Family climbing in the Pyrenees
Family climbing at Tramacastilla

The Pyrenees have some brilliant spots for sports climbing and here in the Valle de Tena, there are a dozen different bolted areas or ‘escuelas de escalada’ as they are known in Spanish. Several of these are perfect for families and Peña Bubon just outside the village of Tramacastilla is our favourite.

Over the past year, the kids have been doing climbing courses at the new indoor climbing wall in Jaca. It’s a brilliant facility with two large climbing zones – one for kids and one for adults. The instructors are great, the classes are good fun and their climbing is coming on by leaps and bounds. Isabel in particular has really taken to it and is climbing better each week – I can’t believe some of the overhanging routes she manages. It’s mainly set up for bouldering but they have also started learning ropework, how to belay and the common knots required for climbing.

With the weather getting better we’ve been able to get out climbing on proper rock quite a few times since Easter. There’s a brilliant climbing area in Tramacastilla and we’ve spent quite a few afternoons there.

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Isabel’s favourite route at the climbing wall – just watch the move she makes to top out!

There are 4 different walls to climb there with routes ranging from 4 up to 7b (European grades, roughly equivalent to 5.7 to 5.12 in US grades). That’s quite a large range so there’s something for everyone there from families and relative beginners up to quite experienced climbers. It’s all single pitch routes on limestone and well bolted.

The views are fantastic and the routes rise out of lovely meadows which are perfect for a break, to have a picnic or just to lie down in the sun and take in the views.

We usually start on the wall where there are half a dozen routes of 4, 4+ and 5 and make for a good warm-up. Isabel is then usually itching to get onto the area with higher and harder climbs! She climbs 5+ no problem these days and can manage 6a’s with a bit of help from the belayer taking her weight in a few of the tougher places. I’m certainly not the best climber in the world and can’t lead 6a to put the rope up, so I have to take our friend Alexis along to give me a hand on the harder routes!

Each year there are more family activities in the area. As well as climbing there’s a high ropes course, a kilometre long zip line, a great family-friendly canyon, mountain biking, horse riding, several via Ferratas, a new ‘pasarelas’ (metal walkway high on the cliffs) and just over the border in France, there’s the highest narrow-gauge railway in Europe. It makes the Valle de Tena a perfect place for a family activity holiday – I just hope this summer families will be able to come over and enjoy the area.

We’ll be getting out and doing plenty more climbing this summer – my only fear is I’ll be able to keep up with them!


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