A selection of classic rock climbing routes in Pyrénées by Martin Elias
The education of a climber or alpinist in the Pyrénées is not an easy process. More than just the physical training, it is the technical skills and values transmitted from previous generations; mentors like Ekaitz Maitz, Henri Barrio, and many others.
Climbing in the Pyrénées follows a process, approach from the bottom and use minimum equipment. Ethics aside, the mantra is “if you are using less gear, you’re climbing more!”
Here is a selection of classic Pyrénées routes with character in the modern traditional style but with a dose of commitment.
The Ansabère circle is a magical spot in the range, defended by hounds on one side and an austere shepherd on the other. The « Villa des privés d’amour » hut is at the base of Ansabere’s needles and a perfect place to stay for the night in the humid beechwood atmosphere.
Petit Pic d’Ansabère : route Zutopistes, ED+, 7a / 6b+, 300m
Pic du Midi d’Ossau
The « Midi » is a Sanctuary, and only one route is bolted in this range. An incredible adventure with a complicated itinerary.
To Bolt or Not to bolt : ED-, 7a+, 6b, 250m
Remi Thivel, Patrick Shantal, Joan Grisu, Morgan Perisse and Vencent Seger in 2009
Simply Ordesa… in autumn the incredible light contrasts with the impressive landscapes of the Pyrénées. The route called « Racs » is a masterpiece, made with Ordesa’s best qualities. Just massive!
Racs: 7a+,6b, 300m
Jesus Galvez y JM Casals in 1984
The Peña Montañesa is a laboratory of technical climbing. With perfect compact rock and techincal protection, it is the perfect spot for those who love « pockets ».
Sin casa Ni perro ni jardin : 7a+, 7a obligatoire, 250m
Remi Laburi, Martín Elías y Christian Ravier en 2011
Catalogne cliff in Montrebey Canyon is best climbed with long days. The rock is not always perfect and has tricky protection. It’s the perfect option for cold days during Fall and Spring.
Cort Salvage 7a+, 6c obligatoire, 400m
Eli Olive, Manuel Velazquez, Albert salvado, 2003.
Route selection is a personal choice. All of these routes, generally on good rock, require attention and the right level regarding grades. Shivers are guaranteed, especially when the void is proportional with your strength and technique. Be prepared ;-)