TOPO Canyoning

Le Llech, Villerach

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Canigou Massif, last day, a beautiful finale with the pearl of the local canyons and beyond: the descent of the Llech gorges. The course, which is very aquatic, is quite simply fantastic, as playful as you could wish, with no dead time, jumps, slides and abseils in a magnificent setting carved out of gneiss, and water that's not too cold - in short, top canyoning! We managed to traverse the canyon on our own, in ideal conditions, even though we set off halfway through the day. It's still a tough, challenging canyon (with only one vague escape route), but it's a must-see... a 5-star experience!

Technical summary

Type ✦ Water canyon
Location ✦ Villerach, Prades
Region ✦ Pyrénées-Orientales
Country ✦ France
Difficulty ✦ v4-a4-III
Vertical rise ✦ 160m
Distance ✦ 650m
Difficulty ✦ v4-a4-III
Duration ✦ 2h to 2h30

Access to the place

From the N116 from Perpignan to Prades. Just before Prades, turn left towards Villerach. Go through the village and follow the track (in good condition) for about 2km to reach a parking lot at the Col de Forn.

Map & topo

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 30'

A tricky climb. Go back up the wide track and, at a sharp right-hand bend, take the path that drops steeply down to the torrent bed. There's a tree and the path, which is not obvious because it's polished, broken up and very steep (in short, a hazard), is marked in blue.

Course 2h à 2h30

The north-facing canyon descends over a gradient of 160m. Opened in the 1980s, it was re-equipped in 1998. Bring a 40m rope. Find out about access regulations (e-mail the owner of the rock at the bottom of the canyon for authorization).

1st part

The 1st waterfall can be jumped (5m), followed by 2 small slides and then a pretty vertical 10m slide. The next waterfall (13m) is impressive, and can be abseiled at the start and finished by jumping off the end of a rope into the broth. Immediately afterwards, we continue along the side with a handrail to access a large 8m jump from an advanced piton above a large basin, followed by another large 8m slide and then enter a hiking and swimming section with small jumps and passages in a hole.
Part 2

A 1st jump (5m) with a straddle start, then a second before taking an elbow-breaking mini-slide that leads into a real washing machine (rope at the exit). Another slide (4m) and the highlight of the canyon with an "eject" slide: 5m inclined and a sliding jump of 6m, oops! difficult to negotiate... There's still the funny "caterpillar" slide to slide down before tackling the finale.
The finale

It starts with a 15m abseil almost under the waterfall, and then you can see the exit at the bottom of several tiered basins, which you will pass on a slide for the first 2 (6 and 7m) and then on a final jump (5m). A handrail on the left bank enables you to avoid the last basins.

Back

Descend to the edge of the large basin to remove your equipment, before climbing as steeply as you did on the outward journey up the blue-marked path which leads off to the right of the last waterfalls and winds through the woods to reach the parking lot.

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