/ Catalunya with kids

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The sharp end - on 02 Feb 2013
Any advice on which crags are best? Any advice on where to stay where there is something of interest for children? Any good places to stay with self catering?

Completely vague as need the help and input of UKC here!

Been to Costa Blanca but fancied somewhere new but was wondering where to go where it is safe for a child to play at base of crag but also where on rest days there might be something fun to do...castle? beach? Etc.

Regards
cuppatea on 02 Feb 2013
In reply to The sharp end:

I have family in the Costa Brava but haven't climbed there yet.

I've researched the climbing only as far as bookmarking a few links.

http://climbinspain.com/area-overview/costa-brava/

http://www.planetfear.com/articles/In_Search_of_Solius_451.html

http://www.ressenya.net/intro/esportiva.htm

http://www.climbingaway.fr/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=3&a...

Mention is made of some topos but I've never been able to find them, nor trace a guidebook for Solius (which I'm mostly interested in as it's 20 km from where my Dad now lives!)
Directions vary in their ease but the lat long for Googlemapearth is 41.805918, 2.950151

Please keep the thread updated with anything you find :-)
In reply to cuppatea:

Topo for Solius here: http://ebookbrowse.com/topo-escalade-solius-pdf-d409729291


We enjoyed it, the granite is a bit gritty but there is enough there for a few days: http://www.pbase.com/chris_craggs/image/73345068


Chris
cuppatea on 02 Feb 2013
In reply to cuppatea:

or even 41.805646,2.950552

either way it's about 1km SW of the original coordinates
cuppatea on 02 Feb 2013
In reply to Chris Craggs:

Thanks Chris! I shall have a look at the links :)
JLS on 02 Feb 2013
In reply to The sharp end:

How about a chalet at Vilanova de Prades campsite? I ended up booking elsewhere but it looked ok for a family, with it's pool and near by crag.
The sharp end - on 03 Feb 2013
In reply to JLS:

Thanks...will def check that out. Interesting that not much on this topic...
Pete O'Donovan - on 03 Feb 2013
In reply to The sharp end:

Catalunya is actually a big area, with hundreds of climbing zones, thousands of sectors (individual crags) and tens of thousands of routes.

The coastal area is pretty well developed — though nothing like the ugly, sprawling mess on the Costa Blanca.

With respect to mixing climbing with 'interesting' locations for the family, you can easily combine the two.

For climbing + beaches the best option is Tarragona province.

For climbing + city life/architecture the best option is Barcelona province.

For climbing + wild/scenic mountain landscapes the best option is Lleida province.

Girona province has a wonderful coastline but the climbing options are somewhat limited.

The really good thing is that the road network is excellent, so driving between the Mediterranean beaches of Tarragona/Barcelona/Girona into the Lleida Pirineus mountains takes less than a couple of hours.

Self-catering accommodation is widely available throughout the region.

There are many campsites (including the previously mentioned one in Vilanova de Prades) which offer a full range of family-oriented services.

Pete.



The sharp end - on 03 Feb 2013
In reply to Pete O'Donovan:

Thank you Pete! Your province mini-descriptions were just the ticket! Definitely going to get your new guidebook too!

:)
The sharp end - on 05 Feb 2013
In reply to The sharp end:

Has anyone been to Lleida environs with a small child? Which crags would you recommend so that as you climb it doesn't disappear down a precipice near the belay ledge? Any good crags where kids can explore and play at bottom in relative safety?

Any information appreciated

Thanks!
Pete O'Donovan - on 05 Feb 2013
In reply to The sharp end:

Me again!

It rather depends on what grade-spread you're looking for (for the climbing adults) and what time of year you're planning to visit (for the orientation).

I've got loads of Catalan mates who bring their small children along to the Lleida crags with them, and with a few notable exceptions e.g. Tres Ponts (very exposed approach path above a river), La Pedrera in Collegats (tyrolean access across a river) and Agulles South in Santa Ana (steep slope below sector) I would rate the majority of the approaches and sector bases as reasonably 'safe' providing the kids don't stray too far away.

Pete.
heleno - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to The sharp end:

> Which crags would you recommend so that as you climb it doesn't disappear down a precipice near the belay ledge? Any good crags where kids can explore and play at bottom in relative safety?

There is a new book by Desnivel called "Donde Escalar en Espana" ("Where to climb in Spain"), which lists over 900 crags throughout Spain, and uses a Dummy icon to indicate those with child-friendly bases. It would be really useful for trip planning though you'd also need more local guides as well (Pete's guides are really inspiring).





heleno - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Pete O'Donovan:

>
> with a few notable exceptions e.g. Tres Ponts (very exposed approach path above a river)

I didn't think this would be too bad with children now that they've built the new bridges - crossing the C14 with young kids would be the real crux.

(I went to Tres Ponts a couple of months ago with my own child. However, he went on ahead, thoughtfully texted back to reassure me that I'd be fine on the approach path, and then went on to flash a 7b+. How times change in 16 years...)
The sharp end - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to Pete O'Donovan:

Hello you again. :) Thank you so much. I have also emailed you to thank you. :)

By the way excellent guidebooks! Next editions you could add a little symbol for each crag whether child friendly or not. I had figured the tyrolean cross would be a bit tricky. Tee hee.
Looks ace though.

Going this Spring (if manage to find suitable accomodation for a family...that seems to be the problem) in answer to your question and seeking mid grade climbs as partner just recovering from knee operation.

Best regards.

Ps superb photography in the guides btw- crags and climbers!
The sharp end - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to heleno:

Thank you...wonder how I can get hold of a copy to be sent here in Uk.

;)
cuppatea on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to The sharp end:
> (In reply to heleno)
>
> Thank you...wonder how I can get hold of a copy to be sent here in Uk.
>
> ;)


http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=533945&v=1#x7172194

In reply to cuppatea:
> (In reply to critter)
>
> http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/Dnde-escalar-en-Espaa/9788498292442
>
> £14.52 inc free worldwide delivery if it helps anyone.
heleno - on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to The sharp end:
> (In reply to heleno)
>
> Thank you...wonder how I can get hold of a copy to be sent here in Uk.
>
I got mine from http://www.amazon.co.uk/D%C3%B3nde-escalar-en-Espa%C3%B1a/dp/8498292441/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1...

(though cuppatea's source looks cheaper!)
cuppatea on 06 Feb 2013
In reply to heleno:

It was cheaper..but now out of stock.

Seems a friendly retailer though! If you follow my link the original shop provides a link to abebooks an online bookshop place :-)
Pete O'Donovan - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to heleno:

Oh yes, I'd forgotten about the new wooden walkways.

You're right about crossing the C14!

Pete.
Pete O'Donovan - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to The sharp end:

The thing about using the 'dummy' symbol (indicating a 'child-friendly' crag) is that it's completely dependent on the attitude of the parent/s.

Yesterday I was in Abella de la Conca (Lleida) where Nic Durand was showing me around some new sectors he's developing. After lunch he strapped his two year-old son into a baby carrier and off we went up very steep, rocky terrain followed by an incredibly exposed section of Via-Ferrata (which Nic has himself installed) to reach a series of stunning rock-arches high on the hillside. Coming back down we just abseiled the steeper sections. Both father and son were completely at ease with the whole experience.

With this thread in mind I joked with Nic about whether this sector could possibly get the 'dummy' symbol'. He said "Of course, why not?!"

Re your proposed trip in Spring: in Tarragona — Margalef, Sirana, Mont-ral, Arbolí, Vilanova de Prades, La Riba and La Mussara all feature several easy access sectors and high numbers of mid-6 to mid-7 climbs.

I'm having slightly more difficulty thinking of suitable areas in Lleida, though if it's too warm to climb in the sun (a distinct possibility given the spring weather for the last couple of years) then the shaded walls of Camarasa hold some of the best 6's in Catalunya, with reasonable approaches.

Whichever area you choose, accommodation shouldn't be an insurmountable problem.

Pete.
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The sharp end - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Pete O'Donovan:

Completely true! Totally dependent on parent perspective!

Area 3 in Lleida climbs has what look like some nice crags to get started with..but maybe I am barking up wrong tree completely. Interesting re your crag suggestions as so far all my friends who have been to Siurana say no go area with kids (btw talking about a young child.....not a toddler).

:)

Perles? Coll de Nargo? Too hot in April? Camerasa looks awesome!

Can I ask you a cheeky question? Just to trying to gage road distances. How far is it to drive from Tremps to Oliana for example.

Thanks for all your insights and they are much! appreciated.

:)

Maybe will bump into you and will say thanks face to face!
The sharp end - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to The sharp end:

Camarasa that is. Spell check.....
The sharp end - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to The sharp end:

Oh yes Ager looks incredible too...another area though...soon much choice!

You guys are truly blessed with rock.
Pete_Robinson on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to The sharp end:

> Just to trying to gage road distances. How far is it to drive from Tremps to Oliana for example.


http://www.viamichelin.co.uk/
RockSteady on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to The sharp end:

I've been to the Lleida area twice (inspired by Pete O'Donovan's guidebook). I was climbing about F7aish and found quite a lot to go at but not much in the 6s. Lots and lots of quality rock.

One of my favourite little crags was the Futbalin sector near Santa Linya - there's a football pitch just below if your kids are of kickabout age? Easy angled approach, sandy base, I'd have thought it was pretty child friendly? The Santa Linya cave likewise has a big flat base, guess falling rock may be a slight worry? Also high density of hard climbers!

Terradets was my favourite crag in the region but a bit of a scramble up to the base and good routes start at F7a+ish.

Collegats has climbing without having to cross the river by tyrolean - it's on a side-road but I can't imagine any cars ever going down there.

Camarasa is roadside - likewise St Llorenc de Montgai. The latter has a lake you can scramble down to that might be of interest to a child.

We stayed in a little village called Montsonis where there was quite nice self-catering and a castle to look round on a guided tour (albeit in Catalan). They ran various other tours from the village for walking etc.

Don't think Lleida is the best area for non-climbers though (I went in a group which had 2 non-climbers and they didn't enjoy it - complained about smell of pig-farms among other things!)

Pete O'Donovan - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to The sharp end:

Siurana: some sectors would be OK — Grau dels Masets, Esperó Primavera and El Cargol, for instance, but true, maybe it's not the best zone for your requirements.


> Perles? Coll de Nargo? Too hot in April? Camerasa looks awesome!

Perles and Coll de Nargó are both superb, but the best routes in both places tend to be in the V - mid 6 range rather than 6-7's. Also predominantly south-facing so yes, if it's a warm spring it could be a little uncomfortable in the middle of the day. The same goes for Àger (Barranc de Grillons).


> Can I ask you a cheeky question? Just to trying to gage road distances. How far is it to drive from Tremps to Oliana for example.

It's only about 75km but in places the road is extremely winding so a good hour and a half would be a fair estimate. It's an awesome drive, visually, but not one that I'd fancy doing before and after a day's climbing.

Much closer to Tremp are Collegats (setors L'Argenteria, El Niu and Primer Vol) and Abella de la Conca: the latter has seen lots of new development in the lower grades since the Lleida guidebook was released.

Pete.
The sharp end - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to Pete O'Donovan:

Sold! Thanks again for your insights. We are staying at someone's place who says he knows you! ;) ;)

The sharp end - on 07 Feb 2013
In reply to RockSteady:

Absolutely fab info! I personally can't see what is wrong with smells of farms! ;)

Def going to try Futbalin thanks to you! Castle sounds cool too....
Jus - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to Pete O'Donovan:

Hope you don't mind me hijacking your thread.

We are planning a road trip over the whole of August with our 2 young kids through France and Spain, going as far as Catalunya.

Are there any obvious areas to head to that have shaded campsites and crags, preferably with a river near by!

We're hoping to meet up with friends who can babysit as leaving a 2 year old and 5 year old at the bottom of the crag whilst we climb is probably not the best idea.
The sharp end - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to Jus:

Shame not going same time! :)
Jus - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to The sharp end:

yeah I know!
Pete O'Donovan - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to Jus:

Hi Jus,

August gets pretty hot around here, but it's still possible to climb in a few places.

Camarasa is a big favourite with the locals: there are hundreds of high quality routes (mainly between 6a and 7b) most of which remain shaded until mid or late-afternoon, at which time everybody heads down to the nearby River Segre to cool off.

There's a big campsite about 5km away — Camping La Noguera. It has all the facilities you might need (and some you might not) but it's very popular and will certainly be busy with Catalan families in August (i.e. noisy).

Another option is Cavallers up in the Catalan Pirineus. This is a spectacular mountain region with many excellent single-pitch sport routes, as well as semi-trad multi-pitch stuff. It's also rapidly becoming one of Spain's major bouldering areas.

Several campsites in the nearby villages of Taüll, Boí and Barruera, but the rivers are pretty chilly even in mid-summer!

Pete
Jus - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to Pete O'Donovan:

Hi Pete,

Good job we've got your guidebook! Cavallers does sound really attractive.
I'm intrigued by the bouldering you mention! Got any other info or links?
Are they campsites nearby Cavellers fairly chilled as we don't want (and cant afford!) the hellmouth-esque looking Camping La Noguera.

As far as other areas in the Catalan Pirineus what is the best resource on information?

Thanks for the info.

Jus
LeeWood - on 08 Feb 2013
In reply to The sharp end: March 2012 I stayed in a CampingNoguera bungalow. Nextdoor was occupied by Monique Forestier (Sterling rope-sponsored hot Aussie climber) who was based there while climbing at Oliana. She had declined the Oliana campsite (which would have been logical - no travel) as the Noguera facilities were superior for family/children. It is big and commercial but has a lot to offer and the lake at St Llorenc is very appealing.

Camping nr Cavallers? Beware mosquitoes, rampant on Barruera site. Minimal on wild campings nr dam.
stevieb - on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to Pete O'Donovan:
All your information is really helpful.
Are there any crags which are most suitable for young kids to climb on - low grades, solid rock, safe base area, thanks?
LeeWood - on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to stevieb: Collegats sectors Cine & Niu stand out; Cine alone could be the most valuable (at certain age/stage) because it offers less-technical steep climbing - more like an indoor wall. Various sectors around Cavallers but you'll need local topo. Ager Grillons & Cubells Fred/Forodat also useful.
Pete O'Donovan - on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to Jus:

I don't think it's fair do describe Camping La Noguera as "hellmouth-esque". It's typical for Spain — very big, loads of facilities and very expensive. Essentially they're aimed at families who want to spend virtually the whole day on site.

I'm afraid the superb and reasonably priced small/middle sized sites one finds in many parts of France are rarely found in Spain.

Come to think of it, the one in Taüll (Cavallers) is actually not bad.

Re Cavallers bouldering: there's no guidebook as yet, and the 15 minutes I've just spent Googling has failed to locate any topos. Lot's of pictures though — just Google "Bloc Cavallers".

>As far as other areas in the Catalan Pirineus what is the best resource on information?

This guide:

http://www.libreriadesnivel.com/libros/cavallers-travessani-y-aiguestortes/9788461489954/

Pete.
LeeWood - on 09 Feb 2013
> quote: 'very big, loads of facilities and very expensive '

I've not tried the own-tent sites there, but the bungalows are as cheap as anywhere else. Our fee included daily access to pool and sports room. Few other campsites are so well organised multi-lingually with online booking.

Jus - on 09 Feb 2013
In reply to Pete O'Donovan:

Thanks for the info Pete, much appreciated.

Re. the campsite just got quite a shock when I worked out it would be 45 euro a day with our lot!
stevieb - on 11 Feb 2013
In reply to LeeWood:
Lee, thanks for the details
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