Rodellar in Spain is a tufa-climbing paradise, a perfect destination for both chilled sport climbing holidays and for pushing your grade. Apart from relaxing with a glass of wine, climbing huge overhanging walls of orange limestone is the only thing to do in the sleepy village.
There are about 400 bolted climbs bolted spread between two gorges: Mascún and Alcanadre.
The Alcanadre Gorge is a beautiful place, but a little more remote and more difficult to access, which makes it slightly less visited. However, climbing in the beautiful Piscinita or Glacier sectors is more than worth the hike!
The Mascún Gorge gets busier, especially in Rodellar's high season. Nonetheless, climbing its pumpy routes up to 40 metres long, leading through the imposing caves of Gran Boveda or Surgencia, is an amazing feeling. Every sport climber has to experience it for themselves at least once in their life, and chances are they will come back for more.
The area is known for tufas, huge caves and long and steep stamina routes, but there are also many vertical crags offering some more technical climbing. Rodellar offers a good grade range from fours all the way up to 9a, but to truly appreciate the area it is recommended that you climb around f7a. Tufas, slopers, wide pinches, jugs, knee bars, drop knees, heel hooks, dynos and a lot of endurance are Rodellar classics.
Walking from the village, you get to all of the Mascún crags in around twenty minutes. It possible to climb in two or three different sectors in one day. On hot, sunny afternoons you will appreciate having a refreshing swim in one of the beautiful, clear-water ponds on your way from one crag to another.
For some reason Rodellar is considered to be a good spot to climb in summer but the conditions are much better in late spring and early autumn. In winter it is usually too cold and too wet, and the tufas take a long time to dry. Summertime temperatures often remain above thirty degrees, especially in August. The heat makes climbing on athletic, long lines rather difficult.
What makes Rodellar unique in comparison to other crags Aragon and Catalonia, is the cold river which cools down both the air and the climbers. Many are so fanatic that they continue climbing throughout the summer, even though it is too warm.
A big disadvantage of Rodellar summers is that the area gets very busy with tourists, so going at another time of the year and even risking a little bit of rain is a good idea. If it rains just a little, you can often carry on climbing in one of the sheltered caves.
Rodellar is a cult place with a special atmosphere. It is not just climbers who come to Rodellar (and often stay for good!), but a unique mixture of people who love nature, adventure and living with values slightly different than those of modern society. Rodellar is “outdoor slow living” at its best, mixed with a hint of climbing fanaticism.
There are only about thirty locals living in the village but the quiet settlement is surprisingly full of life. In summer, you can not only go climbing or canyoning, but also attend yoga classes, learn African dance, enjoy concerts, flamenco shows, and many other cultural events.
Rodellar is hidden among the steep cliffs of the National Park of Sierra de Guara, west of Barcelona and about a one-hour drive from a small Aragones town of Huesca. The area is famous for its dramatic, beautiful scenery. A multitude of rivers and gorges makes Rodellar a world-class destination for canyoning as well.
Rodellar is quite easy to get to. You can fly to Barcelona, Girona or Zaragoza, and then hire a car as there is no bus that goes to Rodellar. You can then put up your tent at the Mascún campsite, rent a room in a climbing refuge of Kalandraka, or even an apartment in Hotel Valle de Rodellar. From then on you can forget about the car and walk everywhere. There is also another campsite down by the river, called El Puente, and it is used mainly by people who go canyoning (it is further away from the crags). There are three small food shops, where you can get basic supplies and some climbing gear, but the prices are high. If you feel like drinks or eating out, you can choose from a few cosy options in the village.