17 Down Under:
17 DOWN UNDER. "A celebration of moderate grade climbing in Victoria". 184 pages. 285 images. Father & son team, Steve & John Morris, embark on a journey to climb and photograph 50 of the best rock climbs in Victoria, grade 17 & under. Inc bookmark $50.00
Planning on a 5 week trip December/January to Spain. I'm thinking El Chorro, Costa Blanca and the Siruana area, Catalunya. I would appreciate anyone's advice on the following things. Which is the best city to fly to - Madrid then hire a car? Or Malaga and do El Chorro, drive across to Costa Blanca, then drive up to Catalunya area. Or fly straight to Barcelona - do the Catalunya region then head south after that. Is it too cold, rainy at Siruana at xmas? Say we do those 3 regions, which is best place to base yourself and do day trips? Should I pre-book accomodation or just rock up and find an apartment or refugio? I'm travelling with my 16 yr old daughter who can climb up to 21 and 26 is my limit - please suggest some crags in these areas with lots of good quality moderate routes. Any other advice is much appreciated.
Malaga used to be a good place to hire a car in the off season. You could get a Kangoo or Berlingo for around EUR10 long term then take the back seats out and sleep in the back. Not sure how the prices are now but it's easy to check online. Keep in mind El Chorro can be accessed by train if need be.
El Chorro is awesome in the 6's and 7's. Get the Rockfax guide and you can't go wrong with any of the 2-3 star routes......there was enough to keep me going for weeks. The weather is obviously more reliable the further south you go. And i've rarely had a wet day in Chorro.
I've done Siurana and Margalef in March/April and it was nice and sunny but have heard the odd story of lots of rain and/or snow in Dec/Jan. They are quite high elevation so will be quite cold in winter. Costa Blanca is also a good winter sun option with plenty of good routes in your range.
Good places to stay are La Finca and Olive House in El Chorro (walk to crags), Orange House in Costa Blanca (need a car) and Camping Siurana (Toni Arbones place). There are other refugios all over the place near crags. I wouldn't bother pre-booking except maybe for the xmas/new year stretch.
I have always flown easy jet from London to Malaga/Alicante/Barca so not sure how you would do it direct from Oz.
PM me for route recommendations or more info if you need.
On 15/05/2014 Eduardo Slabofvic wrote:
>I spent 1 night in La Finca, and its a really great place to stay if you
>like smelling other peoples vomit
You should be more choosy about whom you allow to pass out in your room Eduardo. Cam passed out a number of times and not one single vomit. We stayed there for 8 days with no offensive odours.
Stayed at all the above that Maxdacat noted and loved them all. El Chorro for me was the winner. Probably heading back this year just to Costa Blanca (Sella area) and El Chorro. Our trip last time we flew to Barcelona and travelled all the way down stopping at Montserrat, Lleida, Siurana, Costa Blanca El Chorro as well as a couple of tourist stops amongst the climbing. We ended up driving back up to Madrid but we were flying to Morocco after that. Maybe flying to London and catching a cheap flight to Malaga and starting at El Chorro might be good as the weather will be warmer there and leave the colder areas to the latter part of the trip, giving them more a chance to warm up. Probably much of a muchness though
I left lleida in December 2012, where it was icy daily. I'm talking snow capped mountains and minus 5 until 11 in the morning at the crag when the sun hits. It would then increase to about 13 degrees. Perfect conditions. My friend came from Siurana in November, he reported that it was very cold and even a little wet. If your looking for very good conditions i.e. super cold and dry they can be had in siurana/Lleida at that time, but prepare to be cold also. The new Tarragonna guidebook is a fantasic resource. There are many crags near siurana, such as Monsant that are world class and within your grade criteria.
In terms of accomodation, you will not have much trouble finding cabins, refugio, house etc. in many of the major climbing areas such as Siurana.
Another area that was really pleasent was southern Lleida. There are some world class harder crags such as Santa Linya, as well as many very nice easier/mid crags such as Futbolin, St Lorenc De Montgai, which all face south and cop very nice sun. It is also a beautiful area to visit. The northern crags in Lleida such as terradets, tres ponts etc. may be too cold, but even Oliana will be nice in the sun, there are a few low 6 climbs and a few low/mid 7 climbs that are great, but only maybe a day or two worth within your limits.
I cannot comment on El Chorro, only that people seemed to relocating there around December when we left, from Siurana/Llieda.
Before we arrived, all we knew about was Siurana and Margalet, when we arrived our eyes were open to so many amazing crags in Tarrgonna, Lleida. We just didn't know about them because Sharma wasn't filmed there for Dosage etc.
Barcelona is a great place to visit when not climbing and still pleasent in Dec/Jan.
I'd just rock in to Barcalona and let it happen from there. Getting the guidebooks before hand my give you a better idea of what you want to do
Only climbed at Montserrat - but that was end of November - a bit wet (climbing in the cloudline) but not too cold.
Barcelona was balmy - riding the rental bikes in t-shirts was awesome.
So coming from Tassie, I think you'll be fine in Spain.
was in el chorro for 5 weeks over jan and early feb. was radical, can recommend the Olive Branch. affordable, family run with kids and pets and walking distance to the gorge and the hundreds of amazing routes there. Olive branch has guide books pool table and really good volunteer staff that cook great veg meals etc they are also great guides and sources of info for the camino del ray and surrounding area. It was cheaper for me to fly into madrid and bus to malaga and train to el chorro than fly straight to malaga. no car was needed if you are ok with 30-45 min approach over hilly terrain, supplies can be an issue w/o car. Honestly even the south can get wet and cold in Jan. Day trips with a car from El chorro include rhonda and granada and a few other crags.... I would happily spend a whole season in el chorro........ good luck!