 routes above 900ft til 1500Ft but requires gear), Terradets (600 to 1500ft normally bolted till 600 ft and then escape), Vilanova de Meia (600ft), Collegats, Oliana, Montroig, Sant Llorenç de Montgai and many more...in Terradets pay a look to Smoking or Colores routes (5.10, 5.11)

March is a good period in terms of temperature, not hot yet usually not cold.

This is another good source of information http://lanochedelloro.com/ 

And this Guidebook cover areas in Barcelona region south except Montserrat: http://luichy-lanochedelloro2.blogspot.com.es/2017/06/barcelona-y-alrededores.html

Anything you may need just raise your hand

Good luck

Juan Carlos

Ben Lurie · · San Diego, Ca · Joined May 2016 · Points: 5
Adam Brink wrote:

I'm in the Siurana area right now and it is stellar! Definitely one of the great climbing areas of the world.  To have a chance to come here and not do it would be a big miss.  In the area there are stacks of walls with both 5.10 and 5.11 (6a-7a).  While Siurana is famous for 7a and up, many of the walls have great 6a to 6b routes as well, just not as many.  Between Siurana, Montsant, Villanova del Padre and Massura, you could go to a new wall every day and be here for months.  If you add Margalef, it is a lifetime of climbing.  I would rent a house in Cornudella as it is central and drive to all the different crags.

Thanks for all your tips. I’ll be going in late April- early may, does the heat at that time change where you’d recommend going? 

Also for a shorter trip are there refugios in the Siurana area instead of renting a house?

juan carlos MS · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2017 · Points: 0
Ben Snow wrote:

Thanks for all your tips. I’ll be going in late April- early may, does the heat at that time change where you’d recommend going? 

Also for a shorter trip are there refugios in the Siurana area instead of renting a house?


April - May should be good time yet everywhere in Spain, particularly in Siurana or rest of Barcelona area (Catalonia). In case is abnormally warm you can always look for not so sunny sides (north, west...). Sure you will manage


Chris Winter · · Portland, OR · Joined Apr 2008 · Points: 300

We were in Catalonia last year for three weeks in April and it was pretty good but bordering on too hot.  You are going to want to be in the shade as much as possible, and even then best conditions might be limited to mornings and late afternoons.  You can find shade in Siurana but the crags may be more crowded than other times of the year, because a lot of the walls face south.  Margalef will have more moderates on shady aspects.   Check out the campground at Siurana, which also has some rooms or a bunkhouse.  Have a great trip - its amazing.     

Grant Kendrick 1 · · Northampton, Massachusetts · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 0

I was at Montserrat in mid march a couple years ago and had a great time.  We took the train from Barcelona and bought combination train/cable car tickets to the monestary which were pretty inexpensive and made for a very easy trip and a fun, unique way to get to the climbing! From there hiked 45 minutes to the refugio where we were the only people there beside the caretaker.  There were guidebooks there and the caretaker knew the climbs well and was able to advise us.  The climbing is interesting and somewhat unusual--lower angle face climbing on pebbly conglomerate--but adequately bolted and very picturesque. We saw a few climbers in the distance, and a few hikers every day, but mostly had the place to ourselves.  Weather ranged from a little chilly if it was cloudy or windy to perfect when the sun was out.  If you end up there, I highly recomend taking a few hours to visit the church by the monestary, home to the Black Virgin statue.  I tried to talk my companion into skipping it and doing another climb, but was really greatful she insisted, as it was one of the most beautiful and spectacular churches I've ever seen, particularly in light of where it's located.

Have a great trip! 

Lena chita · · OH · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 745

I second ( third?) the Climb Tarragona guidebook. We stayed in Tarragona, and climbed in Siurana, Margalef, Montsant, Mont-ral, La Mussara, and Vilanova de Prades.
Tons of routes in the 10-11 range at all of these places, and climbing is somewhat different at all of these locations, so you definitely won't get bored!

Margalef and Montsant was limestone conglomerate vertical to overhanging, depending on the grade, with lots and lots of awesome pockets.
Siurana is more compact grey limestone, lots of crimps, at the 10-11 grade range this would be somewhat more polished, and it was my least-favorite place for the easier grades. The bolting on some of the easier climbs seemed more runout than the rest of the areas.
La Mussara had more crack climbing (bolted) and felt relatively stiff,grade-vise, but was really fun.
Prades would be vertical climbing at the grades you are looking for.
Mont-rall would be slabby black flowstone-type limestone.

For the easier grades, my personal favorites were Montsant, Margalef, and la Mussara. Harder climbing-- Siurana, Margalef, and Montsant.

Mark Paulson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2010 · Points: 95

Can anyone speak to the climbing quality around Chulilla?  I'm flying in to Valencia with friends the last week of February, and will be climbing mostly in the 5.11-12 range...

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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