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Musical Exprès a la Roca dels Arcs, Vilanova de Meïa

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Vilanova de Meïa, in the Segre valley, northwest of Barcelona. A wild site, with exceptional walls. If the aim is to climb the fantastic Roca dels Arcs in the middle, taking the most accessible route, the Musical Exprès is certainly one of the most feasible, but still very demanding: 225m of hyper-vertical wall, constant commitment given the distance between the belay points, in short a real test that takes us into another dimension of the great route. It's a very demanding experience, which takes a lot of mental and physical energy. On the whole, the route seems under-priced, "old-fashioned". Other great routes await us right here, such as Rampas Invertidas, but we need to recharge our batteries to get going again... so we'll wait a while.

Ambiance dans L1

Technical summary

Type ✦ Semi-equipped big route climbing
Location ✦ Vilanova de Meïa
Region ✦ Catalunya
Country ✦ Spain
Length ✦ 225 m, 6 pitches
Exposure ✦ South
Level of difficulty ✦ 6b+ or 6a/A1
Interest ✦ ★★★

Access to the place

From Vilanova de Meïa, north of the A2 between Barcelona and Leida. In the village, take the small road heading north (Terradets, Isona). The imposing wall of the Roca dels Arcs soon comes into view. Pass the "font de la Figuera" and climb up to reach the gorge. You're now at the level of the Roca dels Arcs, facing its eastern face. There's a bridge and you can park just beyond it on the side of the road. The starting path descends right here (same starting point as for the Necronomicon route).

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 20'

Take the path down to the torrent, cross it and climb the other side. A little further on, leave the fork on the right that leads to the routes on the east face and continue on to quickly skirt the foot of the Roca dels Arcs. Go ahead for a few minutes and spot a large right-angled break and a blackened area on the cliff. At this point, climb towards the foot of the wall to easily find the start of the route (arrow + written indication on the rock).

Course

The route opened in 1982 faces south. So climb it early in the summer! 225m in 6 pitches (40m, 35m, 35m, 40m, 40m, 35m) with a free climbing grade of 6b+ or 6a/A1. Sustained and committed route, with remote points. You'll need at least 12 quickdraws, a set of friends to add more points, especially at the start of the belays, and a ladder to pass the 6b+ in artif'.

L1 (40m, IV+)
This IV+ is worth a V with no worries, and what's more, there are only 5 points for the 40m. In short, a start that sets the tone: it's going to be tough, and you'll have to count on a level higher than the original topo... Relay 1 is comfortable, a little below the roof of L2.

L2 (35m, 6b+)
Exit from the expo belay (place a friend) to reach the underside of the roof. The passage is difficult (6b+) and we passed it in A1e. There are some good holds, but they're far apart and a bit slippery. In the end, it went well (we left some juice behind...) but it was the exit and the rest that were more complicated. It's said to be V+, but I'd say it's 6a with no problem. A tricky 20m, on very thin bolts and nails at 4/5m. Much higher up, pass a horizontal crack and continue to reach the R2 belay on the right. A testing length.

L3 (35m, V)
The only well-equipped pitch from start to finish, although after the first 3 points, it becomes a little more remote. It's a very vertical V, with good holds but could be worth a V+ for continuity. We arrive at the belay on a little nook where we can sit down for a well-deserved rest and admire the valley below us...

L4 (40m, V+)
Right-hand start with no protection (friend almost compulsory). From the very airy V, 1st nail at 10m and we arrive on a sort of small flat where we stand up. Then it's on to the athletic but well-equipped V+ (passable as A0 if your arms are flat!). Above, a nice V climb to the R4 belay.

L5 (40m, V)
A long pitch advertised as V, but here too it's generally V+, with one or two fine pitches. It remains very vertical and even slightly overhanging in places. Distant points, an exposed pitch.

L6 (35, IV+)
Easy, but 3 nails in 35m, and here again, IV is worth V! The first 15m can be protected with one or two friends without worry. Big horizontal folds offer great holds, then the end is on an incline (exit to the right) but smooth, thinner climbing and unprotected. Arrival at the final R6 belay on a wide ledge, which is still several dozen meters from the summit.

Back

Go right, due east, following the ridge, which becomes narrow in places (you can stay roped up), until at the end you find a steep, slightly broken path, marked with kairns, which takes you along the northeast flank to the road.

Map & topo

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