/ Picos de Europa - Climbing Scene

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ethan109 on 09 Dec 2012
We're currently considering a move to Spain. The main contenders are the Sierra Nevada and the Picos de Europa. Have been to the Picos in the past but it was before I climbed, but loved exploring the mountains round there. Does anyone have any idea on what the climbing scene is like round there, and if there are many brits to partner up with. Also if anyone knows of any outdoor centres around the area (to work for) it would be great to have the name or link to their site.

Thanks for any help you give,
Alun - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to ethan109:

I can only speak a little bit about the Picos. It depends on your definition of 'climbing scene'. The Picos still has a great reputation as a mountaineering venue with hundreds of amazing routes and fantastic peaks, but I think it is currently seen as a little bit of a backwater. When I was there a couple of years ago (not climbing, just passing through on a surfing trip), the 'mountain buzz' (that you associate with, say, many Alpine venues in summer) was nowhere to be found. In fact, the whole place seemed to be swarming with day-tripper tourists gawping at the views (much like myself at the time!).

On the plus side, there is a definitely a very strong (albeit very seasonal) tourist industry, so finding seasonal work shouldn't be too hard.

Before making the decision to move, my recommendation would be to visit there at least twice, once in July/August, and once again in late autumn/early spring, so you get an idea of the how it's like in both peak- and off-season.

My further recommendation is that right now is not the ideal time to move to Spain from Britain and expect to find work easily, but everybody's situation is different!
David Rose - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to ethan109: There is no rock climbing at all in the Sierra Nevada, only a little easy winter climbing. The Picos de Europa is utterly fantastic. There is everything from huge mountain routes of up to 800 metres to high quality sport cliffs, and if the high mountains are out, there is a huge amount of climbing in the valleys lower down. There are also some great huts in the mountains, not only in the central massif but in the western one, the Macizo de Cornion. On top of all that, if you are into to it, the Picos is basically the Mt Blanc massif of world class deep caving, with many incredible systems more than 1,000 metres deep. I would say this decision is a no-brainer.
Monk - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to davidoldfart:

Are you sure? There's quite a lot of cragging around Granada. I would say that the Picos has more to offer in the way of mountain rock routes in my experience (which isn't much), but both areas are interesting in their own right. The Picos is probably the more truly 'mountain' feeling place. The climates between the two areas are very different too, so that may be a consideration.
RockShock on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to ethan109:

In general looking at the employment situation, if at all you are considering a move to Spain, than I guess you get better chances of getting a job in the south as the coast around Malaga is populated by foreigners so there's a bigger demand for workers (however, in the current economic climate over here, 'bigger demand' is an overstatement I guess).
Also, I guess in the south you get more companies that organize rock climbing, ferrata etc for foreigners, so English speaking folks may be more welcome.
On the other hand, climbing wise, south has some great places, but:
- best places for sport climbing tend to be found in Catalonia
- best places for alpine/mountaineering are to be found in Picos or Pyrenees
- the more south you go in Spain, the more foreigners you get - so this may be important when looking for a job
- the more north you go (excluding Barcelona) the more 'local' the country is - with the majority of the tourists being Spanish. Pyrenees is a bit diffeent I guess, but on the other hand I am not sure how big the job market is over there.

I guess you need to specify more what type of job and activities you expect to do and then consider the employment aspects - best to come here to Spain with a job already agreed beforehand!

All of the above, of course, is just my point of view.
RS, Madrid
Simon Caldwell - on 10 Dec 2012
In reply to Alun:
> there is a definitely a very strong (albeit very seasonal) tourist industry

Very seasonal. We were climbing there in September a few years back, in constantly warm dry conditions, and there were very few other climbers about. Not many more walkers (no queues at the cable car). The local towns were quite busy at first, but pretty empty by the time we left (mid month).

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