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Restday in Siurana

View from the van
Camping out in the wine district of Priorat

Climbing in the province of Tarragona, home to Siurana, Montsant and Margalef, can be more than intense. So why not mix up the hard climbing with some great cultural experiences? And when the culture we’re talking about is wine – who can resist! Maybe you didn’t know but DO Priorat and DO Montsant are known as two of the best and most exclusive wine areas in Spain with plenty of price winning wines.

Parked
The impressive terraces of Priorat

The main village for Priorat is called Gratallops. Around this village you have about 15 wine producers and some impressive installations to visit, a lot of money has been invested here the last decade. All wine producers offer tasting and guided visits. It’s best to call ahead or pass by and ask when the next visit is and be prepared to come back, especially during the harvest season (september-november) they have several visits every day that you normally can join.

If you’re in Siurana you can visit a the local vine cooperate in the village of Cornudella de Montsant with very good wine.

Wine tasting
Tasting the wine from Scala Dei

If you want to find the roots of the Priorat wine you can visit Scala Dei. The wine the monks produced in the old monastery brought a lot of money to the area, if you decide to drive the extra 5 minutes up to the monastery (now in ruins) you’ll see this first hand.

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Olive oil in chocolate with sea salt on top – taste explosion!

Next doors to Scala Dei is a small olive oil shop. We had a proper oil-tasting, starting with drinking it from a cup, then trying with bread and a special breathing technique(!) and ending with chocolate, their top oil and sea salt. Wow, what an explosion! The woman running in the shop told us that all the oil they sold was from her own land, her son was now responsible for the production. Really a great, great experience! And of course we came out from there with 3 liter of price winning olive oil…

So, during your next visit to this beautiful corner of the world make sure to add some wine culture to your climbing trip. And for the full experience, of course you should rent a van through Climb in Spain and sleep in the middle of the vineyards!

 

Posted in Articles.


Climbing in Gorge du Tarn

Tenesee wall Tarn

Gorges du Tarn is undoubtedly one of the finest sport climbing destinations in France. The river Tarn has eroded the Causse Méjean and Causse de Sauveterre limestone plateaus into a number of steep canyons. In summer, the river is full of vacationing continentals floating downstream in rented kayaks, and on the slopes of the valley we find steep walls with some of the finest dolomite limestone in the South-East.

Guest post and photos by Jonas Wiklund

The Gorges du Tarn is a fantastic place for climbers of almost all levels. Despite going there a lot since moving to Toulouse (three hours west of the area) I’ve never climbed a bad route.

From 6a to 8b there are plenty of three star routes in every grade. The sectors are densely packed, have short approaches (sometimes too short) and in addition there are often three-star routes in the 6th, 7th and 8th grade on the same sector! Below 6a the routes seems to be of slightly lower quality, and from 8c and up there are just six routes (and a number of projects).

There are routes of most types in Tarn: vertical, overhanging, to roof climbing, and routes of all lengths: short, medium, long or insanely long pitches.

Try or fly

The insanely long pitches – from 40m to 95m — are a speciality of Gorges du Tarn, a style that the locals call “Abus” (a word of the same root as abuse). For many of those routes a one hundred meter rope is necessary, and for the longest knowledge of the two-rope, two-grigri technique is a must.

That said, there are plenty of routes of the short-and-hard variety as well, in all grades, from 4a to 8c or so.

Season
April to beginning of October. From November to February the sun never reach the valley floor, and it is brutally cold.

Other major climbing areas
The famous Gorges de la Jonte, well known for its 3-4 pitch routes is 25 min away. Boffi in Millau can be found about 35 km further south.

Bolting
In September 2010 a bolt broke on an old hard project in Tarn. The short 8mm bolt was placed in wet soft rock and was not meant to protect lead climbing but rather for direct aid to help figure the moves. However, the climber who broke the bolt got injured and the local municipality decided to forbid climbing in the area until all bolts where replaced.

The local chapter of the French climbing federation put in over a hundred thousand euros and uncounted man-hours on rebolting the canyon. The upshot is that all routes have glue in bolts or ultralong 12mm stainless sleeve bolts. This is financed by selling the guidebook, which is a photo topo with text in English, French, Spanish, German and Italian.

In general the bolting is ultra safe, with very short distances between the bolts on the lower parts of the routes. However, on some routes, especially some of the harder routes the bolting becomes sparse on the higher parts of the routes. Climbers who have a hard time on long run-outs should bring a clip-stick for working routes, and take an extra minute to step back and inspect the boltning on the top part of the routes.

Said Belhaj in Gorge du Tarn-1
Said Belhaj in Gorge du Tarn

Gear
If you want to be able to climb absolutely all routes a 100m rope is good to have. On some sectors, like De fas Aqui, it is rather tricky to get by with an 80m rope. With a 60m rope you’ll probably have enough routes to choose from for between a few weeks to a lifetime depending on your level.

I recommend to bring at least an 80m rope and at least fifteen quickdraws, some of them longer and maybe one shoulder length sling, to get out the most of the area.

In addition, for those who wants to test some classic “abus”-routes bring a hundred meter rope, a shorter rope (at least 30m), two GriGris, at least ten long draws and up to twenty five draws in total.

Guidebook
The guidebook is sold in most bars, restaurants and campgrounds in Les Vignes, the village closest to the climbing sectors.

Getting there
The climbing is centred around Les Baumes Basses just north of the village Les Vignes, 35 km north of Millau in the south of France. The closest big international airports are Toulouse (3 hours) and Barcelona (4 hours 30 minutes).

Editors note: If you plan on combining climbing in Tarn with the famous Spanish crags of Catalonia – check out our offer to rent a van!

Tenesee wall Tarn 2

Staying there
Wild camping is prohibited in the canyon, and that includes sleeping in the car. The police drive through the valley to check compliance quite often during the season. During the off season for river sports, from mid September to late April, the campgrounds are closed. At this time sleeping in vans seems semi-tolerated. Instead I recommend staying in a campground. Here are three options:

Camping Le Terrados
Beldoir
Camping La Blaquiere

The campgrounds are fairly expensive in July and August (up to 28€ for two people with a car and a tent), but runs at around 12-13€ for two in low season.

We usually stay in Beldoire, which has a pool, good service buildings, and good access to the river.

More information: Tourism office of Gorges du Tarn

Les Gorges du Tarn-2

Shopping & food
Nearest cash machine is in Le Rozier or La Malène, nearest shops open year round can be found in Le Massegros.

Eating out
This region of France is known for Aligot, its variety of goat cheeses and sausages.

At the time of writing, the best restaurant in Les Vignes is in Hotel Le Parisien. For vegetarians it is difficult to find acceptable restaurants, Pizza Muse is a fairly popular pizzeria in Mostuéjouls 15 min south of Les Vignes in the direction of Milleau.

 

Posted in Articles, Crags, Taste menu.


First spring day: throwback to a climbing winter

These last months were a fun climbing season, travelling up and down through Catalonia, meeting new people, consolidating old friendships, enjoying life outdoors, good food, good company and good climbing conditions. This is my personal photographic homage to the past winter. Hope to have an even better one next year!

Grazia Fenu Margalef Balcó de la Ermita

November, 22nd, 2014 – Climbing at Balcó de la Ermita in Margalef and meeting new friends. So many nice people climbing around…

San Pelegrin

December, 2nd, 2014 – Discovering a new amazing crag in the province of Huesca, Aragón. San Pelegrin… simply good!

montserrat_pirenaicos

December, 10th, 2014 – Some friends from the Pyrenees discover Montserrat. Sun, rock and a lot of fun!

Iced Margalef

February, 7th, 2015 – Freezing cold days in Margalef… sometimes, instead of climbing, you just pick up your backpack and go hiking for getting warmed up…

Multi-pitch route at Perles

February 12, 2015 – Easy cloudy Friday: climbing a three-pitches sport route at Roc d’en Betriu, Perles

pas de la mala dona

February, 14th, 2015 – Re-discovering old crags around Barcelona, such as Pas de la Mala Dona (Garraf). Fun vertical to slightly overhanging routes with tufas and as extra feature you can enjoy sun and a peaceful sea view.

coll de la barraca

February, 15th, 2015 – After a delicious breakfast at Vilafranca del Penedés, we head to Coll de la Barraca, another small crag 1 hour drive from Barcelona, where you can find short and bouldery routes on good limestone.

El Kraken - Montserrat

February 20th, 2015 – Best breakfast ever at La Vinya Nova in Collbató and then multi-pitching again: this time the route is El Kraken at the Pastereta area of Montserrat South.

garraf - thailandia

February 27th, 2015 – Short trip to Thailandia 😉 In this case it isn’t an Asian country, but rather an amazing crag, lost in the middle of the natural park of Garraf. Tufas, tufas and much more tufas!!

siurana

March, 1st, 2015 – Projecting in Siurana. Still one of my favorite crags.

Posted in Crags.

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Snowy Montserrat

It is a not very usual sight, but this year we have got it! So we want to share this spectacular and rare view with you. February 2015: big snowfall in Catalonia. And Montserrat looks like that…

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Posted in Photos.


Join our Spanish Climbing Road Trip!

On the Road

On the Road

In collaboration with rockbusters

The Spanish Road Trip has already become a classic for rockbusters people — every year at springtime they offer you the great opportunity to get to know the best crags on an exciting trip on the road. You’ll get in touch with real Spanish climbing lifestyle, enjoy the best Spanish rock from excellent limestone, to sandstone and conglomerate, and taste all the climbing styles, from vertical fingery lines in Siurana or Montserrat to overhanging boulders in Albarracín.

 alex margalef 4_reducida

Next trip scheduled: from April 04, 2015 to May 02, 2015.

Read more about this trip: here

For bookings, information and details, please send us an e-mail!

info@climbinspain.com

Posted in News, Offers.


Alquézar – another perfect winter destination

Alquezar, the Village

Alquezar, the Village

Alquézar is an ancient Arabic fortress, located in the province of Huesca in the foothills of the Pyrenees. Like Rodellar, a windy 45 minute drive away, it lies within the Sierra y Cañones de Guara Natural Reserve. Suffice to say that this climbing area has a rich cultural heritage on a stunning natural background!

The village is a beloved touristic destination throughout the year for people who love nature, peaceful places, history, good food, good wine, and beautiful views.

But Alquézar is also very well known among the Spanish and international climbers community. Its perfect limestone and its surroundings make it unique.

Several crags and many sectors with very different styles of climbing: from vertical walls to huge roofs, here you can explore both vertical and horizontal dimensions.

Alquezar - San Pelegrín - Climber

Vertical…

Alquezar _Cueva (3)

…and horizontal world

Due to climate and south-facing orientation of most of the sectors, this area is high recommendable for the winter: more then often you can wake up down in the valley surrounded by fog and with zero degrees of temperature and then enjoy a warm day climbing with no t-shirt.

Alquezar - San Pelegrín

We can provide any information about how to get there, inform you about the climbing sectors and offer the best lodging solutions. Don’t hesitate to ask us for help by organizing your next exciting climbing trip to Spain!

For any question and additional information, please send us an e-mail!

info@climbinspain.com

Posted in Crags, Taste menu.


Christmas trip to Sella, Costa Blanca

Sella panoramic view

Do you already know what to do during your Christmas holidays?

Well, you can stay at home, sit around a big table with relatives you haven’t seen for ages, make small talk, eating and drinking for days… but… if you are a climbing enthusiast like us and you are looking like crazy for a good winter destination where you can enjoy good climate, good company and good rock…

We have what you need:

Christmas trip to the beautiful spot of Sella, in the heart of Costa Blanca, Spain, where else?

Price per person: € 499 for one week

(from Saturday to Saturday)

Terrace Rockbusters_Sella1 Rockbusters_Sella

You can find all the information and details about this trip: here

For bookings and any additional information about the trip, please send us an e-mail!

info@climbinspain.com

Posted in Climbing Trips, Offers.


Montserrat: multi-pitch route “Vendetta” at Roca Ponent, Vinya Nova

Ressenya VENDETTA

Topo from www.tibalifort.blogspot.com

On a sunny November Friday we head to the magnificent Roca Ponent in the area called Vinya Nova on the South Face of Montserrat to climb the sports multi-pitch route “Vendetta”.

We park the car at the spacious parking just below the Restaurant Vinya Nova (5 minutes’ drive from both villages El Bruc and Collbató):  the wall is easy to identify looking towards the mountain into the wide valley behind the restaurant building. With a 20 minutes’ walk we reach the base of the Roca Ponent and from there we have to walk up a steep path with a lot of loose stones: better not to leave a big distance between you and your partner while walking up to reduce the risk of hitting him/her with a stone.

View from Roca Ponent

View from Roca Ponent

The route Vendetta is the first line of bolts from the left (there are two or three more routes on the same wall).  The route is 90 meters long, has three rope lengths (7a, 7a, 6c+) and is very well equipped. You just need 16 quick-draws and a single rope to climb it.

We start climbing around 1:00 pm, when the sun starts to warm up the rock (west facing). It’s a really perfect day with sun and clouds, no wind, good temperature for enjoying climbing in the sun without freezing nor sweating neither. So good!

Second pitch

Second pitch

The first pitch seems quite bouldery to both of us, with a single hard sequence on a vertical wall at the beginning and then easy on slab with good holds. The second pitch is a fantastic 40 meters vertical wall on good, medium, to small pockets. Good endurance is required! The last pitch starts a little bit uncomfortable on overhanging not very good rock, but the bad feeling is immediately over when you end up climbing on an aerial and very compact slab with a wonderful view down to the valley.

We manage the descent with three rappels (we have a 100 m rope) to the ground.

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At the end of the day, we enjoy a spectacular red sunset on the wall we have just climbed.

This was a very good outdoor activity for a relaxed Friday afternoon, a perfect warming up for the hard sport climbing weekend! 😉

Sunset on Roca Ponent

Sunset on Roca Ponent

Posted in Crags, Routes.


From Sweden to Montserrat

IMAG1804Last week we were glad to welcome Joakim from Sweden, who wanted to discover something new for him. He is an experienced climber, but had never tasted the special kind of rock we have got here: conglomerate!

Conglomerate is a clastic sedimentary rock that contains large rounded clasts. The space between the clasts is generally filled with smaller particles and/or a chemical cement that binds the rock together (definition by geology.com). There are many different kinds of conglomerate, more or less solid, with bigger or smaller clasts, with more pockets or more protruding stones. Here in Spain we have two more examples of good conglomerate crags, such as Margalef and Riglos.

Nevertheless the conglomerate you climb on in Montserrat is quite different from these two other crags. People say it is a “non commercial” climbing style, which means that if you are not used to it, it can be quite complicated to “read” the way up to an anchor and the difficult grade of most of the routes can appear very  hard. Usually you climb on slab or vertical walls and you have to rely on very small slopers, crimps or pockets. Strong fingers and a good feet technique are required. But, with just a little bit of experience, climbing in Montserrat can become very fun and give you great satisfaction. I promise!

ae4093f3cd69be4c7c551b12a406f0a2Climb In Spain arranged a two days climbing trip for Joakim with our local guide Lisi, the best specialist for climbing here in Montserrat. The first day was dedicated to sports climbing, the perfect way for the client to have a first contact to a new style of climbing and for the guide to test the level and skills of the client and decide what multi-pitch route is more suitable for him.

The first day Lisi and Joakim went to the South Face of Montserrat and enjoyed a wonderful sunny day climbing many single pitches between 5+ and 6b (5.8  to 5.10d). Joakim reports he had a lot of fun and he finished the day talking to his fingers, trying to wake them up :)

The second day they headed to the classic area Gorros / Sant Benet for a pleasant experience on a multi-pitch route, which they also enjoyed a lot.

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Who of you understands Swedish can read the enthusiastic report of Joakim on his blog www.utsidan.se. Otherwise you can ask google translate for help.

Thank you Joakim for visiting us! Looking forward to seeing you soon again!

Posted in Climbing Trips, Crags.


Beautiful Montserrat

Beautiful view from the sector El Vermell del Xincarró at the end of the climbing day

Beautiful view from the sector El Vermell del Xincarró at the end of the climbing day

Posted in Photos.