Adventure Travel



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.


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 tight water-sections.  

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 Goat


Estrechos Balces


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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