Region ✦ Sierra de Guara, Aragon
Country ✦ Spain
Type ✦ Torrential canyon
Vertical rise ✦ 190m
Difficulty ✦ v4-a1-IV
Max abseiling ✦ 28m
Duration ✦ 4h to 4h30
Distance ✦ 1200m
Access to the place
Hiking to the start 5'
Follow the path and you're soon at the top and edge of the starting cirque. The first abseil is on the right, under a shrub (rope access).
Course 3h à 3h30
The canyon was opened in 1987, and the equipment is correct. A wetsuit is not necessary in summer. A 2x30m rope is ideal.
A series of abseils. The first (25m) to descend into the starting cirque, then a second on a tree (12m), followed by the next 2 without difficulty that can be linked (20 + 25 but passes with 2x40m). The 4th (20m) takes us into a large, more enclosed room.
This is a transitional section, in a sort of small canyon full of vegetation. The path is almost flat, with a few easily avoided pools.
The estrechos begin. The potholes are deeper, and to avoid them there are a few not-so-simple oppositions... otherwise you'll get wet up to your waist!
A first 7m abseil from a tree leads into the deepest part of the estrechos. Then 2 more abseils (7m and 8m) to enter the oscuros. It's very narrow and steep. The light filters gently over our heads. The basins can no longer be avoided, and we have to go for it, up to our waists let's say, but without too much difficulty. The exit onto the Rio Balces is superb.
Go left up the Balces. After 2 large bends (easy to negotiate with your thighs), you come to the exit of the barranco de los Oscuros del Balces. There's a large, deep basin and a small iron bridge. Follow the path that climbs straight ahead, with a wooden fence to your left. It's quite long, but you eventually reach a small pass at the very top of the ridge, level with the track where you left the car, but much higher up. Descend to the left for 30′ to get back to the starting point.