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Ferrata dels Patacons, Vilaplana

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North-west of Tarragona, in the Sierra de Prades, the ferrata dels Patacons, equipped in 2016, offers an original route along the walls overlooking the Reus valley and superb views of the Mediterranean coast. The route is not so obvious, with numerous vertical passages, large monkey bridges and a hyper-aerial overhanging traverse. A great option in the area, close to the other ferratas of Serra del Mestral and Aiguacoll a little further south.

Technical summary

■ S tarting point: Vilaplana, route d'Albiol, Catalunya, Spain
Type of route: via ferrata, mainly traverses
■ Direction: south-west
Fitted length: 480 m
■ Vertical rise: +90 m
Estimated total time: 2h to 2h30
■ Min and max altitude: 800 m / 850 m
Equipment in place: 4 suspension bridges
Equipment required: standard equipment

Difficulty: Difficult or K4, a slightly overhanging and very aerial traverse, abseiling or de-escalation.

Access to the place

From Reus, take the T-704 to Vilaplana. Go through the village and climb the steep, winding road to gain height. Park at a large wooded esplanade on the side of the road, before the fork to L'Albiol. GPS coordinates: 41°14'35.37″N - 1° 3'40.71″E

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 10'

From the parking area on the west side, take a small footpath to the rear and join the GR-172. Follow it to the right, then descend to the left, passing Font del Roure. Just after, leave the GR and follow the cami dels Cingles, which runs along the bottom of the walls in the woods, until it passes under the start of the ferrata on a small orange wall with a silver signpost (see photo).

Course 1h30 à 2h

The recently built ferrata is perfectly equipped. The route alternates between climbing and walking on paths or rocky ledges. There are mainly rungs, a small ladder to get over an overhanging start and 4 suspension bridges between the needles. The difference in altitude is fairly small, as the route is often traversed, with rather short, difficult sections. The final abseil can be avoided, as can the abseil back down from the final needle, except if there are a lot of people to avoid obstructing the ascent (otherwise, simply de-escalate in the opposite direction to the ascent, without difficulty).

Section 1

The small starting wall (which we missed) joins a ledge to follow to the right to tackle a first pitch in successive small landings, then a beautiful second aerial pitch in a magnificent carved dihedral. We exit above it to continue westwards to the left on a beautiful ledge carved into the rock. Further on, after a bend, a step up leads to another hollowed-out ledge. End of 1st section.
Section 2

Walk along the ledge that leads to the famous 6 or 7m overhanging and hyper-aerial traverse... sensations! Then it's back down to reach bridge n°1 (22m). Continue on the other side, traversing another ledge that joins the small ladder. Climb it to get over the overhang at the start and continue on the beautiful horizontally cracked slab. Walk around the rock. End of Section 2.
Section 3

It starts with a huge bridge, n°2 (28m), which pitches a little in the middle (cf. Front page photo). On the other side, a new wall has to be de-escalated to reach bridge n°3 (22m), which is shorter and links up with the final needle. End of section 3.
Section 4

This is simply a 20m ascent of the aiguille. It's not difficult and you come back down by the same route (20m abseiling or de-escalation). Then cross the small bridge n°4 (16m) to exit to the right at a gap which marks the end of the route.

Back

Walk behind the gap. At a small log on the ground, there is a passage in the rock. Pass through this fairly narrow fissure to exit on the other side. Follow the path, which will in fact descend and pass underneath again (the 10m abseil is further on after the log, but is not really of interest). Continue on past Cova dels Patacons, which forms a natural bridge. Follow the path behind, with a few more short equipped sections, before returning to the start of the ferrata by passing under the course. Finish with the approach walk in the opposite direction.

Map & topo

Photos

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