TOPO Via ferrata

La Teresina, Montserrat

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La Teresina, the first via ferrata opened in Catalunya by A.García Picazo in 1993, is THE Catalan classic to do (and do again). The route is rather difficult, mainly due to the many very aerial and impressive sections, including the arch at the start. It's a good opportunity to test your vertigo threshold. On the whole, the route follows a natural, logical progression on the rock, taking advantage of cracks, canals and ledges. The equipment, which is fairly old but has been re-equipped in places, is minimalist, and all the better for it. The ferrata climbs the northeast-facing Santa Cecila wall, then crosses the west face of the Sant Jeroni wall to finish at Montserrat's highest point, the Sant Jeroni mirador (1238m). The view over the Catalan plain and the Pyrenees is breathtaking. Unfortunately, it has been closed for some time...

Technical summary

Location ✦ Montserrat
Region ✦ Catalunya
Country ✦ Spain
Type ✦ Via ferrata
Vertical rise ✦ 450m
Difficulty ✦ K4
Distance ✦ 1000m
Duration ✦ 3h to 3h30

Access to the place

From Barcelona, take the A2 towards Leida and exit after Le Bruc at the Grand Hotel du Bruc. Further on, turn right towards the monastery and climb up to the Can Maçana pass, at the westernmost point of the massif. Just after the pass, turn right towards the monastery and follow the road along the cliffs to the Santa Cecilia refuge, where you can park. It's possible to get there by train + funicular from Plaza Espanya (FCG network), which drops you off at the monastery, but you then have to walk to the Santa Cecilia refuge (30′), a few kms further west.

Map & topo

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 40'

Not obvious and unmarked. Take the path opposite the refuge. The path to the right joins the GR 172. When you reach an electricity pylon, and below the Santa Cecilia needle, fork left to climb up to the large gorge. There are a few passages equipped with chains to climb up the torrent bed. Further up the gorge splits into 2: take the right-hand canal (on the left is the Sant Jeroni canal) and follow it until you reach the start. At this point, you'll also find the start of the canal équipé del Mejillón (straight down the chimney). La Teresina goes off to the right (2 nails 2 m above ground).

Course 2h

The via ferrata runs north-east to north-west and has a fairly steep gradient. Obstacles include numerous vertical passages, a final chimney and an aerial descent. More impressive than really difficult. Bring your standard equipment + a 40m safety rope.

Part 1

Climb the canal using chains or roots, then pass through a hole with an original exit equipped with bars. The trail rises, then turns due north on the cliffside to reach the natural arch. A very impressive passage, on the edge of the chasm, more vertiginous than really difficult. Then, the path winds diagonally, alternating natural fissures and climbs over large rocky slabs. The view is magnificent. Higher up, a small ledge, then 2 or 3 vertical pitches at the bottom of the void, before finally reaching the summit of the Santa Cecilia Needle. Aerial sensations guaranteed, and a magical view of the great walls of the North Face. We're halfway up and it's time for a break.
Part 2

The route to the summit starts by descending the aiguille to the right. An impressive descent between 2 walls with the valley underfoot. This is a challenging passage, and you can abseil over it. Further down, we pick up a small path on the flank which, with a few chains and ropes, will gradually lead us up to the final chimney. No difficulty here, just a good 1/2 hour of walking and climbing. At the end, you enter a narrow fault that shelters the chimney to be climbed. Recently re-equipped for the first 2 steps (which are otherwise a little technical), the chimney is very vertical and you can use the small rungs to pass the 25/30m dihedral. At the exit, you come out directly under the mirador, the final arrival point. Unbeatable 360° views over the massif, Catalonia and the Pyrenees.

Back

Descend the main path from the viewpoint, then fork right a little further down (after a large bend) to reach the Camell, go under it and climb up to the Portell de Migdia and find the Font del Llum canal, then the GR to the right. Other options: go back down the Sant Jeroni canal, which descends the north face much more quickly, or take the more strenuous Mejillon canal.

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