Last Saturday El Camino del Rey, the airy walkway that winds its way hundreds of meters above River Guadalhorce at El Chorro in Spain, was officially reopened. Three literally breathtaking kilometers, built at the start of the 20th century to provide access to the hydroelectric power station that served the needs of nearby Malaga. Over time this path - named in honour of King Alfonso XII - had fallen into disrepair and had become extremely dangerous, so much so that access was strictly prohibited.
The only people who still ventured along the path - unsurprisingly - were climbers who used it to access the beautiful crags located deep within the canyon Desfiladero de los Gaitanes. But even for climbers this walkway could be quite a scare…
After having been abandoned for 25 years, the Malaga town council decided to invest over 2 million euro in rebuilding what has often been described as one of the most spectacular paths in the world and now, in the week before Easter, the Caminito has officially been reopened.
Those who wish to walk along the path need to book in advance - 600 people/day are admitted - while in the future tourists will have to pay to access the path. As to the climbing, 70 routes (out of a total of 1800 at El Chorro) have been lost as they are located directly above the boardwalks. Climbers have free access to the climbs but need to show an official climbing license or club card.
"Makinodromo" is situated on the eastern flank of the fantastic El Chorro gorge. This large overhanging limestone crag reaches a height of 80/100m and is most famous for "Lourdes", a legendary 30m 8a ideally suited for those in search of their first ever 8a on-sight. Mega Flash has the same excellent rock and is characterised by long, slightly overhanging routes.
This crag is situated in a depression beneath "Las Frontales", a rocky buttress to the NE of El Chorro. Most routes are steeply overhanging and considered some of the best in the area. "Poema de Roca", the route that gives the crag its name, is easily identifiable by the hanging belay seats that lead up this 6 pitch wonder.
The magnificent cliff of Las Encantadas - the Enchanted Crag - lives up to its name. It is set in a commanding position, overlooking the valley that runs down to Malaga, and has a set of routes that deserve the attention of all climbers who enjoy long, sustained and technical wall climbs; the harder routes especially are amongst the best in the area. If the crag has a fault then it is that it catches all the sun that is going and turns into an unbearable oven in warm conditions.