Ruins of an old castle above Lake Siurana
We hadn’t initially planned on climbing at Siurana, best known for its collection of the planet’s toughest routes. Alex Huber climbed the initial section of La Rambla in 1993 and in 2003, the Spaniard Ramon Julian climbed a continuation, La Rambla Direct, rated 5.15a.
Recently, Chris Sharma climbed an even harder route in Siurana, ‘Golpe De Estado’ (5.15b?).
Old Refugio on cliff and terraced gardens
While it’s fun to look at the world’s hardest climbs, which only two or three people in the world have ever climbed (or only one), most people want to climb on their vacations, not just look at a route that one person has done.
Siurana’s well-kept secret is several moderate cliffs, within easy walking distance of the campground, which are accessible to mere mortals. The trail to the Village Crags starts near the ruins of an old castle. You can park near the castle if driving to Siurana or walk to the crags from the nearby new campground. Climbers used to stay at the Refugio shown in the picture, but when we arrived it was closed and a large campground opened a short walk from the trail.
Town of Siurana
We walked to Sector Can Margues Lower, part of the “Village Crags”, where we climbed an assortment of easier routes on excellent less-than-vertical limestone with well-spaced newer bolts. From here, we walked to Sectors Can Gan Dionis and Can Facil where I found some very pleasant routes (in the 5.9 – 5.10 range) that I lead with no problems and Tristan lead some harder climbs.
While Siurana’s reputation may scare off less experienced climbers, I hope that in this blog I can put those doubts to rest. Europeans have learned that Spain provides a great vacation destination, with its dry sunny climate, charming villages, and extensive natural park systems, but many Americans don’t look past the reports of the latest 5.15 put up by the current world’s hot climber.