/ El Chorro advice please.
I'm heading to El chorro for a couple of weeks at the end of may and was hoping for a few tips...
Does anyone know somewhere cheap to camp?
Is El Caminito Del Ray still accessible and are the rumors of huge fines if caught on it true?
What is the style of climbing there, can anyone recommend what to focus on in the run up to the trip? (I'm currently leading at around F5+/6A)
Don't know much about camping, though I believe you can camp at the Olive Branch. You might be able to find it cheaper elsewhere though.
The Caminito del Rey is accessible via a short via ferrata and there are no restrictions on using it, other than that of being competent to get onto it. Cutting through the railway tunnels is illegal and punishable by big fines, however the guards have never been there the times I've been to El Chorro. I believe they're more likely to be there at weekends and you can normally see that they're present and use the walkway instead. As fun as going across the Caminito is it's very time-consuming compared to nipping carefully through the tunnels, and I've had some problems crossing the river a couple of times to get to the crags.
First off - Olive Branch is an amazing place to stay indeed. The camping is cheap, you get to use communal kitchen (massive!), living room and showers (hot just after 8pm!). You also get to talk to resident climber, who are an invaluable source of information and a good chat overall.
On that note, the walkway is indeed as illegal now as is walking in the railway tunnel. However I've been cutting to the crags through the tunnel a few times this trip and never encountered any wardens. From what we heard the chances of getting caught are slim, especially if you don't go there on a weekend. But if you get caught you do get fined about 600 Euros. At the same time I've heard of people who have been caught and fined last year and still haven't paid the fine - being a foreigner apparently helps.
El chorro is a fantastic area to be - hope you enjoy it!
Most of the climbing is not accessed via the walk way or the railway - its above the village. At your (and my) grades I would argue that the only thing you are really missing (apart from horribly polished slabs) by not using the walk way is the walk way itself.
Camping at the Olive branch (a couple of miles outside the village) or there is a site in the village itself (not used either - always gone for the luxury bunk house personally !).
One thing I like about the climbing at El Chorro is the fact that at our grade, you can find climbs of all styles - so in terms of focus just leading practice to get used to moving above bolts. Enjoy
Thanks for the tips guys.
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