Multi-pitch climbing around Lleida, Spain
St. Llorenç de MontgaiSt. Llorenç de Montgai is a nice little crag with variative multi-pitch climbing on limestone and conglomerate in the northern Spain. There are also some single pitch routes (quite hard ones), but in my opinion multi-pitch routes are the main attraction there. This post concentrates on the easiest climbs as the weather was so humid and hot when we visited St. Llorenç de Montgai, that there was no point trying to climb anything tougher.
|Talk about lush nature.|
If you don't mind the unpredictable stone quality at some sectors, the 80 to 180-meter routes in Sant Llorenç de Montgai serve as a good introduction to multi-pitch climbing.There are plenty of easy routes, especially at sector La Formiguera and the grading is not so harsh. That being said, the older (?) routes are an exception. The easiest routes at sectors Esperó Remacha and Pared de l'Os are quite exciting and the bolting makes you want to climb extra carefully. If you decide to go there, it's advisable to take a few slings and maybe even a set of nuts and cams with you. A helmet is also a good idea at all sectors, since some routes are quite popular and at sectors La Formiguera and El Cilindre there are loose stones.
|Sector La Formiguera|
My personal favourites were La Directa (6b, El Cilindre) and La Formigonera Digital (6b, La Formiguera).Those two routes offered 90 meters of more continuous climbing without any overwhelming cruxes. You can climb them at steady pace and be sure that you'll reach the next bolt after a few more moves. If you're short like me (163 cm), I have some great news for you: there aren't any reachy moves on neither of these routes! Just plenty of comfortable little holds that will take you from one bolt to another, without the fear of having to push yourself to your limits just to get the clip in.
Camping in St. Llorenç de Montgai is easy. At least with a motorhome it wasn't a problem. I don't know if there's a place to set up a tent, but a car you can park 10 meters from the beginning of the routes. There's also a camping site La Noguera at the other side of the village, if that's your thing. Just for water it's not necessary to go there, since there's a fountain in St. Llorenç de Montgai (when you reach the village, it's in a corner to your left). The water's ok for cooking, but I wouldn't drink it.
|Can you spot our car?|
And the guidebook? You can buy Lleida Climbs from Camarasa, at bar Can Pere. The book is a bit hard to find, since it's from the year 2013 and a new one is on the way. However, Can Pere still had some copies of Lleida Climbs for sale and some other guidebooks which you can take photos of. The pizzas there look and smell delicious too, and I'm still bitter because they had already closed the kitchen when we tried to order some of that deliciousness.
Apart from eating pizza, jogging and/or hiking is a good rest day activity. There's a trail following the river bank at the other side of Riu Segre. You'll find the starting point at the bridge in the direction of Camarasa. The trail zig zags in the woods all the way to the dam, which is where you can get back to the St. Llorenç de Montgai side of the river. It's a nice view from the dam, so you might want to stop for some photos there. It took me just under an hour to reach the starting point again, so I think the length of the trail is around 10 km. Unfortunately there's no beach or anything where to wash yourself afterwards, so you'll have to settle for an always refreshing bottle shower.
TerradetsTerradets is another multi-pitch crag near Lleida. It's a massive gray wall, that has a handfull of just over 200-meter multi-pitch routes around 6b. They're all next to each other on this huge plate and look more or less alike, with the exception that some have a couple of harder pitches. If you like slab climbing, I can recommend going to Terradets and trying out one or two of the routes there. There are some single-pitch routes in Terradets too, but we didn't manage to climb anything that impressive.
The most famous multi-pitch route is Smoking (6b), which is a 215-meter slab with the tiniest holds I've ever seen on a 6a (not much of a slab climber, heh). Although the climbing itself is superb, I'd put the bolts just a bit closer to each other to be able to enjoy the climbing more. The bolts are in excellent condition, though. They must have rebolted the route quite recently, since all of the metal just glitters in the sun. At the top, there's a cable system to get you off the ledge securely. Before you rush off, remember to enjoy the view! The ledge is wide enough even for eating those snacks you didn't dare to take out of the back bag on the hanging belays before.
When you approach the sector Smoking, please bare in mind that you're actually breaking the Spanish law.That's because you need to cross the railway in order to reach the sector. It's extremely dangerous and can't in any way be recommended, but it seems to be the only way to get there. Hopefully there's going to be an alternative path in the future.