Altitude 370m a.s.l
Tom Ireson reaching the anchor on the first ascent of "Viernes de Almeja" (35m - Las Encantadas). © patrickpearce.com
The magnificent cliff of Las Encantadas - the Enchanted Crag - lives up to its name. It is set in a commanding position, overlooking the valley, and has a set of (mostly harder) routes that deserves the attention of all climbers. This was one of the first crags to be developed at El Chorro and its proximity to the accommodation centres means that it has always seen plenty of activity. The older routes are mostly in the higher grades, whilst more recent additions to the left-hand end of the crag have made it more attractive for those operating in the mid-grades. Despite the age of the routes, most are well-bolted though some do have a well-travelled feel about them.
If Las Encantadas does have a fault, it is that it catches all the sun that is going and turns onto an oven in warm conditions. The climbs all dry quickly after rainfall and the steeper walls will stay dry in light rain for a while, although water eventually streaks down the crag.
Las Encantadas is reached from El Chorro village by following the road past the station bar and carrying straight on up out of the village on the road to Valle de Abdalajis. After 0.5km, the road levels out and the crag comes into view on the left just above the road. Directly below the crag are pull-offs on the right - park here and walk back down the road a few metres to below the far left end of the crag. From here pick up a path that heads rightwards to the base of the crag. From the right end of the lower crag walk and scramble rightwards to the upper crag.
Las Encantadas is located on private land. Bad behaviour by climbers in the past resulted in the owner banning climbing and removing many of the first bolts. However, this situation has now been eased and the bolts are back in. Nevertheless, good behaviour here is absolutely essential.
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