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ROCK CLIMBING TASTERS & COURSES IN SPAIN (MALAGA). CURSOS DE ESCALADA EN ROCA EN MALAGA.

For ROCK CLIMBING TASTERS & COURSES, CANYONING and VIA FERRATAS (in english) in Malaga area visit: WWW.ANDALUCIA-AVENTURA.COM

Para informarse sobre todo tipo de los CURSOS DE ESCALADA EN ROCA, VIAS FERRATAS, BARRANQUISMO (en español) en Malaga ver: WWW.ES.ANDALUCIA-AVENTURA.COM

Via Extraplomos, Cara Norte de Veleta (3398m), Sierra Nevada

15 October 2013

sierra nevada, cara norte de veleta, climbing sierra nevada

The last week of September, weather in Sierra Nevada is much cooler than at the sea level, up to 15 degrees during the day and around 5-8 degrees at night. We drove to the highest parking lot late evening, it was windy, foggy and cold, full moon emerged out of the clouds around midnight.  We spent the night in tent, but had no good sleep, it was quite noisy (wind) and also because of gentle headache caused by fast 1 hour fast ascend in our car from sea level to over 2500m. The group of Granadians woke us up at 7:00, making incredible noise around their car, chatting so loudly like they had an argue and packing hiking equipment, flusks, sandwiches and whatever they had for 1 day trip. I prepared some hot coffee and shared my croissants with Albert, nice breakfast. After breakfast there is no choice, it’s time to go climbing. Once you get to the Posiciones de Veleta (by minibus) it’s just 15 minutes to get to the base of north face of Veleta. It was snowing a few days before, so the wall is a bit wet and there are snow patches on the ledges and most of slopping parts of the wall. First pitches are V+, nice climbing, though fisrt pitch is quite demanding, protection is not so easy to place. Then a bit steeper pitch to the big ledge. Extraplomos is a classic route on that wall and it’s about the last 3 pitches: 6c (bolted, so no harm) mixed with some 6a/6b trad terrain, then short abseil and the last pitch with 3 small roofs (bulges) – very nice climbing with good protection (small wires); last roof is the most spectacular but the easiest. Only problem was it was very cold (maybe 6 degrees) and we had to wait for the team from Granada above us. We finished climbing just in time – when we’re driving down to the parking lot the sky turned black and we saw lots of lightning, the thunderstorm was coming.

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El Torcal via ferrata with North Walians

20 May 2013

With Scott and his friend we met last year in El Chorro. This season the Welsh they came in a bit extended group of 4 and ready to try the El Torcal or Camorro Alto via ferrata. It is one of the most interesting via ferratas in Andalucia, although quite short (40 minutes from the bottom to the top, if you are fast) it is very steep at the first part of 30 meters. In fact it’s a bit overhanged and distances between the steel handles at some sections are bigger then they should be on the via ferrata ladder.

Anyway guys came in very good mood: giggling, some juicy swearing and commenting on each other. After the short equipment presentation we started ascending to the bottom of the rocky pillar where via ferrata starts. I saw adder snake between the stones – it is not very common in Andalucia or maybe not so easy to find.

The belaying at the first steep section went very smoothly and very soon all team got to the first comfortable ledge. Then we packed our ropes and rest of the climb we did with lanyards. The best part of via ferrata is tyrolian traverse, quite scaring if you have never tried that before. At this point it was very windy and cold, so nobody hesitated to clip to the tyrolian lines and cross to the other side of the gorge. We finished climbing at the small meadow full of flowers – that happens only in May.

Cheers guys!

Springtime madness, climbing knots & polish girls

16 May 2013

After a snowy weekend in Salamanca (15 cm of snow and -5 in the morning) on the way back from Portugal, I got eventually to El Chorro. Usually spring comes to Andalucia on february/march, but this season it’s late and it hit with tremendous force – I have never seen so many colorful flowers blossoming  at the same time in El Chorro. A springtime madness is all around – twittering, buzzing, rustling and yelling: birds, butterflies, any kind of insects (on the ground and in the air) landing on you when you finish leading at the second pitch. We saw a swarm of bees – a real black cloud! – which made a few people panicked, but bees were too busy with their affairs and flew away to buzz somewhere else… That it is a springtime peak season indicates also the number of smashed snakes on the road from Alora to El Chorro. Yesterday a vividly green lizard, almost 0,5m long ran across the road just in front of my car – it was running sideways, what I guess is a lizard’s trick to make potential enemy confused.

For the 4 intensive days we climbed & abseiled some nice walls around El Chorro’s Frontales wall crags, practising loads of equipment operations with different climbing and emergency scenarios and improving making-decisions process when climber is under stress. We met some german teams on our multipitch climbs, but making room at the belay stations wasn’t problem anymore with climbing savoir vivre and tips we used. Also we met SO MANY polish girls it would be impossible to count them and there is only one person in Londoners team who could give you more details about this phenomenon.

Emanuele Pellizzari: lab test of carabiners used at belay stations

29 December 2012

Some interesting facts about mailon rapides made in UE in comparison to those made in China, as well as “hardware” carabiners you may find at some lower offs on sport routes. Carabiners, mailon rapides and quickdraws have been tested and analised by Emanuele Pellizzari at the Italian Mountaineering Club Gear and Techniques laboratory at Taggì di Sopra, Villafranca Padovana in Italy and published at www.planetmountain.com

A sample of carabiners and quickdraws have been tested and analised by Emanuele Pellizzari at the Italian Mountaineering Club Gear and Techniques laboratory at Taggì di Sopra, Villafranca Padovana, Padova, Italy.

Over the last 14 months I’ve collected enough carabiners used as lower-offs at belays to make a sound statistical analysis with the aim of drawing some conclusions about their breaking strengths. I began collecting them after a carabiner which I’d removed from a belay “opened” at 920 daN (a metric unit equivalent to circa 1 kg). The carabiners were tested at the Italian Mountaineering Club Gear and Techniques laboratory.

Logic and common sense tell us that the most important piece of gear on a single pitch sport climb should also be the strongest. But evidence seems to indicate the opposite; or rather, the most important safety point, such as the carabiner used at belay stations, is by far the worst carabiners o

f all. For example, I’ve found crabs which could only be sold in Europe if they had been marked “not for climbing” READ MORE

ce ce china

Hands that heal got pumped

16 December 2012

rock climbing instruction malaga

When I picked up Jag, Yan and Jake (physicians based in Sheffield, the UK) from Oasis Hostel in Malaga early in the morning the narrow streets of “centro de Malaga” were empty of people, window shutters were closed and just a few Spaniards were picking their hot “churros” with milk coffee in the bars we were passing by. After fast drive we made some shopping in Alora as usual and 30 minutes later we were ascending at Frontales walls with rucksacks full of climbing gear. When I was explaining to them climbing knots, belaying techniques and the essence of the fall factor, they were explaining to me how I can get a stroke, why people get a heart attack, as well as smoking 5 cigarettes a month may have a positive impact on your health.

On the second day we went to Escalera Arabe area to practise abseiling and single pitch climbing techniques. When we got at the base of the wall I saw the same black dog which I had seen it in Villanueva del Rosario a few months ago – then it appeared from nowhere and spent with us a full day then made a poo so stinky that Albert was close to vomit. But it was a few months ago, so would it be possible that dog travels on its own between V. del Rosario and El Chorro, which is a quite long distance? For what reason, just for fun to meet some new climbers? It seemed to me very unlikely. Very soon it turned out the dog has a 3 sweet puppies and the new owner as well. It was very nice to meet Sylvia with her group. Puppies and their mom were jumping around distracting belayers, while Sylvia and I were running instruction for our groups. That day was one of these perfect sunny days with no wind that happen in December here in Andalucia.

On the next day we practised multi-pitch climbing and we finished abseiling after the dusk in complete darkness.

On the last day I could observe Jag, Yan and Jake they have much more confidence, ease of climbing and safe habits gradually emerge and that means my job is done.

Windstar’s wooden deck and chalked fingers

9 December 2012

windstar cruise malaga puerto

When Kelly said their Windstar Cruise will have the 8 hour stop at the Malaga port I thought it must be one of these huge ships with hundreds of windows on its both sides, swimming pool at each deck and every night shows around 10 p.m. So I was waiting next to the Terminal A, at the deepest dock of the Malaga port. I was earlier there to avoid morning traffic and having just enough time to take a cat nap. A sudden call woke me up and a spanish voice of travel agent informed me that I should be in a different place – Kelly’s ship is docked at the “puerto nuevo“. It is a relatively short distance to drive but passing a few stucked roundabouts, skipping lazy taxi drivers and horse carriages took a bit too much time to keep me calm. I was really impressed of the Windstar ship – a 4 masts sailing ship with wooden deck and nickel plated details. It departs from Barcelona and within a few stops (Palma de Mallorca, Valencia, Malaga, Cadiz) arrives to Lizbon. The exact route depends on the season.

puerto malaga

At 10 am we got to the San Anton walls, then started testing some new pairs of climbing shoes. We climbed easy grade routes many times. Kelly’s friend even trusted my hand a let me arrest a few of his falls on a bit harder climbs.

Costa-supposed to be-del Sol, wet weather & tough guys

4 December 2012

Rock climbing course spain, climbing malaga

Almost a month ago, Costa del Sol turned into the Costa del Rain: it was raining almost every day for longer than week and that is something very unusual in November. Aleksander and Kim they haven’t been lucky coming to Spain in the middle of that raining period. At the beginning of the course it seemed the weather will be good enough for climbing, some showers during the day is not a problem at all, as long as there is some warm wind to dry out the walls. So, the first 2 days we could climb some routes and I teached them multi-pitch technique, abseiling and solving some different emergency situations. The following 2 days were mixed with climbing and running down to the car and back at the base of the walls. Temperature dropped to 15 deegrees and with wet weather it caused we could not enjoy climbing as we would like to. However, for tough guys from Norway there was no excuse for climbing and the last day we spent a few hours climbing and abseiling while it was raining, then we get to the car completely wet and all equipment was drying out over 3 days after the course. Finally it is sunny again, what a reflief… I hope you guys will be back one day in south of Spain!