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Gorgas Negras, Sierra de Guara

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Perhaps the most emblematic canyon in the Sierra de Guara, and for good reason. A challenging, wild and demanding aquatic course, in a splendid mineral universe where the sculpted limestone and translucent green waters of the Rio Alcanadre begin their course through the Sierra. The entrance to a gigantic fault is via a very long corridor of black-tinted limestone, with a succession of pools, reaches and small chaotic formations requiring very aquatic progress. At the end, the canyon veers 90° for a second, more open and slightly less aquatic section: the scenery remains splendid, and you alternate between walking and swimming in small narrows and much colder water due to a resurgence halfway along. A magnificent option that's not to be missed, all that's left is to take advantage of a good weather window and good water conditions to get started.

Progression aquatique dans les gorges noires

Technical summary

Type ✦ Water canyon
Location ✦ Rodellar, Sierra de Guara
Region ✦ Aragon
Country ✦ Spain
Orientation ✦ South and East
Downhill length ✦ 5km
Vertical drop ✦ 205m
Difficulty ✦ v3 - a5 - IV
Duration ✦ 8h to 9h
Interest ✦ ★★★

Access to the place

The canyon starts from the village of Rodellar. On the A2 between Lleida and Huesca, turn towards Abiego, Bierge and then Rodellar at the end of the road. Start from the village.

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start (2h30 à 3h, 10kms, 475m de D+)

A long approach, but not too energy-consuming if you leave early to avoid the sun and heat of the Sierra. From Rodellar, descend behind the village in the direction of the Surgencias del Mascun. Head north along the climbing areas, round the dolphin to reach the crossroads at the foot of the via ferrata. Turn left (west) towards Gorgas Negras (sign). The path climbs up the barranco de las Gargantas and, at the top, forks: on the left is the return path from the Barrasil start, on the right towards Nasarre. Go right into a winding gorge, then turn west. New fork: follow Nasarre, the terrain is flatter, cross the abandoned village joining the GR1 and continue past the village tourjours on the GR1. It descends a little and you can see the entrance to Gorgas Negras in the distance. Further down, leave the GR1 and turn left towards Gorgas Negras, again signposted. This is a long, winding descent through undergrowth, finally crossing and recrossing the Rio Alcanadre at the bottom, until you find the entrance to the canyon, where the Rio Used emerges from the right. You can gear up here, or possibly further on, at the entrance to the gorge.

Course (4h à 5h)

The descent is very aquatic, especially in the 1st section, so check the water flow before you start. The water is colder at the end of part 1 and in part 2, so wetsuit quality is essential. There are 3 rappels, all in part 1. Some are apparently "jumpable", so check with water level. As far as commitment is concerned, in part 1, there's no escape route and only 1 or 2 opportunities to get out of the flood. In the second part, it's much more open and you can easily get out of the torrent bed, even if you can't find a path to escape before Chasa;

Part 1: Las Gorgas Negras (2h to 2h30)

After a quarter of an hour in the water to thread our way through the limestone corridor, we find the 1st abseil R1 (7m) on the right-hand side at the end of a small rocky ledge. Behind, the aquatic route continues, with small basins and jumps, but without difficulty. About 45' further on, the second abseil R2 (8m) is equipped on the right bank, and can be avoided by unclimbing the large boulder in the middle. Another 15' of aquatic progression brings us to the canyon's finest abseil, the R3 (12m), equipped on the left bank, beneath a well-watered waterfall. We swim out to continue in the color, which is beginning to take on orange hues. Before leaving this first section, the water noticeably cools and loses a few degrees... Then, in great chaos, the canyon makes a big 90° left turn to reveal the more open second section.
Part 2: Estrechos de Tedero to La Chasa (2h to 2h30)

After the chaos of the bend, we walk on flat ground, sometimes in the water, as the gorge becomes much more open. After about 1h15, we come to a back waterfall (R7 on the topo?) that can be avoided from the left with a fixed rope. We didn't see the R5 and R6 abseils on the topo, nor any 22m abseils. After that, another 1h of canyoning, alternating water-walking and swimming in long reaches and beautiful narrow spots. As you progress, the canyon opens up more and more and the water disappears a little. After around 2 hours, we come to a large opening and a rock cut into the characteristic pink stone: La Chasa. A cairn on the rim indicates the return path.


Take the small path leading out of the canyon on the left bank and climb steeply to reach the Collado de San Cristobal in about 30'. Continue on to the approach fork at the top of the Barranco de la Gargantas. Then retrace the route in the opposite direction: barranco de la Gargantas, the dolphin and the switchbacks back to Rodellar.

Map & topo

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