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Catalunya, Spain

The mountain & the monastery

Official flag of Spain
Official Flag of
Official flag of Catalunya
Official Flag of
Catalunya (Catalonia)
Monistrol de Montserrat Coat of Arms
Monistrol de Montserrat

Montserrat, literally "jagged mountain" in Catalan, rises about 40 miles northwest of Barcelona.
The highest of its multiple summits is named Sant Jeroni (4,055 feet - 1236 m). On its Southwest face,
several climbing areas bear the names of the villages beneath the mountain: Collbato and El Bruc
to name a few. Farms occupy a great deal of this area (watch out for tractors).
A small road winds around the peak, on whose narrow Northern end is an area of pointed towers
known as Los Agulles (the Needles). Every so often, there is a shrine tucked away.
Near the southern end of Montserrat's broad Northeast face, above the municipality
of Monistrol de Montserrat is the famous Benedictine abbey, Santa Maria de Montserrat.

We climbed here on 7 June 2010
Santa Maria de
13 June 2010
This is a very popular area, for hiker & climber alike
Los Gorros (The Hats)
above the monastery
13 June 2010
The buttress above the monastery is where we climbed a 4-pitch route. Each of these spires has its own name.
The buttress above the
abbey has stairs!
13 June 2010
The road to the Abbey is a bit steep, but not too dangerous.
The 2500+ vertical feet
are apparent here...
13 June 2010
One may actually hike to this point, after a cable car ride to forego the cliff faces.
Sant Jeroni (4,055 feet),
Montserrat's highest
13 June 2010

These pictures were taken as we drove past the mountain's Northeast Face on our
way to Andorra. Greg & I had climbed a fine route above the monastery on 7 June.
The mountain is composed of sedimentary cobblestone, looks horrific & loose, but
is very solid. Most routes are amply protected with bolts. While we were on our route,
the bells in the abbey began to ring. Their perfect tone emanating from far below us
actually gave me a reassurance that we would be fine, no matter what happened!

Needles on the right
Los Agulles (Needles)
and Sant Jeroni
13 June 2010
This a stitched panorama of the entire mountain from the East
Montserrat panorama
from the East
13 June 2010
I'm guessing that alot of the people who live here work for the Abbey?
Monistrol de Montserrat
population 3000
13 June 2010
This pointy needle has a 350-foot-long 'normal route,' first climbed in 1935.
Cavall Bernat spire,
1st ascent in 1935
13 June 2010
Greatly foreshortened, they look quite squatty!
Los Gorros from
the Monistrol area
13 June 2010

While Greg and I did most of our climbing on the mountain's Cara Sul (South Face),
I would have come back to the Abbey anytime. The weather wasn't
terribly cooperative while we were in Spain, so we opted for short routes.

Somehow, our wives never were able to visit the abbey.
Have to put it on the list for next time, for certain.

All images Copyright 2011 EBBoykin, Jr

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