TOPO Climbing

Desideratum a l’Agulla dels Espeleolegs, Montserrat

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Desideratum
Located on the west side of the Agulles wall, the Desideratum is sure to leave its mark. Engaging and really exposed, especially on the L1 and L2 starts and in the chimney, the caving finale is pretty rock'n'roll. The equipment in place is uneven, adequate in places but absurd at the start. L2 is particularly sustained, on a V+ that could be worth 6a, and L4 (chimney) demands a great deal of effort, especially as, once out of the narrowness of the channel, announced as V but worth more, you have to climb a more than vertical artif'. Difficult to rate: 1 star all the same for its originality, despite the lack of equipment. Located on the west side of the Agulles wall, the Desideratum is sure to leave a mark. Committed and really exposed, especially at the startSituated on the west side of the Agulles wall, the Desideratum is a real eye-catcher. Engaging and really exposed, especially on the L1 and L2 departures and in the chimney, the caving finale is pretty rock'n'roll. The equipment in place is uneven, adequate in places but absurd at the start. L2 is particularly sustained, on a V+ that could be worth 6a, and L4 (chimney) demands a great deal of effort, especially as, once out of the narrowness of the channel, announced as V but worth more, you have to climb a more than vertical artif'. Difficult to rate: 1 star nonetheless for originality, despite the lack of equipment.

Technical summary

Type ✦ Semi-equipped long route

Location ✦ Montserrat, South face

Region ✦ Catalunya

Country ✦ Spain

Lengths ✦ 4

Vertical drop ✦ 170m

Difficulty max ✦ 6a/Ae

Interest ✦ ★

Access to the place

From Barcelona, take the A2 towards Leida and exit at Bruc no. 572 (hotel). After the abandoned petrol station, fork right and wind up to the small Can Maçana pass. Park in the parking lot, the starting point for the approach.

Map & topo

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 45'

Take the GR up towards the wall, and at the Col de Guirlo, where the path branches off towards La Portera and the San Barbé refuge, take the small path that leaves in the middle. Follow it with many small switchbacks, aiming for the base of the cliff (sometimes ill-defined or taken up by vegetation). The end is quite steep under the trees, and when you reach the base, follow it to the left. Almost at the end, there's a small, slightly domed wall and 1 rusty spit (former start of the Canal del Ninet, where the knotted rope used to be). Here it is, 1 rusty nail to cross the wall... it's a good sign!

Course

The route has a northerly exposure and is 170m long in 4 pitches (25m, 45m, 50m, 50m), with L3 and L4 in the topo easily linked. Equipped but committed on the L1, L2 and L4 starts, the mandatory level is 6a. An estrep (pedal) is required in the active section on at least one pitch in the middle, where the bolts are quite far apart and the wall not very hooky.


Length 1 (25m, 6a)

Cross the wall with 2 or 3 fine steps, exit at the expo to join the ledge between the trees, then finish by walking on the left to R1 at the foot of a large wall.


Length 2 (45m, V+)

Long and sustained, starting with a very high 1st nail. The rest of the route is fine and vertical, then a small flat spot and a slight right turn to make the climb a little less sustained. The end is rotten, and you have to go around a broken boulder to reach R2 on the prof above.


Length 3 (35m, V+)

The start is fine but shorter than L2, the rest easier in the V. At the top, skip the intermediate belay and turn left into the small channel and walk up the chimney to R3, on the right-hand side, in the middle of the couloir. The atmosphere is closed in, with the shade gaining on the sun...


Length 4 (50m, V+/A1e)

This pitch is difficult to climb, especially the first 15m of the chimney. Reach the 1st nail in easy opposition, then cross to the open side to avoid getting trapped. It's narrow, very uncomfortable and the walls don't offer much. Continue diagonally upwards to find the 2nd nail, which is far too high!


There's another 5m to go to get past this nail, crawling vertically to extract yourself as best you can (exhausting!), and above that, it widens and you have to return to the closed side to find the 3rd nail, also very high. Then it's off to the opposite side of the wall and on to the active passage' in A0 and A1e in the middle. A physical outing, and I'm glad to be at the top!

Back

Abseil 25m to the east to reach the Traversa de las Agulles feel. Descend southwards to reach La Portella fairly quickly and return to the parking lot via the Col de Guirlo and the GR.

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