TOPO Via ferrata

Roc d’Esquers Ferrata, Escaldes-Engordany

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The ascent of Roc d'Esquers, above Escaldes-Engorny, is a beautiful ferrata, homogeneous in level, atypical and ultimately rather difficult. The route zig-zags around a large, rather chaotic cliff in a wild, forested atmosphere, far from the noise of the city. It's a sequence of multiple walls and dihedrals to negotiate, often using the rock for feet and with a few more technical or physical passages. There's more to come on the way out: you'll have to hike all the way up to Coll Jovell. Then it's back down to enjoy the peaceful Madriu valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Technical summary

Departure point: Vall de Madriu parking lot, route d'Engolasters, Escaldes-Egordany, Andorra.
Type of route: via ferrata
■ Direction: west
Fitted length: 350m
Vertical rise: +530 m
Estimated total time: 2h30 to 3h30
■ Min and max altitude: 1250 m / 1780 m
Equipment in place: excellent, with numerous rungs and chains
Equipment required: standard equipment

Difficulties: K4- or D-, several vertical sections and a few slightly overhanging steps, use of rock for feet in many places.

Ressources

Topo de la ferrata sur deandar (Spanish)

Access to the place

At the village of Escaldes-Engordany, just above Andorre-la-Vieille. At one of the traffic circles, turn right (coming from Spain) towards Engolasters and Vall de Madriu. Climb a few hairpin bends in the c/de la Plana to find the parking area reserved for hikers and the via ferrata (€1 per day).

Map & topo

The route of the via ferrata in purple is indicative. Voir en plein écran

Itinerary description

Hiking to the start 15'

Leave the parking lot at the top and climb the road to the left (signposted vers ferrata). The path starts just there on the right from the road towards Cami de les Molleres. The ferrata is also signposted. Climb for 5′ on this path, which goes into the vegetation, then turn left (sign) to quickly follow the yellow dots back to the start.

Course 1h30 à 2h

Part 1

This is a series of large inclined or near-vertical slabs (over)fitted with thumb-sized rungs and chains. The route zigzags between rocks and trees. The moss that covers the rock is in lush green hues, and the torrent below gives its voice. You soon feel far from the city.
Part 2

The difficulties begin. The route becomes more vertical and the rungs more widely spaced. 3 more aerial and rather difficult passages have to be negotiated on the slope. There's a lot of arm-pulling and a fun recovery on a rocky ridge. Footing is often on the wall, making the climb more technical. It ends on a flat area.
Part 3

The final section is the most spectacular. Previously a bit of a cliff face, the route then climbs up a large, well-equipped ridge overlooking the entire valley and the village of Escaldes below. A short (5m) but very airy Tibetan bridge awaits you up there: a foot chain and 2 cables and that's it. A final vertical pitch and the route crosses a ridge that we de-climb on the other side. A few rungs further on, you reach the ferrata proper.

Back

We now have to reach Coll Jovell (1780 m), and the path up to it, marked with yellow dots, is no easy task. Once at the pass, take the GR path behind the pass and descend to the right. At the first fork in the road, follow the GR11 down cami dels Matxos to the right. Before Ramio, turn right on the GR11 cami de la muntanya to Entremesaïgues. Continue along this GR11 towards c/ de la Plana, where a path literally paved with cobblestones leads to the parking lot.

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