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Nuria Gorge, Ribes de Freser

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Above Ribes de Freser, the Gorges de Nuria canyon is billed as one of the most challenging in Catalunya. With today's low flow, the descent is ideal. The complete version proposed here includes the Gorges (upper Nuria), the lower section and the final stretch to the Daïo power station. Despite the discontinuity of the route, it's quite spectacular, with deep waterfalls and lots of water. A few impressive jumps and slides, fortunately avoidable, and a beautiful aquatic atmosphere in a typical Pyrenean setting.

Technical summary

Type ✦ Water canyon
Location ✦ Ribes de Freser
Region ✦ Catalunya
Country ✦ Spain
Length ✦ 1.2km
Vertical drop ✦ 300m
Difficulty ✦ v3-a4-IV
Max abseiling ✦ 25m
Duration ✦ 3h to 4h
Interest ✦ ★★

Access to the place

Go to Ribes de Freser, above Ripoll, and climb the road to Vall de Nuria. Then, 2 options: either go up to Queralbs and start the approach from there (better for the exit at the end of the canyon), or go to the Daïo power station, which we did so that we could also do the Canal de Freser loop (and also because it's difficult to park in Queralbs).

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 1h15

From La Centrale, cross the bridge over the Freser and climb towards Nuria. The path climbs steeply, then crosses over to join the Nuria torrent at the Cremal bridge. From here, climb again to pass higher up on the right, at the bottom of the Pont del Sastre. After several hairpin bends, the trail passes a rocky belvedere at the top of the gorge. A little further on, take the narrow path which descends to the left (cairn) and ends at the water intake, the starting point of the canyon, upper section (les Gorges).

Course 2h à 3h

A very watery canyon, we advise against descending if the water level is more than 2 fingers above the intake wall. Can be done in late summer or early autumn, but not after rain or at any other time, as it becomes dangerous. With a normal or slightly low water flow, as is the case today (low-water level), it can be used in good conditions. The big jumps and slides are impressive, but can be avoided by handrails and abseiling off the waterfall. The lower section seems to be more popular, especially with groups.

The topo from the Inextremis Aventura website shows some abseils that are apparently no longer placed in this way in the lower section.

Part 1: The Gorges (1h to 1h30′)

The upper, more incised section starts from the small dam and ends at the Pont del Sastre. The 5 obstacles all follow directly on from each other, or almost.

Rappel 1 (14m, RG)

From the metal structure of the channel "s opening gate in the gorge, the abseil provides access to the torrent bed, in the water. Just a little further on, a small 3m slide.

Abseil 2 or Toboggan (9m, RD)

The start of the toboggan is not obvious, but with a bit of shortcut, you can slide a little lower to finish the last 2m in the void.

Rappel 3 or Toboggan (17m, RD)

A very impressive slide with a turn and a final eject. Alternatively, abseil in the active section.

Rappel 4 (14m, RG)

New abseil in the active section with a possible jump from a ledge below the belay (not done).

Rappel 5 (14m, RD)

From a handrail that climbs to the right above the waterfall, vertical abseil that ends in a large basin. You can see the Pont del Sastre. To abseil the rope, you may have to move far downstream to limit friction.

Reach the pont del Sastre, from where you can make a 12m (14m?) jump before climbing back up to the left bank to take the approach path in the opposite direction to the pont de Cremal.
Part 2: Nuria inferior (1h to 1h30′)

The lower, more open section begins at the Cremal bridge and ends after the last jump-toboggan or 25m volado abseil. The obstacles are less continuous, and there are a few passages of walking or de-escalation.

Rappel 6 (18m, RD)

After walking and unclimbing a step to the left, there's a huge boulder in the middle of the torrent and behind it, the installation. The abseil descends an open, angled double cascade to end in a wide, shallow basin. Final climb in the active section.

Abseil 7 (10m RD)

Rappel de-escalade next to the waterfall and finish dry. Walk and pass a small basin to access the next abseil.

Rappel 8 (15m, RG)

A knotted rope (10m) in the active section allows you to skip the 1st part and find yourself on a small ledge from which you can perhaps jump (far then) or do a short 5m abseil and finish by swimming in a basin.

Rappel 9 (11m, RG) or jump (10m)

Rappel next to the waterfall through a narrow corridor. 10m jump from a small promontory just below the belay. Alternatively, apparently a higher jump possible on the RD (? not done).

Rappel 10 (25m, RG) or Jump (8m) + Slide (17m)

The highlight of the canyon! For the brave, an 8m jump into a 1st basin followed by a mega-impressive 17m toboggan de la muerte eject. For the rest of us, for example, take the handrail on the left, equipped with a few rungs or pedals, to access the opposite side of a 25m volado abseil that plunges into the small basin at the bottom.

Rappel 11 (8m, RG) or jump (8m)

Small final abseil to exit the basin, jump not made but perhaps doable by jumping far away...

Walk a little in the water to quickly find the end of the route and the path to the right that leads back to Queralbs (if returning to option 1).


2 options: either exit to the right and join Queralbs before descending on the road to the power station, or finish in the torrent bed all the way to the end for a true integral, which is what we did. There's a lot of walking and unclimbing in the boulders and overhangs, and in the middle there's a beautiful series of open waterfalls that can be passed by 1 abseil of around 20m on the left bank at the end of a handrail. In both cases, the return journey takes around 1 hour, with the 1st option probably less tiring. Unless you've left your car in Queralbs and made the approach from the village.

Map & topo

Voir en plein écran



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