TOPO Climbing

Easy Rider a la Paret de l’Aeri, Montserrat, Spain

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Départ L2

Well, it's done. We've seen it dozens of times, said we'd go for it, and this time we did: climbing the 300m of the impressive Aeri wall on the north face of Montserrat. The Easy Rider is a great classic, opened in 1978 and partly re-equipped since (matt grey studs), one of the great accessible routes on the north face. 5h30 to link the 9 pitches, some of which are particularly exposed, with potential falls of a good 20 meters. The grading is old-fashioned, with IV worth V, V almost 6a, and VI worth 6a, 6b or more. So beware. Add to this the hour of approach (invigorating!) and the hour of return (exhausting). It's a big route, a constant mental and physical effort, a fine, committed climb in a vertiginous atmosphere. Even the camera had a hard time of it, as the battery was flat in L4...

Technical summary

Access to the place

From Santa Cecilia via either the Can Maçana pass (west) or Monistrol (north). Park in the parking lot in front of the church.

Map & topo

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start

Start out on the GR path around the massif, which passes just above the road at this point, heading towards the monastery (east). Following the path, you soon come to the Abri wall, and the route is easily recognizable (left-hand side, with a characteristic pillar at the top, to the left of the antenna). Below the route, before a bend in the GR to the left, climb up a stony, vaguely-cleared channel to the foot of the cliff. There are 2 or 3 knotted ropes along the way. At the foot of the cliff, leave the ropes that continue to the right and continue under the trees. Pass the last large knotted rope leading back to the start. The start is not easy, as there are several routes starting from the same point. Position yourself in the axis of the dihedral, which extends into a curved crack rising to a characteristic lip 50m above the ground. There's a single parabolt and rusty pitons above it (hard to see).

Course

The route, facing East or North-East, is 300m long and comprises 9 pitches (35m, 25m, 30m, 30m, 35m, 35m, 35m, 40m, 10m). The equipment is very uneven, with the 6b+ pitch very well equipped (various equipment), the L3 and L6 very exposed with 2 or 3 points in 35m, and the rest with distant points forcing you to climb between the nails. Be careful at the start of L3, with a possible factor of 2 at the start of the belay (equip on arrival at the belay).


L1 (35m, V+)

1st nail high, 1st piton too, better afterwards. Unreliable rock, sounds hollow... Ojo! Dihedral to be passed with finesse.


L2 (25m, 6b+)

Very nice pitch, 1st half difficult to link up, not technical, balance problems and little footing. After leaving the crack, the end is more accessible. Remember to put down the 1st quickdraw of L3 when you reach the belay, as the nail is at 7/8m, 20m of potential fall, factor 2 from the belay...


L3 and L4 (30m +30m, V+)

2 pitches in a row as the belay seems to have been unequipped (?). The way out of R2 is diagonal, then over a very thin V+ lip, the rest is easier, fairly distant points. We're now on a large slab. Continue until you pass a final section of thin rock and reach the R4 belay point on a mini grassy ledge. 60m long and not all restful.


L5 (35m, V)

Again, a very exposed length. After the 1st close nail, a good 10m before the second, the same for the 3rd. Finish diagonally under the roof on the left, over a ridge, along a sabine (psychological point) to reach R5. Avoid the fall, 20m + pendulum!


L6 (35m, V)

Ditto, 1st point 5m and the next very, very far away... Follow a tree to cross to the right and reach the final ramp. Again, a very exposed length.


L7 (40m, V)

The end has been re-equipped with a line of dull gray parabolts strangely placed far to the right, whereas the climb is naturally to the left, where the rock is less weathered, close to the ridge (1st nail not visible from the belay, far right). A committed and very aerial length!


L8 (35m, V)

Curious finish, 3 nails then a passage in the crack with the help of roots, then a nail completely to the left. Exposed and not very pleasant passages. In short, we ended up in the roots and trees to make sure of it. Arrival on the small dirt pass near the summit.


L9 (10m, ?)

Not done, as we didn't see a nail ?

Back

It starts with a knotted rope and then a steep path on the rock to reach the antenna at the top of the Paret de l'Aeri. Then downhill on the west side to reach the Sant Jeroni canal, which you have to climb down under the pylons to get back on the GR and return to Santa Cecilia.

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