TOPO Via ferrata

Santo Cristo, Olvena

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A lovely little route to discover the rio Eresa gorge in the Somontano region, just a stone's throw from the Sierra de Guara, near Barbastro. The via ferrata starts from the road and climbs the cliff overlooking the gorge to reach the small village of Olvena. The first part of the route is not difficult, but resembles an equipped path up a canal, before descending a little and covering a second, more ferrata-like section, more aerial, with an interesting traverse to exit at the mirador. Some great climbing routes have been mapped out here, and a promising continuation is under construction above the rio, including a suspension bridge a good 50 metres above the water. Turquoise water, a secluded spot to discover despite the presence of the road.

Technical summary

Location ✦ Olvena
Region ✦ Aragon
Country ✦ Spain
Type ✦ Via ferrata
Vertical rise ✦ 190m
Difficulty ✦ K2
Duration ✦ 1h30 to 2h

Access to the place

From Barcelona, take the A2 to Lerida, then head for Huesca on the N-240 to Barbastro. Here, turn towards Benabarre on the N-123. The road enters the gorge a little further on, through tunnels. The village of Olvena is signposted on the left, and we continue until we come to the exit of a tunnel (the second, I think), signposted "Puente de la Sierra". There's a space to leave your car on the left.

Map & topo

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 5'

Take the path to the right of the tunnel down to the puente de la Sierra, which crosses the rio. Cross over and climb up to the right to quickly find the start of the ferrata in a sloping canal.

Course 45'à 1h

The via ferrata faces south. The equipment is excellent. It's an easy, introductory route.

1st part

The route follows a fairly open channel, then becomes increasingly narrow. We use the lifeline and a few oppositions to get out of the hole. It's not a difficult route, just a well-equipped path. We gain altitude and the view of the gorge behind us is immediately much more aerial. At the end of this channel, the route turns completely left to make a downhill transition onto the more exposed side of the cliff, above the gorge.
Part 2

More like a ferrata. The passages are more vertical, but still without any real difficulty. A step or 2 of climbing to exit into a gap and traverse a ridge with the whole void directly above the rio some 150m below. The end is a diagonal traverse, very well equipped but with the only rock (in some places very polished) for your feet. This is perhaps the most difficult passage. Final exit at the viewpoint over the village of Olvena.

Back

From the viewpoint, descend to the village and turn right just before the church. Follow the signs and take the GR winding down to the bridge. On the other side of the bridge, following the cables to the right, you'll come to a suspension bridge which is under construction for a continuation of the défilé?

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