Rock Climbing Areas in Andalucia - El Chorro, Loja, Archidona and El Torcal
Andalucia is a massive province that stretches down the eastern coast of southern spain. We are based in the hills, 30 minutes north of Malaga and 50 minutes from Granada in the small town of Villanueva del Rosario.
Villanueva del Rosario offers some brilliant venues for rock climbing with both sports and traditional climbs up to 300m high. Villanueva del Rosario itself shot to fame a few years ago when a route was bolted in a large cave on the outskirts of the town and claimed as the worlds hardest route - 'Chilam Balam 9b+'.
The main climbing areas are listed below:
Villanueva del Rosario. The cave of Chilam Balam is stunning, but the hills behind the town hide a labyrinth that is full of limestone crags. The most impressive area is the massive buttress of El Corral, but there are several other great areas together with some quite extensive limestone bouldering. The local activists have been careful to bolt crags of all orientations so that climbing is possible all year round. All grades of routes from long mountain scrambles upwards.
There is no published information, but we have compiled a climbing guide with a full series of topos to the area that covers the Chilam Balam cave, Tajo de Corral, Tajo de Madera, La Ventana, Los Pinos, El Diamente and El Chaos. The information has been compiled with the help of the local activists who wish to keep the area quiet and so access to the information is restricted - contact us if would like more information.
Villanueva del Cauche: A great crag with lots of good bolted 6's and 7's and a few 8's. This crag often gets great weather when El Chorro is under clag. Basic, but outdated info in David Munilla's Andalucia guide and unfortunately the latest Rockfax guide seems to have largely just copied this information, inaccuracies and all, whilst missing out the Upper Crag completely along with the new developments across the road.
The upper cave is currently being developed as a dry tooling/wet weather venue with a couple of brand new trad cracks being freed inside the cave itself and exiting via a blowhole! 10 minutes drive.
Archidona: A large climbing area with two separate sections. Low down there is a famous, steep, rain-proof cave with 7's and 8's and above this there are some good long walls that have been recently developed. These walls contain a lot of friendly 5's and 6's plus a few technical horrors in the middle. The cave area is covered by both the Munilla and Rockfax guides, but neither really cover the upper crags. 20 minutes drive.
Loja: A really good set of crags with some superb climbing. The crags lie either side of the A92 close to Loja. There are two main areas Zorreras and Train station. The Zorreras are crags are extensive and very good, especially the big tufa walls on the lower section. The Train Station crags are smaller and more spread out, but still contain some very good routes. All in all there is everything you need; sun or shade, vertical or steep, 6's, 7's and 8's. Reasonable info in David Munilla's Andalucia guide. Rockfax covers the Zorreras crags pretty well, but totally missed out the Train Station crags. The train station crags are the best winter option as they get any sun going. 35 minutes drive.
St Anton de Pinares (Malaga): A good little set of crags overlooking the sea that are perfect when the weather inland is looking dodgy or cold. Their position also makes them great for airport days. There are two crags; one facing SE with about 50 short routes on perfect grey limestone and the larger WNW crag with about 30 routes from 5b to 7c. There are online topos on a separate page - contact us if you need more details.
El Torcal: Limestone that thinks its gritstone. Limestone towers in a lovely area. Info in Munillas guide and more, different, information in the Rockfax guide . THere is a lot of development going on here at the moment and some of the best areas are unpublished - a great hot day venue. There are also two short via Ferrata routes established that when linked together make for a great day out. 25 minutes drive.
Desplomilandia: An outlying area of El Chorro - lots of potential and the current routes are pretty good. The new Rockfax guide has covered this pretty well - 1 hours drive.
Turon: A great crag, largely unknown to UK climbers, but that will no doubt change with the new Rockfax guide. 1 hour
El Chorro: A world class area that is a bit too popular and a bit too polished in places, but is still very, very good. 1 hour.
Valle de Abdalajis: A large expanse rock above this old village. Largely 4s-6s on slabby rock. Online guide here and it has also been covered in the new Rockfax guide pretty well . There are some amazing steep cliffs being developed above this area - local info only at the moment.
There are lots more crags within easy driving distance; Monte Frio (picture left) is a complete gem offering lots of great 6s and 7's in a beautiful, hidden location; Cahorros is a surreal valley on the outskirts of Granada with loads of climbing at all levels and the worlds hardest grading system. Also close to Granada are Cogollos (Steep 7s) and Alfacar (6s)
There are lots of other activities to do on rest days - mountain biking, canyoning and hiking - or the beaches on the coast.