Friday, November 06, 2009

Montserrat - Over 3,500 Climbing Routes - Barcelona's Gem

Montserrat is quite the mountain if you can really call it that. I say this since instead of being like a typical mountain with sloping sides up to a summit or perhaps several psuedo summits, this one is literally made of thousands and thousands of rock pillars, and folded rock towers all made of conglomerate rock. Mapping a maze-like mountain like this would be a huge undertaking; and that is what climbing clubs have helped do over the past 100 or so years.

Now, Montserrat is not so large but the sheer density of the features is astounding. This is why there are over 35 THOUSAND bolted climbing routes in this park. That is more than you could likely do in a lifetime of climbing doing nothing but that. I should say though that despite the number of bolted anchors, they are very hard to see unless searching for them and the routes are generally not marked on the rocks (no placards and very few markings; thus, a guidebook should be used when selecting routes). So, in terms of aesthetic purposes, this is a non-issue.

A group of us met at the park and before we went climbing, Xavier really wanted to show us some of the park by taking a tour.

The group climbing up for some better views

The typical Montserrat rock pillars! Very very cool!

More pillars with a feature called the 'elephant' in the upper left corner

Xavier and Carol

Overhanging rockman

Some of the vertical faces allow for over 600m of multi-pitch climbing!

Very Cool!

Me, ready for some climbing!

Three routes going at once

Getting to the top on a good route. I should note that the rock at Montserrat is typically grippy but with only small little finger pockets and crimpers. So, even though this route wasn't vertical, it was still quite challenging.

Finishing off the day

Getting a view from the north side of Montserrat via a tour around the mountain by Xavier.

This was a very amazing place that I would love to come back to. Carol and Xavier, thank you very much for all your hospitality and for showing us some of the best of the best!


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