Pollegó Superior del Pedraforca by Verdet's neck
If among all the emblematic peaks of Catalonia we had to choose one, for the variety of corners and for a most entertaining route, this is undoubtedly the Pedraforca. The Pollegó Superior is one of the busiest peaks in the Catalan Countries and many summer weekends authentic pilgrimages are formed on the way up, at the top and even in the tartera. But despite this overcrowding, it is always a pleasure to climb, return and crown it, it is the Stone.
Difficulty: medium Special attention to mountain wear. A lot of caution in case of rain or snow (inadvisable).
Elevation: 956 meters of ascent
Time: between 5h and 6h, with stops. 3h ascent to Pollegó Superior (1h30 'current)
Kilometers: 8 km
Variants: The Pedraforca has many itineraries. The Pollegó Superior is mainly conquered from the corner of Saldes (following this route), or by Gósol, by the Gósol tartera. Likewise, you can climb to the Lower Pollegó by the Great Diagonal and discover a completely different Pedraforca. And who prefers to go more for a more flat route, there is the PR-C127 called "Pedraforca 360º" that goes around the massif.
First steps. What do you have to keep in mind to go to Pedraforca?
As we have said, Pedraforca is one of the busiest peaks in Catalonia. More than 20,000 people each year go down the pan. All this has caused a wear that accentuates with the years and that carries a special precaution. In all sections of rock we will find the stone sharp force and this can be cause for slips. Especially delicate is the descent through the pan, every day more worn.
Likewise, we must bear in mind that Pedraforca, without being difficult, is also not a "cows peak". The climb by Verdet is not difficult, but it is good that he has made some previous climb to know the technique and check how he reacts to heights. The descent through the pan, for some it is very fun, but for those who have never dropped any, it can be heavy. Once an ass and a scratch is almost inevitable, but be careful not to hurt yourself. Many people go to Pedraforca without having done any other mountains before and, in some cases, without knowing the mountain or the weather. Every year many people must be rescued and some imprudence is committed. Find out the weather well and, in case of doubt, climb some other peak before doing the Pedraforca.
We leave the parking lot of the Mirador de Gresolet and take the stepped road that goes out next to the road and indicates the shelter of Lluís Estaen. This first section runs through a black pine forest with a moderate slope and a very sharp path. It has the roots that are on the road as a result of erosion. Soon, you will see that there is a fork of roads: both the one on the left and the one on the right lead to the same place, but the one on the left is faster. 10 minutes later, they come together in a small hill where we find an indicator to go to the shelter. Here you have to take the road on the left, since the one on the right deviates along the northern slope. All the time we will follow the marks of PR.
We arrived at the refuge 15 minutes after the start and we clearly see the objective: the Superior Pollegó crowning the steep north face of Pedraforca. We continue forward, direction to the neck of Verdet. Now we plan through the forest of Umbria del Pedraforca and we will cross four ravines without great difficulty, just slip, especially if it is wet or there is ice. At the first ravine, if we look up, we will see the unmistakable silhouette of "El Gato", one of the most special climbs of Pedraforca.
Once the Rimbau canal is over, the road begins to go up decidedly. We climb through a forest with a considerable slope, following the marks of the PR. Attention when the road changes direction, to wind around. If you follow the PR marks and the sharpest path, there is no loss. Halfway up, we will see a trunk lying and empty inside, which a few years ago was a very photographed place.
The road goes back to the grotto of the Rua Grande, where it turns west. Before arriving, we will see how the PR heads an easy first climb (attentive not to deviate to the right). The section under the cave offers spectacular views of the Cadí. Next, we reach a small valley with a torrent where we can get water. The road now turns left and returns to the forest. On foggy days in the valleys, from here we will have a fantastic panorama over a sea of clouds.
Each time we climb more and now we see the neck of Verdet, although quite high. We face the most straight ascent section, winding and passing by centuries-old black pine specimens. Opposite, the north face of Pedraforca, getting closer and closer. Many people, at this point, have breakfast. If you have strength, it is worth waiting until Verdet's neck.
The last section of access to the neck can be done in two ways, both marked with the PR marks. The one on the right goes up first and saves going through the pan, so it is a better option for the climb (the GPS track goes on the left path).
Finally, we reach Verdet's neck after sweating for a while. From here you can see the town of Gósol and the Sierras del Verde and the Port del Comte. Now the road continues along the rising crest until you find the Verdet canal.
From here begins the real climb. The first section of the channel is more open and easy. We see that it is marked with yellow traces, but if we want, we can climb more on the left. As we climb, it fits and is a little more straight. In this second section of the canal the stone is sharper since everyone has to go through the same place. You have to go more carefully and, if you need it, there is a rope to grab.
Finally, we reach the northern summit (1st antecedent) and discover what awaits us until we reach the Pollegó Superior. La carena makes 4 avantcims before reaching the highest peak. So we will have to go up and down with small debris and climbs. We get off the first antecedents without difficulty to the neck. The yellow marks will guide us through the easiest places to pass. To face the second antecedent, first the brands plan on the right to go to look for a wide and moderate slope channel.
We crown the 2nd antecima, and go down with a fairly steep section until the next pass. The third antecedent does not present any great difficulty and we climb to the top in a short time. We continue, now down to the last pass, quite narrow and clayish. If we look to the left, we will see the whole courtyard of the north face of Pedraforca.
We finally face the climb to the Upper Pollegó. This fourth climb is a little more right and it is convenient to have yellow marks in sight so as not to complicate our lives. We went up looking for the easiest steps and finally we traced the last meters to the top of the Pollegó Superior, where we will surely find enough people.
To get off, we will go to look for the enforcadura by the obvious path that goes down the other side from where we have climbed. The descent is simple, but with some stretch a bit worn. In a short time, we arrived at the enforcadura. On the other side, we see the vertical wall of the Lower Pollegó, which can only be climbed on foot by the south / east slope.
We descend from the landing and face the pan. Most people pass on the left, but the descent is very worn and may even be compromised. For the right wing, the land was traditionally less worn, but with the creation of a new PR road, things are being matched right now. If you do not want to risk you to skate by the pan, you can go down the PR. The first tranche of the tartera is the most straight and spent; below you will see how the rocks that have been lowered from above are accumulated.
Later, the cake is divided into two and in the center begin to grow bojes and some black pine. We continue on the most obvious, the one on the left, until we reach a point where the path that starts from the pan begins. It is important not to continue on the right, tartera below, since then we would turn more.
We follow the path with PR marks and in gentle descent that will take us in about 20-25 minutes to the shelter crossing some courts. We avoid a deviation that marches on the right, below, and we continue along the path of the PR. Finally, we arrive at the refuge and we will only have to make a drink of water from the fountain and face the return to the Gresolet viewpoint, along the same road where we climbed in the morning.
Authoring photographs and text: Sergi Boixader