Climbs 71
Rocktype Limestone
Altitude 287m a.s.l
Faces S

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Ola Stepien on Number One (5a) at Los Cotos © Mark Glaister

Crag features

The slabs of smooth and subtly-featured limestone that make up Los Cotos are a welcome alternative to the steep and strenuous climbs on the neighbouring cliffs that surround it. The setting in the secluded Central Gorge area is magnificent, making it a lovely place to enjoy some fine climbing with the sun on your back, but best avoided in warm weather.

Los Cotos was one of the first places to be developed for sport climbing at El Chorro and the style and grades are considered by many to be a little 'old school'. A few of the lines have been upgraded to bring them in line with the routes elsewhere and some gear has been replaced. However, there are still a number of routes which require a small rack to supplement the sparse fixed gear. For those who want to get the most out of the place, taking a few wires is a good idea. Cotos Medios is the most frequented section whilst Cotos Altos has the best lines and rock. Cotos Bajas is set down next to the river and is a lovely spot, but the routes are not as good and much of the gear is in need of an update. In warm conditions, the polish on the popular lines makes itself well felt although it has got no worse over the last couple of decades or so.

Los Cotos is a huge suntrap getting the sun from first thing in the morning until late afternoon, although there is plenty shade available at the base of the crags from bushes. The more popular climbs are polished and are best avoided in humid and hot conditions. The crag is especially well-sheltered from cold northerlies, but is best avoided in the wet.

Approach notes

It is possible to reach all the crags in the Central Gorge Area without going through the train tunnels. The approach described here is quite long, but it is also a beautiful and spectacular walk. From El Chorro, follow the road towards the gorge and the exit from the Caminito. There is a large parking area here on the left. Walk down the continuation track to an ice cream stand at a junction. Follow the track around the ice cream stand. After 200m there is a terrace on the right opposite a large metal tube next to a tree. Step up onto the terrace and zig-zag up to the railway. Go up some wooden steps, over the railway tunnel and onto the hillside above until you reach a wooden fenced area. Take a vague path up the hillside towards a section of scree slope. Scramble up the right-hand side of the scree - no real path - until you reach an indistinct higher path. Follow this back leftwards towards the ridge to a clean notch cut through the ridge (this notch isn't visible from below). Once through here, the path contours across the hillside all the way to Makinodromo. For Los Cotos, continue dropping down the path towards the river. Once at the base, turn left and work your way up the hillside under the slabs.

Access Advice

Officially you are not allowed to walk through the train tunnels and climbers have been stopped from doing this. Unofficially, you will see people still using them and it is undoubtedly a quicker approach to all the crags at Los Cotos.

The routes here are either very polished or extreamly baddly bolted. The upper section has some of the worst examples you will ever see.
Tom_Harding - 21/Nov/09
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