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Guided Via Ferrata in Spain

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rock Climbing in the Picos

 

 

 



 

 

 

Via Ferratas in Spain: Andalucia and Catalunya

 

Spain has an amazing variety of via ferrata routes all across the country and the Rock Climbing Company offer guided trips along via ferrata routes in both Andalucia in Southern Spain and Catalonia in Northern Spain.

The via ferrata routes that we can guide you along range from the famous one in El Chorro in Malaga province to the very exposed, strenuous and technical Regina de Peramola route near Oliana in Northern Spain.

In Southern Spain there are a number of via ferratas just inland from the coastal towns of Malaga and Marbella including a brilliant new system of Via Ferrata on the walls surrounding Ronda.

In Northern Spain we can offer guiding on the via ferrata around Barcelona and Girona including the amazing Cala del Moli that is on the sea cliffs just south of Girona. Inland, the best Via Ferrata are around the mountain refugio of Montgrony and the town of Centelles.

There is more detailed information on the via ferrata in the menu on the left, but all of the via ferrata are graded according to the physical difficulty and amount of exposure involved in completing them so that their suitability can be gauged beforehand - but the fantastic thing about via ferratas is that they allow you to access, climb and traverse amazing mountain scenery without needing prior climbing experience.

Reasonable fitness and a cool head are all that is needed to experience the majority of via ferrata routes we guide and in the past 5 years we have taken both teenagers and septuagenarians to easy and more challenging ones.

All of the routes we guide are fully equipped and safe to navigate when using the correct equipment. The Rock Climbing Company only use commercially made and EN certified lanyards to protect our clients and all of our instructors are insured and certified to lead via ferratas. We supply all of the safety equipment that is needed for the trips - helmets, lanyards and ropes whilst clients just need food and drink for the day and good clothing.

 

 

Via Ferratas in Andalucia

 

There are a some great beginner via ferratas very close to our southern Spain base, in Villanueva del Rosario -

The Via Ferratas in Hondonero, Archidona and VVa del Trabuco are very good introduction for families, beginner and intermediate climbers. You will be climbing at the top of impressive crags with great views across the wild Andalucian landscape.

Another excellent via ferrata is in the 'Natural Park El Torcal de Antequera'.

The El Torcal via ferrata is also called 'Camorro 1' and 'Camorro 2'. They are named after the specific mountain they are built on. There are two sections separated by a reasonable long hike around the impressive karst limestone formations that make the El Torcal natural reserve famous. Most people tend to do the first section on its own as it makes a perfect half day excursion that covers some quite steep and athletic terrain. This section has a fantastic finish on a Tyrolean traverse on wires that cross a narrow chasm.

 

Ronda has had several via ferrata routes added to the wall surrounding the town.

There are also a couple of very good via ferratas close to the coast near the town of Marbella at Benalauria and Benaojan and at Comares just north of Malaga.

 

Via Ferrata in Catalonia and Northern Spain

 

Via Ferrata Regina de Peramola Northern Spain has a wide selection of via ferrata routes at all levels of difficulty. The key areas we can offer guided Via Ferrata are Girona, Barcelona and the Eastern Pyrenees near Montgrony and Oliana.

1. South of Girona - The coastal strip south of Girona and just north of Blanes has 3 brilliant via ferratas that between them cater for all levels of ability. Cala del Moil is a great holiday adventure in a brilliant setting above the Mediterranean sea - not too hard or physical, but covering a lot of exposed ground including a wire bridge across a chasm. Northern Spain has a wide selection of via ferrata routes at all levels of difficulty. The key areas we can offer guided Via Ferrata are Girona, Barcelona and the Eastern Pyrenees near Montgrony.

 

Via Ferrata in Northern Spain

 

Just inland the via ferrata at the Gorge de Salenys is a great introduction to via ferrata in a woodland setting above the river - relatively short and perfect for family outings.

In contrast Agulles Rodones is long and hard - a full day of physical exercise that covers a lot of steep and exposed ground. It is not suitable for beginners and does demand a cool head and upper body strength; however the reward is one of the best and hardest via ferratas in Spain.

2. North of Barcelona - The famous climbing area of Montserrat also has a great via ferrata at Borinot . It is not overly long (4-5 hours in total), but quite physical and intense. The view at the top across the conglomerate pinnacles is spectacular. Slightly further to the north near the town of Centelles is another really good via ferrata - Baumes Corcades is reasonably hard and reasonably long; not overly extreme, but ideally needs some previous experience of via ferrata.

The third via ferrata north of Barcelona is Castellcir - La Penyora and this is a really good introduction to via ferrata that manages to add in quite a lot of exposure in its short length.

3. West of Barcelona - There are a couple of via ferrata to the west of Barcelona and close to Vilafranca del Penades. The most impressive is Via Ferrata Sant Marti Sarroca - a tough, outing for more experienced parties as it involves some climbing, abseiling and rope work. A proper adventure. The second is Borinot in the Montserrat Natural Park - it is quite short, but reasonably technical and makes a good extension to a days climbing on the conglomerate cliffs of the park.

4. Near Oliana - Situated in the heart of the Pyrenees Oliana is a great base for both climbing and via ferrata. There are a couple of shorter routes, but the Regina de Peramola is the one - a long, exposed route that also needs a fair bit of stamina.

5. Berga and Pedraforca - The area around the emblematic mountain of Pedraforca -located 100 km north of Barcelona - is very well known for it's fantastic mountaineering and rock climbing.It has also three safe and excellent excellent via ferratas: Roques de Empalomar, Cal Curt and Via Ferrata de la Canalassa.

These routes cross a series of vertical and steep limestone walls to reach the summits of the Empalomar. Two brilliant of these via ferratas are suitable for both beginners and the more experienced. There is also a via ferrata specifically built for children, called Via Ferrata de la Canalassa together with an an adventururous walk that has both iron steps and some scrambling. This park called 'Vallcebre' also contains a newly developed rock climbing area and several walking routes with lovely views.

 

 


Via Ferrata equipment

The equipment needed to undertake via ferratas can be broken down into your personal kit and the safety equipment.

The personal equipment is your standard trekking gear - clothing suitable to keep you comfortable and dry in an outside environment plus rugged shoes or boots that preferably have stiff soles. In addition, tough leather gloves can help protect you hands - leather gardening gloves work well.

The safety equipment is provided by us and includes a helmet, a harness plus the energy absorbing lanyards and a "cow's tail"( anchoring sling).

The lanyards are the single most important piece of the Via Ferrata equipment as they are designed to absorb the energy generated in a fall.

It is very important not to use normal slings or even rope slings to connect into the safety wires as they have no means of absorbing the energy generated in a fall and the forces generated can be massive - enough to break bodies and equipment. Via Ferrata lanyards consists of an energy absorber which loops onto your harness and then has two legs which connect to the via ferrata safety cable with custom designed carabiners, and a means of connecting to the harness.

The energy absorption can be achieved either with rope or tape that runs through a friction brake or with "tear" webbing. We use friction brake lanyards as they can still be used if there is a fall half way round a route - Tear webbing lanyards can give more consistent energy absorption, but are only good for one fall.

In addition, all of our lanyards are modern "Y" lanyards that are far more tolerant of user error - the older "V" lanyards do not work if both arms are clipped in at the same time. Plus all our lanyards were replaced in 2013 to comply with the latest standards - a large proportion of older lanyards were found to lose significant strength over time because of the materials they were constructed from.

In addition, we equip all clients with a short dynamic rope sling and carabiner that is also attached to the harness and can be used to rest on strenuous sections or to allow you to take photos!

The use of all safety equipment is included in the course price.

 

 

What is a via ferrata?

 

A via ferrata is a route that lets climbers cross steep rocky terrain in the alpine and mountainous regions of Europe via iron rungs that are placed at regular intervals (~ every 60cm) in the rock. A steel wire is also fixed alongside the route which allows climbers to protect themselves by connecting themselves to it. The steel wire is secured to the cliff with bolts every 3-6m and these bolts limit the length of any fall. The steel cables are also used to cross gaps in the rock such as crossing one side of a chasm or gorge to another,

 

 

Via ferratas allow the relatively inexperienced a means of climbing steep terrain whilst enjoying the dramatic positions that are normally the preserve of the serious climber or scrambler.

Via ferratas vary enormously in length and difficulty; they range from short family orientated routes to full day excursions that will also interest most experienced climbers.

Simple Via ferrata have existed in alpine regions for hundreds of years as a means of to connecting villages to their high pastures. Modern via ferrata routes date back to the start of alpine exploration 1843 when a route was built on the Dachstein by Friedrich Simony using a range of iron pegs, rungs and chipped footholds. The later part of the nineteenth century saw a fast expansion of via ferrata across Europe including the first via ferrata in Northern Spain when iron rungs were fixed on the Pic du Midi d'Ossau in 1880.

Via Ferrata were used a lot during the first world war in the Italian Dolomites to gain territorial advantages, but the next big step forward occurred in the 1930s when the Italian climbing federations began working on shortening and improving access to the popular climbing routes in the Brenta Dolomites. They fixed ropes and protection along natural lines and weaknesses in the rock to create a series of routes which were then linked up to create the Via delle Bochette network - a classic series of via ferrata that also helped establish the idea of doing via ferratas in their own right rather than as a means to access summits or rock climbs.

Climbing via ferratas is now a very popular mountain activity with its own guidebooks, equipment and grading system.

 

 

 

 

The BMC (British Mountaineering Council) is the representative body that exists to protect the freedoms and promote the interests of climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers, including ski-mountaineers. The BMC recognizes that climbing, hill walking and mountaineering are activities with a danger of personal injury or death. Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions.

 

 

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