May 2009.   Report by: Patrick Winter


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Inspired by photographs and an article in a Climber magazine a few years ago Bryan and I finally journeyed to Riglos in Northern Spain, which lies about 150 miles west of Barcelona, just south of the Pyrenees.

Riglos is an extremely impressive place. The climbing is on unrelentingly steep pillars, (typically 1000ft ) of conglomerate rock, welded together (or so we are assured) in a sandstone matrix. The sandstone and limestone cobbles range in size from small potatoes to space hoppers and all looks most improbable as far as climbing is concerned, but during the week we never managed to pull anything out despite our mistrust of these holds! The atmospheric climbing here is enhanced by griffon vultures circling overhead or sometimes below us.

We were quite fortunate with the weather and climbed everyday. The climbs are equipped with bolts but nuts and friends came in useful as the in situ protection was often quite spaced. The climbing is exposed and strenuous but on fairly positive holds. A common feature on these climbs is the pancha or belly, a bulge that must be surmounted on usually good hand holds above, but little for the feet below so a bit of desperate thrutching was often required!

Perhaps the best climb we did was Los Mosquitos 6B on a stunning leaning tower known as El Visera (the Visor). A series of steep interesting corners culminated in a thrilling wall traverse, and finally a steep headwall. On some of the climbs in this sector the rock is so overhanging that at belays the climbers let the ropes dangle down in space!

The routes we did are shown on the second photo.

Accommodation was in a guest house in the village just below the crags. In fact we were so close to the climbs that we usually geared up in our room and then walked to the start of our route in less than five minutes! We had hoped to buy a guide book from the local bar but the guide book we discovered was out of print and the local bar closed all week. Not to worry – we had some topos with us and ate and drank quite well each night at the local refugio for about 5 each.

On one of the days we made a round trip of about 150 miles to revisit Terradets (see Trip Report - Costa Daurada 2007) to tackle the classic Smoking 6B, a six pitch route on the huge wall of Paret de Bagasses on immaculate limestone. A great climb which left us exhilarated and drained in about equal measure!

All in all another great climbing holiday!