Part 2: CANYONEERING IN THE SIERRA DE GUARA
by John Hart
(Click on any image for a larger version and a description)
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The Sierra de Guara mountains are lower than the Pyrenees. Thus
they are dryer. They also happen to have more layers of sedimentary rock. Some incredible
and quite varied canyons are cut through here. Steph and Todd and I joined
my friend Gaby Hez (who I had teamed up with previously in Reunion Island) to
explore some more neat stuff.
TALE OF DAYS: Part 2
5. LOS OSCUROS DE BALCES ♥♥♥ / 4 - . Los Oscuros means dark section
(i.e. a narrow tight tall slot, or cave, or tunnel). The Balces river has
the best of the best water IMO. Only a couple short raps, but some Caos, and many
6. MASCUN SUPERIOR Upper section of
Mascun, a three hour access hike from Rodellar. Another one of the
classics: ♥♥♥♥ / 4+ . This one
has everything: jumps, raps, tunnels, swims, teacups, narrows, etc., etc.
Water flow was good. Later in the summer it goes dry. If some of the
potholes empty it could be an adventure getting out (i.e. they are deep, very deep), or
just not fun (i.e. still partially or totally full but really stagnant).
Into the play.
7. FORNOCAL ♥♥♥ / 4 -
. Different. Great color shifts and hues.
Narrows (Oscuros) along with some neat downclimbs and tunnels. Highly
recommended (give it an extra heart please).
8. PORTIACHA ( ♥♥ / 4- ) , BASENDER ( ♥♥ / 3 ),
MASCUN INFERIOR ( ♥♥ / 2- )
Three short but very different canyons. Portiacha has a couple very nice
30m raps down through colorful alcoves. Basender has intersting color
hues. Both these were dry (ahhh, very good, no wetsuits today).
Wait. Two is not enough, lets suit up and go through Mascun Inferior.
We arrive at the
put in for this one in late
afternoon amidst thunder and rain, yet again. Questions are directed at The
Professor (of atmospheric science) about lightning and canyoneering. Well it is swimming, but you're down pretty low, and your helmet is not
metal.....Go for it. After a couple
nice sections of Caos the sun comes out for the long swim/float back to the
campground at Rodellar.
Caos of Mascun Inf.
9. CUEVA CABRITO ( ♥♥ / 4 ), ESTRECHOS
BALCES ( ♥♥ / 3 ) My last day
of canyoneering was spent going down through unusual
dark conglomerate (10 raps), then dropping into the lower estrechos (straights) of the
Balces river, which has some nice easy chimney moves to avoid turbulent cascades and several long sections
of floating in magnificent water through 6 foot wide slots.
Cueva Cabrito = Cave of the
Goodbye Ainsa. A nice 10 days.
A great set of canyons with enthusiastic lovers of the sport and
the outdoors. What could be better? Well, maybe a little less water
(which happens naturally later in the season). Some more
classics, which were too dangerous, especially in the sections of Caos, await:
Gorgas Negras, LaLarri, Miravel, Peonera Inf (all
♥♥♥♥, of course). Soon baby, soon.
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