TOPO Canyoning

Barranco Fondo, Sierra de Guara

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Nicknamed the "Barranco de las culebras" (snakes present in the final sector at the time), this barranco lies just before the village of Almunias and ends in the tranquil waters of the rio Balces, just behind it. Accessible and without great difficulty, the descent is superb from the large initial cirque, passing through a small wild canyon, the estrechos and then the impressive final sector of the oscuros, with a few well-filled potholes. This is a dry canyon all year round, except for the final full potholes, but beware of the Balcez flow for a smooth return. The loop is quite long, but the atmosphere and beauty of the site are well worth the detour.

Technical summary

Location ✦ Almunias de Rodellar
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

Ressources

Topo of barranco Fondo on Descente Canyon

Access to the place

From Leida (A2) continue towards Huesca. Just before Huesca, turn right towards Abiego, then Bierge, and continue towards Rodellar. Just before reaching the village of Almunias de Rodellar (km 9), there's a sign indicating "Barranco Fondo 840m". Park just after it on the track to the left. The trailhead to the barranco is also signposted here.

Map & topo

Itinerary description

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.

Part 1

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.
2nd part

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.
3rd part

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!
Part 4

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.

Back

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.

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