As humans moved further and further into the mountains, they needed to develop new techniques in order to be able to reach certain points, and climbing serves this purpose. The key here is not the destination, but how and by what route you get there. Climbers who choose the most demanding and riskiest route to the top seek out a high degree of difficulty. Rock climbing is a variation of mountaineering, but has its own techniques and equipment. It was developed in the 20th century and consists of climbing vertical walls by hanging on to protuberances in the surface, which may be protrusions, corners, dents or cracks.
The equipment is only used for safety reasons in the case of falls or tiredness: a harness, climbing shoes, a figure-8 (a belaying device shaped like an eight), a pair of locking screwgate carabiners and, of course, a rope. Nonetheless, as a climber your primary tools are your hands, which must be strong and agile. In general, you must be in good physical and mental condition. One of the biggest advantages of climbing is that beginners can begin in a no-risk setting in the city by using indoor climbing walls. Once outdoors, it is essential that climbers research the different areas where they can climb, go with a specialised guide or sign up for one of the activities organised by excursion centres. The best way to begin is to contact the Centre Excursionista de Catalunya (Catalan Hikers´ Centre). The difficulty of the different climbing routes is indicated with a reference number, from 1 to 19 in free climbing, and from A0 to A5 in artificial aid. Given its rugged geography, there are many suitable climbing areas in Catalonia, such as Montserrat, Congost de Terradets, routes up the Merolla hill, Gombrèn, Montgrony, Pardinella, Clot de l’Espasa, the Roja de Corones rock and the Ribes valley.