TOPO Via ferrata
Location ✦ Montserrat
Region ✦ Catalunya
Country ✦ Spain
Vertical rise ✦ 250m
Difficulty ✦ K6
Duration ✦ 3h30 to 4h
Access to the place
Hiking to the start 30'
Take the path opposite the refuge. The path climbs up on the right, joining the GR 172. When you reach an electricity pylon, and below the Santa Cecilia needle, fork left to go up to the large gorge between the 2 cliffs (paret de Santa Cecilia and paret de San Jeroni). You can either follow the torrent bed or go around it to the right (small path). Higher up, the gorge splits into two channels. Take the canal del mejilón on the right (on the left is the canal de san jeroni) and follow it until you reach the foot of the equipped track. At this point, you'll also find the start of the via ferrata de la Teresina on the right. The canal enters a narrow chimney, with a sign reading "canal del mejillón". This is where it all begins. Get your muscles ready!
The canal, which faces due north and has a drop of around 250m, is very steep and vertical. Equipment in place, a little old, without lifelines in places, with some exposed passages. You may need gloves, a safety rope and a good mental attitude.
This sets the tone. Fifteen-meter chimney, narrow, vertical, smooth wall. It heats up fast and hard. We come to a rock wedged between the 2 walls and exit by recovering 2m higher and crawling through a mousehole with our feet in the air. Next, the canal continues to climb steeply, and we put in a good series of arm-powered climbs on large chains, the only possible aid (not a single rung).
Difficult, even more so than the initial length, this consists of a passage with a slight downward slope, followed by an overhang that requires an awkward recovery. Here, you'll need a lanyard if you want to take a break and give your poor arm and back muscles a breather! The rest is as demanding and steep as ever. There are several small overhanging walls to negotiate and sections of path at 50°. In short, no time to breathe. The last 10 minutes finish you off with a steep dirt and root track where hundreds of mussels lie (discarded by the restaurant at the top of the canal at the time!!) and an endless series of arm pulls to help (although we did it on slippery, muddy ground). Exit to the plateau after 1 hour of continuous effort.
There are several possible options: descend via the Teresina, via the Sant Jeroni canal or, as we did, via the Canal del Moro a little further east, which is what we tried. The latter canal has now been devastated by the heavy rains of the 2000s, and the equipment has suffered. That said, it's not too interesting because it's steep and steep. Only the last part is interesting. You reach the GR-172, which you follow to the left to reach the Santa Cecilia refuge.