El Chorro is one of the oldest and most developed sport climbing areas in Andalusia, Spain. It was one of the first European climbing areas to be bolted. As sport climbing became popular in the eighties, climbers took to the limestone cliffs of El Chorro and established the first routes. Since then, El Chorro became one of the world’s sport climbing hotspots and a great number of excellent routes can be found in and around the main area.
In the first decade of the 21st century, El Chorro became one of the most popular climbing areas in Spain. Nowadays, it has been overtaken in popularity by newer crags such as Oliana, Margalef and Rodellar in the North, or Archidona, Otinar and Villanueva de Rosario in the South. Thanks to this decrease in popularity, El Chorro does not get too busy any more, which makes it an even more attractive destination.
The small and charming village of El Chorro is situated about fifty kilometres inland from Malaga. It is set amongst the beautiful landscape of the El Chorro Gorge. The massive ridge of Las Frontales rises high above the village and the clear-watered Ardales lakes surrounding it.
The El Chorro sport climbing area offers more than a thousand routes of various difficulty and style. There are many long multi-pitch climbs, as well as a host of easily accessible single-pitch sport lines across a wide range of grades. From absolute beginners to the world’s best pro climbers, everybody can find suitable lines to enjoy. El Chorro’s style is very diverse with tufas on steep walls, vertical and crimpy climbing, as well as good quality slabs. The quality of rock is extremely high but some of the more popular or classic climbs can be very polished.
Climbers leading from f7a up should not miss the magnificent Maquinodromo sector, as well as the nearby Desplomilandia. The latter is a newer crag full of beautiful lines which have not yet been polished by countless climbers’ feet.
Most of the sectors are located within a walking distance of the village but renting a car will make your life much easier, especially if you want to visit more remote crags such as Desplomilandia.
Getting to El Chorro with a car is also more convenient than by public transport, although there is a train station in the village. Malaga is the nearest city and is served by many low-cost airlines flying regularly from all over Europe.
For a sleepy village in the Spanish mountains, El Chorro has a good variety of accommodation options. There is a good campsite by one of the more popular sectors, three climbing refuges, and, for those who want a little more luxury, there is the option of a hotel room.
One of El Chorro’s big advantages is its mild climate, which makes it popular as a winter sport climbing venue. It is a great spot to enjoy some winter sunshine and, if it ever gets too warm, there are always shaded crags where you can escape the heat. Winters can get quite rainy and tufas do not tend to dry fast, but the more slabby and crimpy sectors, such as Las Frontales, tend to remain climbable. From April to October it is too hot to climb in In El Chorro, but during other times of the year the weather rarely disappoints.
Camino del Rey is a great option for one of your rest days. The trail leads through a suspended walkway along the length of a beautiful gorge, one hundred metres above the ground. It is over ninety years old and seems to be falling apart, but it has recently been made safer by the addition of via ferrata cables and bolts.