Articles - Sport climbing in Los Vados and Los Cahorros
Lee Proctor enjoying the classic La Canal(F6b+), Los Vardos, Andalucia
Mark Glaister - Words, Artwork & Photos
Where is it?
South eastern Andalucia is best known for the beautiful sight of the Alhambra in the city of Granada, the immense bulk of the Sierra Nevada rising to around 3,500m and the sun worshipping mecca of the eastern Costa del Sol. Tucked neatly into the middle of this section of coast is the gorge of Los Vados not far from the coastal resort of Motril half way between Malaga and Almeria. Los Cahorros is located 10km to the south east of Granada and in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.
Who's it good for?
These are definitely areas for those who are a bit jaded with the usual winter sun sport climbing locations and fancy exploring further a field. Along with the potential for visiting the Alhambra and maybe a day or two’s skiing, but still with the option of staying on the coast. These areas are for experienced climbers although easier routes do exist they are not of the same quality. Many of the climbs are single pitch but some excellent multipitch sport routes are located at Los Vados. The only downside to the areas is the proximity of a busy road at Los Vados and crowds at the weekends in Los Cahorros.
When do I go?
The massive elevation change between the coast and the Sierra Nevada allows good climbing conditions to be found during the late autumn through to spring. Sun and shade are plentiful but it can get very hot at Los Vados and very cold a Los Cahorros. High temperatures and inflated flight and car hire prices during the summer months indicate the ‘climbers off-peak’ season. Los Cahorros is very busy at weekends and is best avoided.
Who flies where?
There are charter and scheduled flights to Malaga that are at times very reasonably priced. Usually the best value is the Locost option via Easyjet out of London’s three main airports, Bristol, Liverpool and East Midlands. Information at easyjet.co.uk. Flights to Almeria are also now very reasonably priced. Car Hire is the cheapest in Europe and many bargains are to be found, out of the summer months. Try holidayautos.co.uk.
Where do I stay?
Lots of options are available with the coast being the obvious choice for sun lovers whereas Granada itself will have more appeal for the skier and those bent on siteseeing. The resorts of Motril and Nerja an hour or so from Malaga are close to Los Vados.
What's the scoff like?
All tastes are catered for with plenty of restaurants and bars all along the coast and unending numbers of tapas joints in Granada.
Which guide do I buy?
The local topo guide which covers both Los Cahorros and Los Vados can be purchased via the Desnivel online library at libreriadesnivel.com. Just a word of warning-the grades at Los Cahorros are local grades! To get the correct grade add two letter grades e.g. 6a’s are actually 6c’s.
Where can I buy gear and food?
Small shops and larger supermarkets in the local villages and towns. Hypermarkets are located in Motril and Granada. There are climbing stores in Granada and in Malaga.
What else is there apart from the climbing?
The skiing, walking and mountain biking in the surrounding mountains and gorges is fantastic.