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Daring Deeds - real stories, expeditions, road trips and adventure

Gipsy Anniversary

By Daniela and Paulo
12, Jul, 2018

Alpkiteers Daniela and Paulo have been over to El Chorro, Spain to set new Trad routes

If you have to choose between climbing and writing, even if you like to share newly opened routes with the world… you always go climbing!

…and so our story begins…

It has been 2 years since we went to El Chorro in Spain. This is one of those places where 90% of the climbers go to sport climb 30 metre routes on walls that reach from 150 to 300 metres!

Although the climbing tradition there goes back more than 50 years, for us the enchantment of the place is the big walls: the big routes still there to be opened, perfect classic trad climbing that no hands had touched before.

After the restoration of the famous (now even more famous!) “Caminito del Rey”, the area of El Chorro that once belonged to climbers and vultures is now crowded with curious people who just want to walk in a beautiful canyon for a while on a well-established path: the adventure of their lives. Buses drive through the area, full of people, money… this is exactly why we didn’t visit El Chorro for the last years… scared of what we would find!

But it came the day that we really wanted to climb and it was raining everywhere except… the south of Spain! So the decision was clear: let’s go to El Chorro!

Late in the evening we parked our van in the familiar-feeling forest, and the feeling when waking up was the same as ever: quiet, beautiful walls right in front of us…the perfect place to have a mountain breakfast.

Daniela and Paulo enjoying their mountain breakfast in El Chorro

On the wall in front of us is “Escalera Suiza”. We already “painted” 2 routes in the past, and beside that we left an unfinished line there 2 years ago. Luckily this wall is far from the hustle and bustle of “Caminito del Rey”.

Before departing from Portugal we had a different idea in our minds, but the wall was so silent, so quiet, so… calling for us that we quickly decided to finish the line we had left incomplete.

And so it was that, after repeating the first pitch, we were again touching rock that no hands had touched before. That perfect limestone let us enjoy 4 awesome new pitches, completing 205m of the new “Aniversário Gitano” (“Gipsy Birthday”).

After this route we felt the trip was already won, and the first decision was to relax and climb one of the few long sport routes in the area, but the next morning, looking at the wall as we had breakfast, we had that same feeling as the day before… “Let’s open another one on this wall!”.

We spotted another logical line, shorter than “Aniversário Gitano” - perfect as we wanted to spend the end of the afternoon between tapas and beers for Paulo’s birthday. Without even thinking about it, our plans suddenly changed and we went again for a piece of untouched limestone. Like the day before, the climbing conditions were perfect: the temperature was nice, and our spirits were united with the wall in perfect harmony. By the of middle afternoon we were on the ground again having opened the 150m “Tuga Tuguinhas” – time for beer and tapas!

The new routes - "Aniversário Gitano” and “Tuga Tuguinhas”

The time we had was short but completely fulfilled us; the silence, the limestone, the climbs, and a truly nice way to celebrate Paulo’s birthday, two days of climbing, topped off with the taste of Spanish tapas and wine.

That’s the way life should always be, going nice places, doing good things!

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In pictures

1 Comment

Share your thoughts about this article.

Nice job

Great to see people extending the big walls. There are so many unexplored possibilities. What about in Valle Albajais, where there are no big wall routes that I can see above the line of first pitches, despite the cliffs continuing above? Is there a local authority that keeps track of climbs if one wants to continue the bolts to extend the sport routes upwards?

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