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BETA PHOTO: Zeppelin Topo courtesy of Bernabe Fernandez
One of the best routes in El Chorro! This long classic route has it all - an excellent slab pitch, a thuggy roof, a cruxy face pitch, a body wrenching mini-dihedral w/ finger locks, and a technical and exposed arete! All in a wildly unique and beautiful setting.
The route should be viewed as a tradition route because of the nature of the wall, but in reality you'll probably place five or six wires on only one pitch and all belays have two bolts. The rest of the pitches are either incredibly easy (4th/easy 5th) or well bolted.
P1 - easy 5th - 60 ft- Scramble to the bolted belay next to the middle tree at about 60 feet. No reason to belay here, as you can link the first two pitches w/ a 60m rope. Don't use the old bolts on the right side of the slab, as they are out of the way.
P2 - 5.10 - 100 ft - Clip a draw to the belay station and follow the glue in bolts up and left, negotiating some fun and tricky slab moves. Two bolt belay and small stance.
P3 - 5.9 - 80 ft - Continue up slightly easier slab, again following bolts to descent stance and a two bolt belay.
P4 - 5.11 - 60 ft - Head for the obvious roof and get into the business. The traverse right is pumpy and committing but is over fast enough. Back clean some draws or sling 'em out if you wish to link P4 and 5. Doing so would make for a long and sustained .11+ as the belay is a point of aid in the hardest section of the wall.
P5 - 5.11 - 80 ft - If you decided to stop at the hanging belay, you'll have to make some tough moves right out of the box. No worries, as you can clip the first (and second) bolt from the belay. Pull through some strenuous face climbing and then head RIGHT through some steep and deceptive terrain to find another bolted belay around the corner.
P6 - 5.9 - 90 ft - This is the only pitch that requires gear. Climb up and right following cracks and passing a few pins and some tat. There are two bolts at the end of the pitch that will lead you right to the bolted belay on a ledge. You are NOT shooting for the short dihedral w/ a nice looking crack, but just right of there.
P7 - 5.10+ - 90 ft - Our favorite pitch. Start on some jugs and make a few technical moves to get into a shallow dihedral. Finger locks count here, even though you are sport climbing. Stay with it to the top of the sustained wall and you are rewarded with a comfy belay and a beautiful view of the Upper Gorge.
P8 - easy 5th - 100 ft - Scramble or belay across the ridge and onto a bolted slab with a few easy 5th moves to reach another bolted belay at the base of a striking arete.
P9 - 5.10+ - 110 ft - Another excellent pitch. Climb up the blocky dihedral and pull onto the blunt arete, using the finger crack on the right to stay on the wall. Make some technical moves and negotiate a tiny bulge before reaching another comfy belay on top of the pinnacle.
P10 - easy 5th - 210 ft - One of the best non-alpine ridges you'll ever climb. Make sure you turn around a few times and take pictures of your belayer. Climb to the left of the ridge and the left of a small diamond shaped pinnacle, passing a bolt here and there. Scramble up the right side of a giant low angled dihedral to a final bolted belay at the top of the ridge. A 70m reaches, but you'll have to move together for 10 meters or so if you've got a 60. It's easy climbing with more than enough bolts.
Descent - Walk left toward some caves with hard looking sport routes and negotiate the steep and loose terrain down to the train tracks. Walk back to town on the tracks. If you start early, you might have time to cross the river and get onto the Camino. Do it backwards, heading down river and you'll be back in town for beers.
Looking up at the slab, you will see three large trees about 60 feet up the wall. Scramble toward the middle tree and find a bolted belay just to it's right. This is the beginning of the second pitch.
14 draws and a set of wires. A few long runners to link pitches.
The route southwest facing and gets sun for most of the afternoon, but it goes fast as the gorge is narrow. If you start around 11am and move reasonably fast you'll be in the sun all day. Alternatively, you could start either very early or after lunch and do most of the route in the shade.
El Chorro is known to be breezy and the Gorge is especially windy. Even on a hot day you'll likely need a wind shell. If climbing in the sun, don't underestimate the need for water.
You can stash gear on the tracks or on the path to the approach gully but this is just asking to get ripped off. Better to rack up and go light and fast - maybe stash some wine and cheese in the tunnel for a post climb snack.