In Andalucía there are lot and lots of fantastic places to climb, but a few select areas stand out as being the birthplaces of climbing in southern Spain – El Chorro, Alcandoras, and the North face of Veleta.
El Chorro is a small town set high in Malaga’s stunningly beautiful “Lake district”, best known for El Caminito del Rey (the King’s Path), which ends here. Set in a spectacular Natural Park, of great geomorphological and environmental interest, the town is also epicentre to a massive climbing area of more than eleven hundred hectares, with over 1,000 climbing routes of all levels, many of which are along the length of the Gaitanes Gorge, a three kilometre long canyon cut out by the Guadalhorce River with steep walls up to 400 metres high.
Alcandoras, also known as Cresta de los Grajales, is in Jaén, a two hour drive From Malaga. It’s an idyllic and remote location, and a very special place, with its massive limestone wall rising up out of a pine forest below. The rock face reaches heights of over 200 metres in places, and extends for several kilometres, with over 100 distinct climbing routes. These walls have a lot of history and Jaen has a hard-core group of local climbers who live to climb them. But don’t worry – Luis knows everybody and you’ll possibly end your day having a beer with local legends.
North face of Veleta: A unique climbing area at an altitude of 3,000 metres above sea level, Veleta has a very “high mountain” feel to it, yet is only a few hours’ drive from Malaga. The cooler temperatures here make this a great place to climb in summer when the heat makes it difficult to climb elsewhere in Andalucía. The routes here are long and winding with lots of traverses, abseiling/rappelling, long pitches and transitions between short rope/long rope techniques, and the rock type (micaceous shale) and alpine feel to the climbing make this a very special and exciting place to climb.