LocationCatalunya, Tarragona region
OverviewMargalef became popular among international visitors fairly recently, but it is now a major destination and home to more 9th grade routes that the whole of the rest of Catalunya put together. Pockets are the name of the game here so strong fingers and ‘pocket power’ are essential for anyone pushing their grade. Many routes are short, steep and involve 1, 2 and 3 finger pockets, so comparisons with the Frankenjura come easily. The roadside nature of many of the crags and the short, bouldery routes will be appealing to most British visitors, as will the accessibility of other crags in the region. Siurana, among other areas, is less than a 1 hour drive away so it’s easy to mix it up and explore several world class areas in the same trip.
Best Time to Go & ConditionsIt is possible to climb throughout the year, although in the summer some sectors will be hot and the pockets may feel greasy. The combination of aspects does mean that you should be able to find shade whatever happens, though the best conditions are generally found in spring (March – May) and autumn (September – November).
Getting ThereIf you can be flexible about when you travel, flights are around £100, including taxes. The nearest airport to the climbing is Reus, near Barcelona. This is a small airport and this means you are forced to use Ryanair, but if you can stomach giving your money to those bastards, you will land a convenient 60-90 minute drive from Margalef village. From the airport, head NW on the T1, then pick up the N-420 towards Falset. Then head North on the windy mountain roads via the T-710, T-702 and T-713
AccessibilityOnce in Margalef village the crags are nearby and it is possible to walk to some. We met climbers who were hitching and did not have transport, and they seemed to get on just fine. It is easier to have a car, and getting to Margalef without one will be near impossible. If you can make it to the refugio, you will probably meet enough climbers to blag lifts off.
Guide Book/sTitle: Tarragona Climbs | Price: £25 or Margelef Guide | Price €10 (available at refugio)
Grade Spread and Recommended Routes
Margalef has a broad spread of grades but it has to be said that the focus is on the harder end of things. Climbers operating in the mid 7’s and up will have a lot of choice, as the largest selection is between 7b+ and 8a. Nevertheless, routes like Migranya show that high quality climbs can be found at more amenable grades. The following routes come recommended: Migranya (6b+) Juli Vert (6a+) Aeroplastica (7c+ or 8a) Photo Shot (8b) Sativa Patatica (8a) Telemaster (8a) La bombi (8a+/b) Route 33 at El Laboratori (7b+) Miguel el Casero (7c+) Tsunami (7c) and at a newly bolted wall on the road into El Laboratori there are 2 excellent routes; a 7a+ on the right and a 7c to the left (see local guide).