El Chorro – part 2

One of the vultures waiting for dinner.

We might have been in the south of Spain, and it might have been sunny, but it was really, really cold. It was so cold, there was really no point in venturing outside until near enough 10am. And some days it was really, really windy.

Despite the unusual weather for late November, El Chorro is a great place for some excellent climbing, what-ever your grade. We had heard that it’s not exactly beautiful, but we found that there were some lovely places to climb, with great views, especially from the upper sections of Frontales. We spent much of the latter half of our holiday on the various sectors at Frontales, the lower sectors a two minute drive and five minute walk from our pad, and the upper sectors a two minute drive and a 20 minute walk from our pad.

‘A two minute drive…?’ I hear you cry. Well, why not? Actually, you don’t need a car if you’re visiting El Chorro. There is plenty of climbing within walking distance, and you can get to El Chorro from Malaga on the train…

El Chorro railway station.

… but when the car was only £49 for 8 days, how could we not take advantage?

We stayed at La Almona Chica, in Casa Isabel. This is a lovely converted farm cottage, perfectly placed just outside the village, a 1 minute drive, or 5 minute walk to the bar. The owners, Susan and Dell are great.

Casa Isabel, La Almona Chica

After a couple of nights the stray dog (the one that barked all night) moved on to find food elsewhere, but Susan and Dell had plenty of other dogs (all beautifully behaved) and lots of cats.

One of the many cats.

Anyway, a perfect location to explore Frontales.

Laetitia on the fantastic Luna at Frontales, Sector Castrojo.
Pete on the third pitch of the fantastic Valentines Day, Sector Austria, Frontales.
Ouch! Pete head-butted a half removed bolt.
One of the many vultures waiting for dinner.

We didn’t have sun every day. On Friday it rained! So, it was cold, windy and wet. In the morning is was a mere drizzle, so we thought we might go for a walk from the village towards Makinodromo via ‘the Notch’. The drizzle got a bit stronger so instead we explored some caves which had been converted by climbers into quite luxurious accommodation.

A very comfy cave dwelling.
View towards the Gorge entrance.

The rain got harder so we decided to take a drive up to the lakes: Embalse de Gaitanejo, Embalse del Conde de Guadalhorce and the biggest of them all, Embalse del Gualdalteba-Guadalhorce. The waters from these join and go down through the Gorge. The architecture of the dam on the oldest section is quite beautiful.

The lakes.

Luckily the sun came out again on our last day, and the wind dropped, so we went up to the Escalera Arabe area. This was probably my favourite spot. Perhaps it was the warmth of the sun that did it, but the climbing was just perfect, with just the right amount of holds at just the right angle. We started at Sector Sergio, just next to some Mozarabic steps built pre-1500.

The steps at Steps Buttress, Escelara Arabe

Unfortunately, all of the routes at El Navegador Pillar and the routes at Highway to Africa were off limits due to conservation. Seemed such a shame, but there were plenty of other routes to entertain ourselves on.

Some really good routes were off limits!
Laetitia on Sergio y Antonio, Sector Sergio, Escalera Arabe
Pete on For Fite, Sector Sergio, Escalera Arabe.

I started the week not being too sure that I’d enjoy El Chorro, but by the end of the week I had already lined up tons more routes for my next visit.

Series - El Chorro '12

  1. El Chorro – part 1
  2. El Chorro – part 2

14 thoughts on “El Chorro – part 2”

    1. When I fell I thought I had just glanced the rock with my head as I dropped, but when I put my hand to my head to rub the bashed area it came away covered in blood! So I asked Laetitia to lower me as I thought it would be best for someone to take a look at how bad it was… It turned out not to be a graze, I’d clipped the end of a bolt left in the rock without a hanger, and the edge had made a small slice in my forehead as you can see above. Not a long cut, but head wounds bleed a lot! 😳 Anyhow, after my checkup I got back on and finished the route, correcting my foolish mistake that caused the fall in the first place. (Laetitia’s line up of routes is elsewhere.)

      Now some might say, “why weren’t you wearing a helmet?”, to which I’d confidently point out that it would have made no difference at all. I fell on to the bolt stub and as you can see from the location of the injury, it would have happened anyway. What is worrying though is the thought that if I’d been just an inch closer to the rock as I fell it might have skewered my eye! That bolt stub needs to be cut off…

  1. Hey, I’m going to climb in El Chorro next week, and I have 2 questions:
    1. If I’m going only by myself, what is the best way to find partners (sleep in a comunal refuje? camping? should I rent a car?)
    2. Where did you rent your car from? did they wanted international driving lisence?

    thanx,
    Liad.

    1. 1. Probably staying in the refuge in El Chorro is best to hook up with other climbers.
      2. We used an on-line booking service to book a cheap hire car, but as above, you don’t really need one as the train is so convenient.

      1. Thanx, its really helping..

        About the car – would’nt you say that it was privillage having a car for travelling around, shopping at Alora’s market, going to a bar in Alora at evening? or the el chorro facilities are enough with all that?
        by the way – where did you picked it up / returned it?

        Thanx again,
        Liad

  2. Forgot to ask about equipment – I have all the equipment needed (quikdraws, 60m rope, carabiners..), I thought to leave the rope at home and rent one on el chorro, is that possible? or would you suggest to bring one of my own (I remind you I’m coming alone..)

  3. Hi, I’m going to El Chorro this saturday afternoon for 2 weeks. I’m looking for a partner. I’ve a sport rack and rope with me. Can lead up to 6a’s. I’m comfortable with multi-pitch and lead belay. Hope you too. Anyone interested please mail me at anskumail at yahoo dot com.

  4. Hi guys. i am going to el chorro this spring (2013). is anyone going there to? i am from germany, we could share the ride if you are from this direction too. see you

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