Tuesday, 12 March 2013

El Chorro - El Camino del Ray - Flo Tilley

El Camino del Ray

El Chorro- great rock, great climbing, great adventures and on the fourth day into the trip, we decided to test our selves and go for the crag with the mega walk in. We were off to Makinodromo. There are three ways to get there, over and down a mountain/ hill, through the railway tunnels; which is not allowed- a 2000 euro fine or finally, round the gorge on the on ‘The Kings Walk way’ / ‘El Camino del Rey’. We chose to go over the top. The walk was long, hard and tiring and up scree-slopes! It took us an hour and half to walk just one and half miles, excluding Amanda, Billy and Tara who somehow went on way head without; it seemed, any rests! I congratulate them fully!!
El Camino del Ray

Unfortunately, after the hard slog up we finally reached Makinodromo to find it dripping, after the torrential rain the night and day before. We were devastated! All that hard work to find we couldn’t even climb!!  However, all was not lost. To our great relief we didn’t have to go all the way back down the scree-slopes, and instead we contacted the adults who were walking the gorge to ask if there was a bridge across, and thankfully there was. After some time jumping around huge boulders and playing with poi and juggling (with rocks), we made our way down off the crag towards the gorge. We all tentatively crossed a railway track to get to the bridge spanning the gorge. It was only about 1.5 metres wide, with no rail and a 100ft drop on either side. Once across the bridge we tackled the walkway.

As we had not planed to go on the gorge no one apart from Gracie had brought via ferrata kit with them. However, this isn’t a problem as you can use slings instead just as safely as the wire runs horizontally by your side.  Wayne Ridal, Richard Allcock and Carol Hayes had come to meet us here and it was lucky they did because this first part of the walk is the most sketchy and dangerous of all, so much so that Wayne and Richard had to rig up a rope instead of the via ferrata wire as this only had 3 strands left still clinging together.  The first bit of the “walk way” needed you to traverse along the rock, made difficult by slippy trainers and damp hand holds and the thought of a 100ft drop below you. The next few meters seemed simple, a short path, around 2 feet wide, however, it all seemed more complicated when you have no protection- they had seemed to have forgotten to attach the via ferrata wire so one slip and you’re over the side, plummeting down into churning water far below. The fact that you have a big heavy rucksack on your back makes you seem even more unbalanced .

7a+ El ultimo rayo del sol
Nevertheless I survived and so did everyone else! A fair bit of chocolate was consumed as we all regrouped after the deadly walk, trying to regain some control after the traumatic experience! We discovered later this second gorge is seldom walked- I wonder why?! There was about a half hour walk on solid ground to get to the main gorge. This was much steadier, with only a few parts of the path completely demolished, one part requiring a balancing act along the remaining bar. To all our relief however the via ferrata wire was all intact and strong looking the whole way round.
Due to the frustrating start to the day we still hadn’t got on a climb and had to get on the rock. So a vertical 26m 7a+ -El ultimo del sol took our attention, with Jonny onsighting it, Alex wandering up it straight after, then me, not so smoothly. Making a punter start- falling off at the second clip, but coming straight down I went up again and climbed it in one, feeling good on the small crimps and deep lock offs. Tara, Sarah, Billy and Gracie all had to get their fair share on it too, as they all followed up after. 

The trip ended all too soon. For more of our adventure in El Chorro visit: ¡El Chorro ~ Spain ~ late nights, laughter and psyche!

1 comment:

  1. I was up there last week and although a thrill….I was scared from beginning to end!! very scared. I can’t say I’d ever recommend anyone trying the Caminito, its in very bad condition. We have just come out of our wettest winter in 70 years and the rain hasn't helped much. A Italian climber came off in March of this year (2013) when the safety cable snapped. He fell more than 80m and miraculously only suffered a few fractured ribs. Then again its now or never, the authorities are closer than ever before to reforming it!! hope you enjoy the video we took up there http://www.spain-holiday.com/Alora/articles/el-caminito-del-rey-malaga – glad I did it, but must say, I am in no rush to go back!!!