Saturday, 30 January 2010

Climbing in Spain

A strange week of weather, but it all finished well with a couple of days of sun and blue skies. I had couple of days at El Chorro guiding on the Camino del Rey - this is the slightly ancient walkway that sits 50m above the Desfiladero de los Gaitanes gorge. When I first went to El Chorro in the mid 1980's it was quite normal for climbers to walk freely around the walkway to get to routes in the gorge - sectors Recodo, Africa and Santimonia etc. The walkway has now deterioated to such an extent that it is advertised as "the most dangerous path in the world" - a bit of an exaggeration, but it is certainly good fun and exciting / atmospheric if treated as an extended via ferrata trip.

The later part of the week involved a trad (traditional) climbing course with Stephen. The first couple of days were hampered by showers and coldish winds, but the last days featured the normal sun and blue skies. We headed up to Los Pinos behind Villanueva del Rosario as this strange, pyramid shaped lump of rock has lots of trad routes that are great for learning how to lead climb.

A day off now before two weeks of back to back rock climbing courses and I'm heading to a newly developed crag near Antequera - 40m routes on perfect orange rock. This crag's location is secret at the moment, but if you are looking for new routes then El Torcal is worth a visit. The new lines are on more typical limestone than normally found at El Torcal i.e. crimps rather than slopers.


Friday, 15 January 2010

Good weather comes back to Andalucia

The good weather is returning to southern Spain and the long term forecast is for warm dry conditions to stay for a while - hurray!

It is easy to moan, but the varied micro climates around the Malaga have allowed us to find dry crags and a bit of sun despite the odds being against us.

Last week a combination of venues including Villanueva del Cauche, St. Anton de Pinares and Valle de Abdalajis provided sanctuary from the last of the rain.

This weekend I am heading to El Chorro for a course with Justin and Alex and we will stay overnight at the Olive Branch.

The guys are keen to do some multi-pitch leading and the Frontales area is perfect for this.

The climbing season is getting into full swing now and I am fully booked for the next 4 weeks, but have 10 free days in February (14th -24th) and 12 days free in March 15th - 27th.

Back at base Simon has added a booking system to the Rock Climbing Company site with online booking and payment.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Climbing Wall - Villanueva del Rosario

My climbing wall in Spain is almost finished - all the boards are up, all 300 T-nuts are in place and I just need to do a bit more painting to finish the structure

Then I just need for the holds and mats to arrive.

In typical fashion the weather is improving rapidly despite some torrential rain on Monday night. Renee and Cheryl arrived on Monday for a Learn to Climb Outside / Learn to Lead Climb course and were obviously hoping for some Spanish sun afteer escaping from the artic conditions in the UK. They were defininately looking a bit forlorn when it was still raining on Tuesday morning - but the sun was out on the coast and St. Anton on the outskirts of Malaga was dry and warm.

St. Anton East is a great crag for learning how to lead climb because it is bolted very well, is not intimidating and has a good spread of grades from 4 to 7a.

The rock on most of the local crags has dried remarkedly quickly after the Christmas rain and it is only really the the tufa lines that are still wet - the forecast is for a more typical cold, dry weather system to take over now.