We’d seen a tourism leaflet promoting the area which featured some spectacular and unlikely looking stairway weaving through overhanging bands of cliff and leading to a stunning gorge. After a bit of Internet research we managed to pin down some details and were pleased to find we were only about 10km from the start point, so set off to explore for an active rest day.
…only to find Google maps saying it would take almost 2 hours to drive there – 10km as the crow flies translated into an 80km loop around one end or the other of the flooded gorge that forms the chain of reservoirs which separate Aragon and Catalunya. More surfing revealed an alternative start on this, the Catalan side of the gorge. About 1km and 90 minutes nearer! The next obstacle is a “road closed” sign for the last 3km of winding road to the parking. We shove the barrier to one side and decide to chance a “we didn’t understand” excuse, should we get stopped.
We were rewarded with a brilliant walk in stunning scenery, emerging at the congost (narrow gorge) de Montrebie. This ravine splits the Montrebie ridge, running about 5 miles either side and reaching a height of about 500m. Just a couple of years ago, the authorities in Aragon and Catalunya built a suspension foot bridge linking the two comunidads at this point. Crossing over into Aragon we retraced our steps southwards to take in the two spectacular staircases they’ve built to access the bridge.
Looking back at the huge expanses of rock we wondered whether there were any routes up these huge cliffs. Later at the bar we found the answer – an inch thick topo with hundreds of routes on Montrebie, many of them up to almost 500m, and ranging from sports adventures to aid extravaganzas. Well worth a look on a future trip – the guide mentioned “gangos” as being a recommended item for many of the routes – we found out this means hooks, but could equally apply to cohones!