Dec 12 03

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
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