Margalef is a new rock climbing paradise in Spain, just a few hours away from both Montsant and Siurana. There are over 500 routes of all types and the quality is awesome: big overhangs, big holds, small pockets, tufas, bouldery routes, power endurance, stamina... and many are 5 star quality.
The 'alma mater' nowadays is Jordi Pou, the owner of the refuge in Margalef who has almost single handedly developed climbing in this valley. Jordi gives us the following brief history of the area: 'It all began in 1996 when, looking for a way to escape from the city, I began searching for a new place to equip and run a refuge. There's a lot of rock in Catalonia and so it was just a matter of time and patience.
One day it occurred to me to go for a drive around Montsant and that's how I discovered this small village. I walked through the swamp past the chapel and it suddenly all became extremely clear. This was the place I was looking for, this is where I wanted to live. So that's how it all started. Everything was done, but there was no climbing through. It was incredible!
During the first few years I was the only person to equip new routes, and the sectors Llepafils, Verdures Can, Can si fa o no fot y and Laboratori came to life. But after a while other people came and were eager to give me a hand, in particular Joan Ribera and Toni Albero, the creators of fantastic, famous sectors such as 'El Racó de les Tenebres' and 'El Balcó de l'ermita.'
12 years have passed and Margalef has grown into something big. In recent years a remarkable number of hard routes have been created and climbed. Oscar Jimenez and Dani Andrada were the first to believe in Margalef's potential for extremely hard routes and they first climbed, then created new routes. Then, a bit later, Ramonet came along and climbed pratically everything!'
From Barcellona take the motorway AP 2 - E 90 towards Lleida/Lerida, turn off at exit 8 (L'Albi) and drive southwest past El Vilosell towards Bellaguarda. Shortly before reaching Bellaguarda turn off south to reach Margalef. The crags come into view on the right before reaching the village, while the Refuge is located at the village entrance on the right. Alternatively, fly to Zaragoza and drive to Lleida. Calculate roughly 2 hours from either Barcellona or Zaragoza.
Powerful conglomerate climbing, mainly on sharp pockets.
FOOD AND ACCOMODATION
Free camping close to the dam, or accommodation in the refuge "Can Severet" run by local climber Jordi Pou.Tel. +34 977 819008email: firstname.lastname@example.org
There is a huge, disproportionate lack of education which may jeopardize the future of the area: Margalef is located in a natural park and wild parking and human excrement are creating access problems. Please do not park at the entrance to the olive groves or within them, and take all trash and toilet paper with you.
Margalef climbing guidebook by Vicent Palau and Maya Ayupova, 2017. 82 sectors, +1400 routes. On sale at the Rifugio.
Alternatively, purchase the digital format by Maya Ayupova and Vincent Palau on 27 Crags.com