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Ascent of Montserrat-Sant Jeroni on 2016-05-27

Climber: Dennis Stewart

Others in Party:Geri Stewart
Date:Friday, May 27, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Montserrat-Sant Jeroni
    Location:Spain
    Elevation:4055 ft / 1235 m

Ascent Trip Report

With some extra time to fill with activities during our visit to Barcelona, my wife, Geri, and I decided to tour Montserrat and climb Sant Jeroni. The subway/train (R5) ride from Barcelona to Montserrat is fairly easy to figure out if you have used that type of transportation system before. If not, you will probably need some help because there are some things you need to do, like validate your ticket, and the signs do not really explain the procedure. It's sort of like airline flights. Once you have flown you know about getting boarding passes and where to check and pickup baggage, but the first time it is not so obvious. Anyway, it is possible to purchase your subway/train and cable car or cog train tickets at the same time in Barcelona in the subway station. I did it at the Plaza Espana Station, but I had help from a very friendly tourist guide who was working a shift there and she showed me how to use the machine. I was then able to use the same type of machine in a different location by myself with no trouble, but it is possible to purchase a round trip combination at the first machine. I didn't do this because I was spending the night in a different location away from Montserrat, so I had to purchase two separate tickets. There are three different ways to climb Sant Jeroni. The faster cable car, the cog train or hike up the whole mountain, which can be done in a single day. There are two stops for Montserrat from the subway/train. The first stop is for cable car users or hikers. The second stop is for cog train users. I chose the cable car which is a fun, scenic way to climb a lot of the mountain. If you are hiking, get off at this stop, walk through the underpass and cross the high bridge over a river to a busy highway. Turn right and hike on the shoulder of the busy highway for about 1/4 mile. Pay close attention to the left side of the road for yellow arrows which indicate the trail head for climbing. The trail head is not well marked, so pay close attention for the yellow arrows. If you are using the cable car like my wife and I did, just use the same underpass as the hikers and you end up on the front door step of the cable car building. The cable car starts running (regular season) at 9:40 AM and goes up about every 15 minutes, but the last trip down is 7:00 PM, so don't miss that ride or you will be hiking down instead! Now don't think this is an easy summit to bag by using the cable car or cog train. These two aids only get you to the monastery. From there you have well over a thousand feet to climb and a lot of it is up steep steps that were too numerous for me to count. Even if you are a strong hiker, you will probably need 1 1/2 hours for the ascent. The summit has excellent views in all directions of the magnificent spires that you will pass all along your climb and you get to enjoy the scenery from the safety of a nice level platform complete with a huge directional compass mounted there. It is possible, however, that the actual highest point might be on an elevated point just west of the man made viewing area. The popular viewing area was most likely higher at one time, but I am sure it was leveled in order to build the viewing platform. Anyway, with a little caution, you can take just two minutes and reach the other high point with just Class 2 work and a very small amount of easy Class 3, however, if you make a clumsy move and trip over a shoelace or something you are going to have an extremely great increase in your velocity and several seconds to think about the stupid thing you just did! The descent, of course, should be more fun on the steps than the ascent was now with great help from gravity, but don't make the same mistake my wife and I did. I really don't know where we made our mistake, but there is another ascent trail that we happened to take instead of the trail we climbed up. We thought things were looking a little different later, but we had gone too far to turn back. We did not really know about our mistake until we reached another cog train station, which can help you eliminate even more of your climb. My wife really wanted to take that train, but tickets had to be purchased at the bottom, so we were forced to continue on a much longer trail to get back to the monastery and this trail had a long, steep uphill section that seemed unfair, since we had already climbed the mountain and we were now supposed to be enjoying downhill travel. Anyway, that's all I can tell you about our mistake, except according to a map, the trail junction that we messed up on was close to the summit, so if you want to go down the same route we came up on, you need to pay better attention than we did near the beginning of your descent from the summit. Good luck. This is an extremely pretty area and a very worthwhile climb, (even if you make the same mistake we did!)
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail



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