♥ by Julien
You haven’t heard from us in a while which is mainly because moving from one country to another – even within Europe – is not something that’s easily or quickly accomplished. Throw in working full-time as a translator, taking care of a toddler and preparing for two amazing journeys – our second birthing journey that’s due beginning of November and the next trip (oh, yes!) – and you end up being quite busy. I guess especially a lot of parents can relate. But enough of that. This post is about our last trip, and more specifically about climbing. Enjoy the ride!
After the cliffs of Portugal, let us present some of Spain’s finest places to climb. Or at least, some we got the chance to go to.
Aside from the usual postcard pictures people have in mind when we’re talking about it, Spain has its fair share of mountains and green hills scattered across the country. And for the climbing community, this translates into having a huge playground at hand.
During our journey, we met climbers in Portugal who told us about spots in Spain, and more precisely in the South of Spain since it would be the direction we would take past the Portuguese border.
So suit up and come along to our little Spanish climbing tour!
Forgive us for not posting a lot of pictures this time, but we were so busy climbing and having fun that there wasn’t much room to take photos as well 🙂
Cerro del Hierro
– 41389 Cerro del Hierro, Seville, Spain-
Originally an iron mine (used since the Roman period until the last century), it is nowadays a Natural Monument with tracks marked for people to visit the place and be amazed at the wonderful shapes of the rocks, described as “karst landscape” – the result of both the mining activity and the natural erosion (rain and snow).
The place is loaded with potential routes you can climb on and there is a fair amount of them already bolted and ready for you. They are fairly technical (from 4a to 7b) and can go up to 25m. The rock is limestone and usually offers quite a good grip. This is one of the top favourite spot of our “gentlemen climbers” from Pena da Roca and it’s easy to understand why.
Our personal experience of the place was rather short since we only stayed one night. We were there in end of January and it was freezing cold! Without gas left to heat up the van, we could not stay another day. But we swore to ourselves to come back to the place and actively climb it!
Keep in mind, though, that even though there is a tourist office up there, and a tiny tiny village with a pub that was closed when we were there, there isn’t really anything else. So if you want to spend some time there, come prepared and bring your own equipment.
– 29552 El Chorro, Málaga, Spain-
Behold one of the greatest, if not THE greatest, climbing spot in Spain! This place is absolutely A-MA-ZING!
First, you have the world-famous “Caminito del Rey”, renown for decades as the “most dangerous path in Europe” (true story)… until they redid the path a few years ago. Today, the Caminito is still a must-see for every little (and grown-up) adventurer out there. Mind, children under 7 or 8 years old are NOT allowed. And since visitor numbers per year are limited, you’d better book the date and time of your visit ahead.
Second, the actual climbing site is composed of several crags, most of them being literally next to each other, and counts over 1,000 routes, from 3b to 8c (French grades). Over 1,000 routes!!! Hard not to find something to climb on with so much choice!
So we stayed there 3 days and climbed 2 out of 3. When we arrived in the late afternoon, we settled next to a young German family also touring in a van. We got along well and soon enough agreed on going climbing together the next day. None of us had the topo (we’ll definitely get one next time) so we searched the internet for the best sector suiting us all (4 adults, 1 baby, 1 toddler). Once there, we just asked climbers around if they had a topo to refine our choice of routes. We had a great climbing and hiking day and no matter how many climbers we met, it was always possible to find a sector where we could be on our own – in case you were wondering about that.
The next day, we met a French guy who was very interested in climbing but didn’t have any experience or material to practice. Well, no problem! We picked a sector together with our German friends and were off! An “easy climbing” day so that everybody could have fun! And fun we had! After spending our last climbing days trying to push our limits and overcome them (at our own level, not doing crazy 7s yet…), it was actually fun to do easier routes. And also the best opportunity for Eva to try lead-climbing, which she did successfully! Props to Eva! Another success was that Ben, our French mate, got to love his day, too, and is now actively learning to climb!
Overall, we had a great -great- time in El Chorro and it would have been worth staying longer to climb more routes as well as doing proper hikes plus the Caminito del Rey. Generally, it is relatively easy to get there and find a spot to sleep with a van. There is even a campsite but at the time we were there (early February), it was closed.
There is also a climbing school/camp – the Climbing Lodge – where you can book classes, courses and workshops and most likely also borrow equipment if you don’t have your own. The page is available in English and German.
– Mirador Parc Del Garraf Serra Del Lladre, 08870 Sitges, Barcelona, Spain-
For our last climbing spot in Spain, we ended up there by almost sheer luck. We were on our way back to France when we met friends we made almost at the very beginning of our trip (back in France). As we knew already, they are keen on climbing, too, and so they were very motivated when we offered we could try and find some spots to climb together.
Once again, thanks to internet (and 27crags.com), we found out that close by were several spots. And with the use of GoogleMaps and an eye on the weather forecast, we decided to try Peña Ginesta.
So, for all of you, dear readers, planning on going there with a van, let’s be clear: the road will be quite (QUITE) steep. So you’d rather have either some horsepower or some time to access the place. On the other hand, there is a parking lot with a wonderful view over the sea just some metres away from the track leading to the rocks. Spending the night there is however not the best of ideas since the parking lot itself isn’t really flat…
The sector we used was really sweet. Not too hard, not too easy. Allowing everyone to enjoy themselves and get their adrenaline shot. Generally, the place offers a lot of variety in terms of grades and everyone can find something to grind their teeth on. Also, as mentioned earlier, the spot offers a wonderful view over the Mediterranean Sea, always a neat feature for the climber-photographers out there. And the place is not over-crowded either (OK, it was February when we were there…).
After our session, we drove our campers a very short distance further up to the parking lot of the park where we stayed overnight surrounded by trees in perfect quiet and with a perfect light.
Since this place is also rather remote, you’ll need to bring your own equipment. If you’re passing through Barcelona first, you’ll surely be able to rent some there, though.
So I hope you enjoyed reading these few lines and that, maybe, we helped you during your journey!
Also, do not forget to check out these topos before you go!