Beta (climbing)

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El Chorro, Andalucia, Spain

Fly to Malaga. Take the Renfe (spanish for train) one hour north to Alora. From there catch a bus or hitchhike or call your best friends Gary and Mel at the Olive Branch B&B/Campground--that's where you'll be staying. The Rockfax El Chorro guidebook is a must for the area. Two thirds of the climbs in the book are in walking distance of the campground. Rent a car if you want to take day trips to many other good looking crags that are all between 20 mins and 2 hours away. Buy groceries at the Mercadona in Alora. Climbing shop available in the small town of El Chorro, although their prices are ludicrous (at least they have chalk). Must-do routes include Poema de Roca (7a/5.11d), Life is Sweet (6c/5.11b), Little Brown Baby (7a+/5.12a), Un lait fraiche pour monsieur (7b/5.12b), and Hakuna Matata (7a+/5.12a). Climbing style is mostly juggy overhanging tufa endurance routes on limestone. Very polished in some places, particularly the poema cave. Bring a 70m rope as some routes are long. It's all sport-climbing: single-pitch routes are great but there are also a bunch of multi-pitch. Particularly the multi-pitch routes in the gorge are supposed to be good although you might want a set of stoppers and warmer weather for them. Best season is December to February for the south facing crags in El Chorro, if later in the year go to the north facing surrounding crags for which you'll need a car.

Siurana, Catalunya, Spain

Fly to Barcelona. Take the bus for two and a half hours to Cornudella de Montsant. Take a cab, hitchhike, or walk the seven miles up the hill to Camping Siurana, located half a mile before the village of Siurana. There is only one road so you can't miss it. Toni Arbones' guidebook has terrible topos and no descriptions, but all the routes are there. The Rockfax Costa Daurada book has very few routes and sectors, but pretty good descriptions, and it also includes a lot of the surrounding areas although all of the information is outdated. You'll be happy at Siruana without a car for months, but if you want to go to the nearby areas of Margalef, Montsant, Arboli, etc a car will be needed. Buy groceries in the town of Cornudella. Chalk and some other gear is available at the campground. You can also borrow the guidebook from the campground to look around without buying it. Climbing is mostly vertical or slightly overhanging small limestone crimps and pockets. Very technical and sometimes polished, but always super high quality. It's all sport climbing so no need for trad gear. Bring a 70m rope or longer if you plan to climb at El Pati. Must-do routes include Delicatessen(7a+/5.12a), Massa temps sense piano (6c/5.11b), Valg'... (7a+/5.12a), Bistec de Biceps (7b+/5.12c), Mandragora (7b+/5.12c). Best time of year is December through February; cliffs face south and get hot. Margalef offers some shade and is not as sharp, so you might thin of alternating time at Siurana and Margalef; climb at Siurana til you tear off all the skin on your fingertips from the sharp crimps then go to Margalef until you tweak your tendons from pulling on steep two/three finger pockets.