Abella de la Conca, a climbing paradise in Catalonia
Nicolas Durand introduces Abella de la Conca, a beautiful crag in Catalonia, Spain, with circa 200 sport climbs from 3a to 8c+.
Catalunya is full of unknown climbing gems. Pete O’Donovan and Dani Andrada teamed up for the first & second edition of Lleida Climbs and this work helped expose a handful. Abella de la Conca is one of them. Situated in at the foot of the Carreu & Boumort Sierras, in one of Catalunya’s ‘most beautiful villages’ you can join the locals picking up water at the village fountain, admire the view, bathe in the canyon pools or visit the 11th century church with rare romantic paintings. On the cliff walls, a stone’s throw from the main square there are all grades to enjoy, in season mainly from September to June. Around 150 routes have been put up mainly by Pep Boixados (Rosso’ who runs Deu Dits Rocodromo in Barcelona) since 1985 and Gee since 2000 (climbcatalunya.com). Other routes were put up by Jordi Pou, who nearly single-handedly put Margalef on the climbing map. But Abella is not just about hard lines and offers lots of technical wall and slab climbing as 50% of the 200+ routes go from 3 to 6c!!
The only missing thing was a summer climbing sector. Throughout the year geologists from around Europe come to view the unique landscape formations surrounding the village. One of those, three successive tufa stuffed rock arches have given way to a new incredible summer sector that stays shaded pretty much all of the time and is blessed by the ambient cool air of 1100m altitude.
Climbers are not the first to inhabit this feature. It used to be an ideal hideaway for local young men from Franco’s army and its name, "El Forat dels LLadres" (The Robber’s Cave in Catalan) hints at even earlier occupations. Today the access is aided by a 35 meter via ferrata which can be found after a 15 min steep walk from the Costera sector. A good warm up, with beautiful views over the valley, the walk-in offers the sector a serenity and peace unknown to more roadside crags.
For all information on routes or access you can ask Nick Durand or Ella Moore who are setting up ecological refuge on the village square (facebook/abella.climb, opening 1st March 2014) and who maintain an up-to-date topo.
TOPO: Abella de la Conca, Spain
18/11/2010 - Lleida, sport climbing in Spain