Situated only 50Km inland from Malaga, the rock climbing area of El Chorro is very diverse and has something for everyone. The main focal point is the huge limestone gorge, which offers some fantastic multi-pitch rock climbing with its own unique and intimidating atmosphere. There are around 800 routes at El Chorro across a good range of grades, with most of them being single pitch sport routes. The various crags provide everything a climber could wish for with excellent limestone slabs, tufas and exceptionally steep walls; most of it within walking distance of El Chorro village. It’s fair to say that El Chorro has become a classic winter climbing venue and the ideal time to visit is from October to the end of April.
(1) The Lower Gorge
The Lower Gorge is very narrow and it is where El Chorro's most intimidating and adventurous routes are to be found. However since the Camino Del Ray walkway was repaired and restored in 2015 getting to these routes is considerably less intimidating than it used to be.
There are many quality routes to be found here, and not surprisingly this is where the long multi-pitch routes are concentrated (up to 10-pitches long). The two big multi-pitch classic routes of Africa and Zeppelin are still very popular and are prized gorge ticks. The majority of the routes here are 6b+ and above, and they usually start either above or below the Camino Del Ray walkway. A word of caution, since the walkway was repaired, you must buy a ticket to gain access to it. These tickets are restricted and are proving to be very popular with tourists from the coastal resorts. Hence obtaining these tickets can be challenging though it is possible to book these online.
(2) Los Cotos and El Polvorin
Further into the gorge it then opens out and therefore receives a lot more sun and is considerably less intimidating. The first crag in this area is Los Cotos that offers some excellent technical slab climbing at the lower to mid grades.Tucked around the corner from Los Cotos is El Polvorin, one of El Chorro’s premier crags. Here there is an impressive steep wall with many excellent routes in the 6th grade. All the routes at these crags are single pitch. Traditionally these areas have been accessed via a series of railway tunnels, though this is now illegal. To enforce this, guards patrol the tunnels and they will fine any climbers they catch. However, all of these areas can be accessed via the Camino Del Ray walkway or a longer walk over the top.
(3) Makinodromo Area
Makinodromo is a truly awesome crag. It is probable El Chorro’s best known crag with its severely overhanging walls and tufas. There are many high quality single pitch routes that range from F6b+ into the F8s. The stand out route here is Lourdes at F8a that picks is way through the largest and most severely overhanging wall of tufa. Again these routes are accessed via the Camino Del Ray walkway or a longer walk over the top
(4) 2nd Canyon
The gorge narrows again into a 2nd Canyon, which is El Chorro’s least visited area by climbers. Here there are a number of single pitch and multi-pitch routes, though many of them are graded at F6b and above. It is a longer walk to these crags but the reward will be some solitude and adventure.
(5) Las Frontales Crags
Towering above El Chorro village is a knife-edge ridge known as Las Frontales. This ridge starts within the village at the entrance to the gorge and then rises up above El Chorro. The climbing at Las Frontales is less intimidating than the gorge, and there are a good selection of single and multi-pitch routes at all grades up to 150m long.
(6) Escalera Arabe Crags
Above the Las Frontales ridge is another excellent series of crags called Escalera Arabe, which has many excellent single pitch sport routes across all grades. There have also been a lot of new routes established in this area though there is still scope to add more.
(7) Las Encantadas
Las Encantadas is situated just outside the village of El Chorro and is only a few minutes’ walk from the car park. There are many superb single pitch routes that are long, sustained and technical wall climbs.
Within an easy drive of El Chorro there are several other rock climbing areas that are well worth visiting, in particular Desplomilandia that is only a 30 minute drive from El Chorro. The routes are generally overhanging with many of them graded at F6b and above. The rock is immaculate and the crag has the added bonus of being in the shade for most of the day.
The whole area around Malaga and Marbella offers some excellent crags such as Turón, Archidona, Torcal de Antequera and Loja towards Granada.
Which rock climbing guidebooks are available for El Chorro? What is the best time of year to visit El Chorro for rock climbing? What rock climbing gear do I need? What is the best way to get there? Visit our El Chorro logistics page to find out.
Climb Europe also has information about accommodation to rent at our El Chorro accommodation page.
The Rockfax El Chorro rock climbing guidebook details all the sport climbing to be found in El Chorro. All routes are shown on full colour photographs, topo style.
Buy this guidebook from our shop.
Buy these guidebooks from our shop.