TOPO Hiking

Canal del Ninet, Montserrat

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Please note that this route was recently de-equipped (June 2016) and is no longer feasible...This little hike nevertheless offered a nice loop on the West wall of Les Agulles with an equipped ascent via the Canal del Ninet. On our 2 visits, the fog rolled in and the terrain was wet and slippery, making the route more difficult. In any case, the terrain is quite broken up and little used, so beware of the rocks that easily slide down. The canal climbed directly to the left of the Bandereta and Palangana walls via an aerial couloir, then a steep couloir leading to the ridges. The route was by no means obvious, with little belay equipment and a few exposed, committed passages. However, it was possible to place a belay from above, notably on the 2 difficult passages at the start and in the small overhang on the last section. On the other hand, the view from the summit (which has cleared up somewhat) is magnificent, with exceptional vistas of the north face of Les Agulles and Les Frares Encantats.

Technical summary

Access to the place

From Barcelona, take the A2 towards Leida and exit at junction 570, after passing El Bruc, towards Montserrat and Manresa. Immediately afterwards, turn right at the petrol station and take the small, winding road up to the Can Maçana pass, where you can park. This is the starting point for the approach walk.

Map & topo

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 40'

Take the G.R 172 towards Santa Cecilia along the cami de la Roca Foradada to Coll de Guirló. Here, go straight ahead on a narrow path between the path to La Portella and the GR. Head more or less straight towards the cliffs. The path is narrow and stony, and quite steep at the end. You arrive at the foot of the Bandereta wall. Go left for a few minutes to find the 1st rope, the starting point of the canal.

Course

The west-facing channel is loosely equipped with old webbing or ropes. Bring your climbing gear, helmet, harness, rope and a tree relay.


Part 1

The 1st length of rope sets the tone: minimum equipment and commitment. 5/6 m of vertical rock (at least V free) with the help of a thin rope with knots (far away!) without the possibility of resting, as there's only 1 nail at the start, which doesn't serve much purpose. Once you've reached the top, climb up to the left on a small grassy ledge, then descend a little further to find yourself in a small bowl hanging low over the void, at the foot of the canal itself. Impressive aerial view of Montserrat's western plain.


Part 2

The ascent of the canal is made with a kind of double knotted strap, which is actually quite comfortable to grip. For the feet, you need to find your footing on the rock, but there's no difficulty other than the gas behind your back. The route then follows a diagonal to the right to reach a more recessed area with some vegetation. 2 belts go up at this point: one goes straight ahead into a narrow crack, the other shorter one goes left. Turn left and scramble up the gully between trees, roots and boulders.


Part 3

At the end of this inclined corridor, the path veers off to the left into a kind of enclosed recess, from which a knotted rope with a strap leads off. The length is not so obvious as it is very vertical, with even a slight overhang to be crossed by force of arms, with whatever foot supports you can find. The equipment is comfortable but difficult to belay, so the passage is exposed. If not, you can put a windlass on the top just in case. Finish with a series of straps to get your head out over the Agulles ridge, passing flush with the aiguille del Ninet.

Back

Descend a few metres to find the travessa de les Agulles path. There are several possible options. Either head back to the right to pass la Portella and return to the Can Maçana parking lot in 45′ maximum (shortest route). Or continue to the left to find the cami de les Agulles (or rappels del Melindro), which takes you down to the north face and reveals the impressive Roca Foradada and its gigantic ninja turtle head, the Cadireta (also known as morro de gos or dog's snout). It's surely the best choice, a little longer perhaps, but definitely worth a look.

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