Everyone who hiked the hugely popular Barranc de Biniataix on Mallorca has looked up in wonder at the north faces of Cornador Gran and its little brother Cornador Petit. Like all mountains on Mallorca they appear to be much more serious than you’d expect on an island whose highpoint is less than 1500m high. In particular Cornador Gran appears to imitate a much bigger and taller mountain in the Dolomites.
The mountain – and this might serve as an attempt at an explanation – is made up from limestone – the omnipresent type of rock on the island. Besides the massive north face it has two steep exposed ridges but a more or less shallow south slope. And it is here from where you can easily reach the summit of Cornador Gran. In fact it is a sloped karst plain with rugged nooks and crevices. On the slope you can find the shelter Refugi de Joaquim Quesada, the last point of interest before reaching the summit.
Cornador Gran and Cornador Petit are the northernmost outposts of Serra de Alfabia, a subrange of Serra de Tramuntana. Like its mother range Serra de Alfabia runs from south-west to north-east splitting into two branches north-east of its highpoint Puig d’Alfabia (1067m). Cornador Gran is the endpoint of the western of these branches, opposed to the slightly lower Puig de na Maria to the east.
Some words about Barranc de Biniaraix: it is a narrow and - in its eastern end – very steep canyon which runs from Sóller towards the karst plateaus of Serra de Tramuntana. On one hand it has been used as a pilgrimage trail between the sanctuaries on both sides of the range. On the other it has become a rocky field and garden for Biniaraix itself. There are lots of olive trees in the lower part of the barranc and there also are farmsteads within it. The trail itself has been paved with cobblestones and today makes up one of the most popular parts of the GR221 trekking trail.
360° Summit Panorama
A typical tourist location, the island Mallorca can be best reached by plane. There are flights from virtually every European international airport to Palma de Mallorca. From the island capital the following itinerary leads to the most common trailhead at Biniaraix:
- Take motorway Ma-19 from the airport to Palma.
- Switch to motorway Ma-20, the circumnavigation of Palma.
- leave it for Ma-11, direction Sóller
- You can reach the trailhead at Biniaraix by driving through Sóller, however, it's easier to pass by the town and switch to Ma-10 afterwards.
- Take the exit Fornalutx and pass through the village.
- The road (Ma-2121) heads back to Sóller through Biniaraix
Once out of the canyon you turn right and head for the east ridge of Cornador Gran. At its base the path turns south, taking you to the saddle between Cornador Gran and Puig des Cornadors. A short hike up the karst slope and you stand on top. The best views, however can be enjoyed in two "eagles nests", one right north beneath the summit, the other a bit more to the west in the direction of Cornador Petit.
Red TapeThere appears to be no red tape here even though the route runs over cultivated land. However, there is an acute shortage of parking spaces at Biniaraix.
When to Climb
Cornador Gran can be climbed all year round. The best season is from November through May. Avoid the hot summer months.
AccommodationGenerallly, there are lot of accommodation options on Mallorca, which you can find on the usual portals. Prices, however, are quite high.
Sóller is the hiking capital of Mallorca. There is a lot of accomodation there and even more in Puerto de Sóller on the coast.
Weather ConditionsThe right clothing provided, the mountain can be accessed in any weather condition.
Maps & BooksThere are many publications about hiking on Mallorca. I include the ones which I have used myself as well as recommendations by other SPers. The book by Rolf Götz, which is available in four languages has a good choice of routes, two thirds of them in Serra de Tramuntana. Two routes are dedicated to Massanella.
In particular I want to recommend the book by Marc Schichter & Kirsten Elsner, even though it is only available in German. It comes with an excellent map of Serra de Tramuntana (probably the best available) and lots of routes which can be connected at will.
4 map box set
- Walk Mallorca
Discovery Walking Guides
ISBN: 978-3-7633-4805-3 (English)
ISBN: 978-3-7633-4122-1 (German)
ISBN: 978-3-7633-4923-4 (French)
ISBN: 978-3-7633-4701-8 (Spanish)
- Wandern auf Mallorca
Marc Schichter & Kirsten Elsner
- Walking in Mallorca: Classic Mountain Walks in Mallorca