Altitude 418m a.s.l
Øyvind flies © Ammatørn
The vast bulk of Frontales sits high above the village of El Chorro and offers some of the most important climbing in the area. The central section is dominated by the characteristic oval-shaped cave of Poema de Roca which is where the first routes were put up more than 30 years ago. Since then virtually every section of this vast wall has come to the attention of climbers. It now has many routes across the grade range varying from slabby to severely overhanging, and from short single-pitch to some extended fully-bolted multi-pitch expeditions. The presence of Frontales is hard to escape from and it is the first crag you see virtually every day you climb here, so it gets a lot of attention and many of the climbs are popular classics.
In addition to the rock climbs there is also now a popular via ferrata next to Albercones - a great way to enjoy some spectacular scenery if you want a diversion for half a day.
Most of the climbing is in the sun from first thing in the morning and it can get really hot on these walls. The jutting pillar of sector Mundo marks a useful dividing line for those after shade. In early morning you can find some shade on sector Suizo and sector Momia is the first to get shade in the early afternoon. For the early or late riser, the Poema de Roca cave does get some shade on either flank at the beginning and end of the day. Other than that, most of the sectors are suntraps - useful in the colder months. If it is raining, then some shelter can be found on the steeper sectors, but even in Poema de Roca cave the rain does tend to blow in a bit so it isn't as good as you might expect. Rockfall from the vast expanse of rock above the climbs is an ever-present danger and a helmet should be worn. On the longer climbs remember to equip yourself against dehydration and sunburn.
There are two basic approaches for the Frontales crags. For the lower sectors from Canada to Momia, the best approach is from the Albercones parking area. This is reached from El Chorro village by following the road which turns off just before the station bar. This leads through the village and on to a dirt track that runs alongside the old campsite to a large parking area just beyond - 0.8km from the station bar (next to a fenced off entrance to the railway tunnel). Very occasionally the track is impassable after heavy rain and it is necessary to walk from the station bar (around 5 minutes extra).
For the sectors from Poema de Roca to Sector Sin Futuro, the best approach is to follow the road through the village up the hill towards Valle de Abdalajis. As the road levels out, and just before the large crag of Las Encantadas, there is a ruined building and water tank (1.2km from the station bar) - park here. Take the upper of two dirt tracks on the left and walk along this for 1km (ignoring a drive to a house on the right and a track that drops off to the left) until the track meets the hillside at a large quarry.
The area is a nature reserve and access to the crags on Frontales and Escalera Arabe is sensitive. You may see people driving up the track from the water tank, but it is not allowed and you could well be fined. It only adds around 15 minutes to the walk in.
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