What in the world happened to my pretty climber hands? Well, that would be me holding on to dear life the first portion of El Camino Del Rey (or Caminito Del Rey) where the via ferrata’s were kind of frayed in some areas.
El Camino Del Rey is translated as the King’s Walkway. Situated in El Chorro, this walkway was completed in 1905 so that the workers at the power plants could transport materials between Chorro Falls and Gaitanejo Falls. Today, the walkway is a phenomenon for climbers and tourists, but not to be taken lightly as many parts are eroded or frayed. I was in pursuit of a crag named Cote, and my partner dreamed of doing this famous walkway…in order to get to Los Cotos, you have to do El Camino Del Rey. Long story short, we did it (yeay!), hiked through tons of pastures only to find that the river was too high to cross to get to Los Cotos. However, we made the best of it and took advantage of some of the pretty lovely sport climbs situated in El Camino starting from about 10a/b and on up (hint hint!).
What is the point here? Just like when climbing in the US, when traveling abroad one must get the beta before hand, a whole lot of it. For instance, I am embarking a trip to Spain TODAY (yeay) and I know a 60m rope will get me no where, I packed a 70m & 60m (as my ½ rope), tons and tons of draws, slings/beaners to build more draws, and plenty of goodies to build anchors where needed. A very light rack helps too depending on where one wants to climb for climbs that are known to be run out.
When I visited Spain in November 2011, my friend had negotiated El Camino Del Rey for 2 years and I negotiated the crag of Los Cotos for like a month (LOL), so we were a great partnership. We noticed so many climbers passing el Camino with a sling (sometimes two) and all were ok, but would not have been in the one and million chance something bad would happen. As the climbing season begins for many of us, whether local or abroad, be safe, get organized and plan well!
See below our adventures through El Caminito del Rey, when you visit Southern Spain for an adventure, be sure to try it out and if needed, hire a guide!