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- Taster courses and Adventure Activity Days in Spain-

Rock Climbing - Abseiling- Via Ferrata

 

climbing spain

 

This course is ideal for those who want to try rock climbing, abseiling and/ or via ferrata for the first time.

 

We enjoy helping people of all ages and abilities to overcome their initial fears and enjoy an adventorous day in the mountains

 

We offer guiding and instruction in the hills that surround Malaga, Granada and Marbella as well the mountains around Barcelona and Picos de Europa.

 

 

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

 

 

Experience the thrill of rock climbing, abseiling or trying a Via Ferrata having an exciting and fun day in the south and north of Spain.

 

 

This adventurous day will let you try rock climbing and abseiling in a safe environment with the guidance and instruction from an experienced climbing instructor, Silvia Fitzpatrick. Silvia is a fully qualified climbing instructor, languages and sport teacher who has been on the rocks for over 25 years and has an impressive climbing CV.

Our main base is in the hills just north of Malaga - the main climbing area lies at the back of the village of Villanueva del Rosario which is close to Antequera and Archidona. This is one the best and most varied climbing areas in Spain. As well climbing in the mountains, we can run the courses close to the coast near Malaga. Only 5 minutes drive from Fuengirola, Torremolinos and Marbella, there are great climbing locations such as Mijas, Pinares de San Anton and Puerto Rico.

Inland, we can not only climb in the hills around Antequera, Archidona and Loja, but we frequently run climbing courses in the El Chorro and Valle de Abdalajis.

Further afield, the historic city of Granada is surrounded by the Sierra Nevada and some brilliant crags. These include Los Vados, Cogollos, Loja, Cahorros and Alfacar which are all great venues with different weather patterns so that we can choose according to day and time of the year.

The climbing course content can vary from an adventurous day of climbing, via ferrata and/or abseiling -where the emphasis is on excitement and fun- to a more formal climbing course for those who want to learn how to start climbing independently - if you want to see what the climbing in our area looks like then head across to the climbing gallery which shows some pictures from recent courses.

This course is ideal for those who want to try rock climbing, abeiling or via ferrata for the first time and we enjoy helping people of all ages and abilities to overcome their initial fears to enjoy the adventure and freedom of climbing and abseiling.

All our rock climbing courses are totally customisable and we can arrange them for parties of all ages and sizes whether couples, families or larger groups.

 

What is a Via ferrata?

 

Via Ferrata Cala Moli A Via Ferrata is a route that lets walkers and climbers ascend, descend or go across vertical or steep rocky terrain using iron steps or rungs that are placed at regular intervals (~ every 60cm) in the rock.

A steel wire is also fixed alongside the route which allows climbers to protect themselves by connecting to it. The steel wire is secured to the cliff with bolts every 3-6m and these bolts limit the length of any fall.

The steel cables are also used to cross gaps in the rock such as crossing one side of a chasm or gorge to another,

Originally set in the alpine and mountainous regions of Europe they are now a popular activity for families and walkers who want to enjoy the trill of climbing without too much technical difficulty

 

 

wire bridge

Via ferratas allow the relatively inexperienced a means of climbing steep terrain whilst enjoying the dramatic positions that are normally the preserve of the serious climber or scrambler.

Via ferratas vary enormously in length and difficulty; they range from short family orientated routes to full day excursions that will stretch most experienced climbers.

Climbing Via Ferratas is now a mountain activity in own right with guidebooks, equipment and grading system

 

We regularly receive compliments on the climbing course that we run and there is a small collection of these on the home page in the "Testimonials" tab below the main text.

 

Rock Climbing Instructor

Silvia Fitzpatrick in andalauciaOur Spanish climbing courses are run by Silvia Fitzpatrick, who is a native Spanish speaker. Silvia was born in Argentina and learnt to climb on the granite mountains of Patagonia whilst training as a PE teacher. Once qualified she moved south to Bariloche and El Chalten and started climbing full time, soon after making the first female ascent of Cerro Fitzroy in Patagonia and becoming South American Climbing Champion. Soon after she was invited across to the UK by Ed Drummond to climb the North Face of the Eiger with Jim Bridwell for the Climb for the World programme, on behalf of United Nations UK.

Silvia never returned to Argentina to live, instead she traveled around the world exploring the climbing in different countries before a serious accident slowed her down. Whilst recovering, she started teaching again before training and qualifying as a climbing instructor.

Silvia is a full member of the Association of Mountaineering Instructors (AMI) and the Mountain Leaders Training Association and has an impressive climbing resume including being British Climbing Champion. Silvia is exceedingly enthusiastic about climbing and you can be sure that every course will be not just be exciting, adventurous and safe, but also a lot of fun.

There is more information on the Rock Climbing Taster course below and also a page of general information that tries to answer some common questions.

 

 

More information on Climbing, Abseiling and Via FerrataTaster Courses in Spain

 

Summiting in Spain in the mountains of the Sierra NevadaThis course is an ideal introduction to the sport of rock climbing and is a perfect way of learning how to climb, abseil and go up the popular Via Ferratas.

We can cater for groups of all sizes, but we will never exceed a climber:instructor ratio of 1:6 - this relatively low ratio allows us to give attention to all members of the party whist keeping everyone active, learning and having fun. At the same time the low ratio lets us maintain the very highest safety standards.

We normally start the session by traveling to a local crag where we will warm up, stretch and practise some basic climbing movements. This will help us avoid injury and also learn to move efficiently over the rock - as the day progresses you will soon find that rock climbing is not all about strong arms and that precise footwork and good balance will make the climbs much easier and less tiring.

Once warmed up we will fit the climbing harnesses and helmets before looking at rope work, safety systems and how we protect each other. Then it is time to start climbing - we'll choose some introductory routes that suit your ability and aspirations and climb them using a top rope system. This way you always have a rope above you and so it is a great way to build confidence and climbing skills in total safety; once at the top of the climb you can choose to be lowered back down or you can learn how to abseil with the security of a safety rope that is controlled by the climbing instructor.

escalando en el tajoAs you become more confident in your ability and in the equipment, we will show you the various techniques climbers use to overcome difficult and strenuous sections.

We will always try to pace the session so that you are climbing, abseiling and learning right up to the end of the course.

Above all this is an exciting, fun filled day to give you a taste of the world of climbing and hopefully it will inspire you on to join your local climbing wall or climbing club and gain more experience ... or you could come back to us for the 2 Day Learn to Climb Rock Course.

All the technical climbing equipment you need is provided by us and with Silvia being supported by two of the premium climbing equipment manufacturers - DMM and Mammut - you will be using the very latest and safest equipment.

Rock climbing is one of the most exciting outdoor activities and the adventure is all the better when the rock is perfect and the sun is shining - and Spain has lots of both perfect rock and sun.

 

 

Climbing venues in Andalucia / Locations where we offer courses

 

High above ArchidonaOur main base is the small Andalucian town of Villanueva del Rosario, which is set amongst rolling olive fields in the hills 38km north of Malaga and 70km West of Granada.

It is a surprisingly temperate region that allows climbing virtually all year round; when it's hot then we head into the hills and when it is colder or rain threatens we can head towards lower ground or the coast.

The most extensive and varied climbing though is in the hills 30km above Malaga in the quiet valleys surrounding Villanueva del Rosario, Archidona and El Torcal.

We are lucky enough to be surrounded by a complex labyrinth of hills and valleys with lots of rock. These limestone crags are largely undocumented in the UK press and thus climbing here is tranquil and on rock that is not polished. The crags offer all types of climbing from scrambling to sport climbing, from multi-pitch to bouldering and traditional routes.

The highest peak in the area is El Chamizo at 1641m which has a summit log book that the successful can sign for posterity.

We often run climbing on the coast - there are good crags on the outskirts of Malaga and Mijas as well as near Puerto Banus close to Marbella.

The popular El Chorro is only 45 minutes away from VVa del Rosario and the Granada crags of Cogollos, Cahorros, Vados and Alfacar are within striking distance of our base and we are sometimes able to come across to the Granada area, if you are staying there.

 

 

Climbing Glossary

 

A perfect duskAs in all sports, terminology has developed in rock climbing in order for climbers to communicate with each other. It is easier to tell a climbing partner to 'pull on the arete, and then rock-over on the sharp crimp' than to say, 'pull on the edge there that resembles a sort of ridge, and then place your foot on that small protuberance of rock, transfer your weight over that foot, and now try and stand up'. Especially if they are halfway up the climb, and rapidly running out of strength! It is also vital for safety reasons to have a standard set of calls, so that climbers know when it is safe to climb, and know when to pay out rope and take in slack to minimise the risk involved.

 

This glossary outlines the most commonly used terminology.

 

Rock Formations

You are about to start climbing, so it's probably a good idea to choose something to climb. Here are a selection of climbing locations and rock angles - factors that will determine the style of climbing you will attempt.

 

Rock Angle and Size

vftorcal Big Wall - Huge cliffs, found in places such as Yosemite and Norway's Troll Wall. These often take days to climb, with sleeping taking place on portable ledges.A small freestanding lump of rock.

  • Boulder -. Bouldering (climbing on boulders) has in fact become a sport in its own right - although historically used as training for rock climbing, it is now often at the forefront of pushing technical difficulty.

  • Bulge - A protruding section of the climb, steeper than the main section. These can be often be strenuous to overcome.

  • Crag - An outcrop of rock. Found as small inland cliffs (eg the gritstone edges of the Peak District, or the limestone buttresses of Yorkshire), sea cliffs (Wales, Dorset and Cornwall have some great examples of these) or as parts of larger mountain ranges (eg outcrops in Scotland, Wales and the Lake District).

  • Mountain Cliff - Altogether more serious, a mountain cliff will often resemble a few crags stacked one on top of the other. Usually the situation means that the climbing is more remote and serious than crags

  • Overhang - Anything steeper than vertical (though usually used in the same manner as 'roof').

  • Overlap - A small roof, usually between 15cm and 100cm in depth.

  • Slab - A section of climbing which is less than vertical. Less strenuous than other angles, but often tenuous and scary.

  • Roof - Pretty self explanatory; a horizontal or near horizontal section of a climb, capping a gentler section. Strenuous.

  • Via Ferrata - A climb or itinerary on the rock that is one using iron steps an steel wires as well as rock. See above for full details
  • Wall - A vertical -or near vertica-l rock face.

 

Abseiling - an essential skill on the rocks

 

Abseiling in AndaluciaAbseiling is descending on one or two ropes which are connected to an anchor. This is usually located at the top of a climb.

It is an essential skill in rock climbing because allows you to get back to the ground safely and independently.

it does not require a lot of strength or fitness and can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

Initially the instructor will protect you with an additional rope when you are trying it for the first few times to ensure that you have learned the safe use of the equipment involved.

Once you have mastered this, we will show you how to do it by yourself using a back up such as a 'prussik loop'

 

 

History of Via Ferratas

 

Simple via Ferratas have existed in alpine regions for hundreds of years as a means of to connecting villages to their high pastures. Modern via ferratas routes date back to the start of alpine exploration 1843 when a route was built on the Dachstein by Friedrich Simony using a range of iron pegs, rungs and chipped footholds. The later part of the nineteenth century saw a fast expansion of via ferratas across Europe including the first via ferratas in Northern Spain when iron rungs were fixed on the Pic du Midi d'Ossau in 1880.

Via Ferratas were used a lot during the first world war in the Italian Dolomites to gain territorial advantages, but the next big step forward occurred in the 1930s when the Italian climbing federations began working on shortening and improving access to the popular climbing routes in the Brenta Dolomites. They fixed ropes and protection along natural lines and weaknesses in the rock to create a series of routes which were then linked up to create the Via delle Bochette network - a classic series of via ferratas that also helped establish the idea of doing via ferratas in their own right rather than as a means to access summits or rock climbs.

 

Rock Formations

  • Arete - An outside corner, resembling the edges of a brick on a grander scale

  • Break - A horizontal crack.

  • Chimney - A very wide crack or fissure wide enough to fit the body in.

  • Chockstone - A rock or boulder wedged into a crack or chimney.

  • Corner - the opposite of an arete. Like the corner of a room

  • Crack - Usually refers to vertical fissures in the rock.

  • Crimp - Generally a small, but positive hold which requires good finger strength to use.

  • Flake - A layer of rock that appears to be on top of, but separate from, the base rock.

  • Groove - A shallow vertical opening, like an open crack without the fault in the rock.

  • Jug - A large hold.

  • Offwidth - A crack wider than a fist, but narrower than your body...

  • Pinch - A protrusion of rock which is best used by pinching (qv).

  • Pocket - A hole or depression in the rock.

  • Pod - A short shallow break or crack.

  • Ramp - A diagonal ledge of any width.

  • Sidepull - A vertical hold, used by pulling from the side.

  • Sloper - Any hold which is made harder to hold by it being angled the wrong way. Imagine half a tennis ball being glued to the rock, and you'll have a fair idea of what a sloper may be.

  • Thread - A 'hole' through the rock. It can be used by wiggling the fingers into it, and is also often used for protection.

  • Undercling/Undercut - An 'upside down' hold. May sound useless, but can be invaluable in making a high reach.

Note that combinations of these holds are possible, so we might have slopey crimps, a sidepull jug or a crimpy undercling.

 

Climbing Techniques

 

Now that you know what the rock formations are, you need to know how to use them. There is a large array of techniques used in climbing, and many of these are aimed at specific types of hold or rock angle:

  • Bridging - Spanning between holds in a corner or chimney, usually with arms and legs akimbo (US - Stemming).

  • Dyno - Short for 'dynamic move', a dyno is literally a leap for a hold which is out of reach! Typically, both feet and at least one hand leave the rock, and the hold you are going for is generally large.

  • Edging - This is simply using the edge of the rock boot on small sharp edges.

  • Flagging - In order to get balanced in certain positions, particularly when the hand and foot holds are vertically in-line, or if you are having to stretch for a hold quite far away horizontally, then you may need to flag or stretch a leg out to act as either a counter balance, or as a third point of contact to create a balanced triangle.

  • Heelhook - Generally used on steep rock, and particularly when turning the lip of an overhang. This utilises a very high foot hold, which you place your heel on (often above your head), and then use the power in that leg to assist in hauling your mass up the rock. Turning the lip of an overhang, this is often used to get into a mantling position to get into a standing position on the lip.

  • Jamming - Using your hands as a camming device to use a (typically) vertical crack as a hand hold. The hand is inserted into the crack, and then either twisted to cam the fingers into the crack (finger locks), flexed to fit the crack (hand jams) or formed into a fist (fist jams). In the latter two cases, these can be very painful, as you are using the frictional properties of the back of the hand and front of the fingers to pull up on! If done properly, these can be very secure.

  • Layback - Using one side of a wide vertical crack for the hands, and the other side of the same crack for the feet, you can generate enough friction to stay on the rock. Laybacking is using this position to move up a crack (or other feature allowing the same sort of position). Strenuous, but less painful than jamming.

  • Mantle - Imagine you're getting out of a swimming pool, and you push down with your hands to lift yourself out of the water. That's essentially a mantle. Anything with this sort of pressing action is called a mantle.

  • Pinching - The opposite of spragging - literally pinch a hold between thumb and fingers.

  • Popping - A small dyno. Generally a semi-dynamic move where the hold is just too far to reach statically.

  • Rockover - A technique often used on slab climbs, a rockover is a way of making a high step to one side easier. Place your foot on the high hold, and then use any available hand holds to move your weight over and across that high foot hold.

  • Smearing - When there are no holds for the feet, but the texture of the rock is quite coarse, you can use the sole of your sticky rubber rock boots to make use of the available friction to stand on. Called smearing.

  • Splitting - This is a strenuous alternative to laybacking or jamming - the hands are used to try and pull the crack apart. Hard to keep moving on, as once you release one hand, the other loses the friction necessary to stay on the rock! It can be done though, in small dynamic bursts, or if the rock allows a sort of brief layback to alternate sides.

  • Spragging - A technique that can be used on cracks too small to get the fingers into, this is like splitting the crack with the thumb and fingers.

  • Undercutting - A technique using underclings. The undercling needs to be fairly low - preferably waist height or below - and is held in tension using the strength in the biceps. Think trying to pick a car up by the sill. As this works with one arm pointing toward the ground, holds a full arm span apart can often be linked.

 

Equipment

 

choosing gear

OK. Now you know what the rock looks like, and how to use it. What's next? Well, unless you're into a spot of 'bare-naked bouldering', you'll want some equipment:

  • Belay Device - One of many devices used to control the rope. It is attached to the harness, and is used to lock off a rope in the event of a fall. Equivalent to holding the rope really, really hard, but better and less painful. Many shapes and sizes are available, from plain screw-gate krabs with an Italian hitch (special braking knot) to specially designed mechanical contraptions and even the climbers own body can be used as a belay device if one of a number of archaic and outdated methods are employed.

  • Chalk - Magnesium carbonate, in powder or block form, stolen from gymnasts to reduce sweat on the hands, and so increase chances of staying on the rock.

  • Harness - A nylon contraption which sits around the hips and thighs, that you can theoretically hang from a rope on indefinitely.

  • Karabiner - A C-shaped piece of aluminium, with a gate across the opening of the 'C'. Used as a link between protection, slings and ropes. These come in various styles, but all can be classified as either a snap-gate krab, where the gate is held shut with a spring, or locking-gate krab, where the sprung gate is additionally locked off with a screw, or some other safety device.

  • Protection - Bits and pieces of ironmongery designed to be placed in cracks and faults in the rock. These take the shape of different sized wedges of aluminium on wire or nylon cord (known as rocks/nuts/wires/wedges for the smaller sizes, and hexes for larger sizes), nylon slings, friends (devices which can fit a range of sized cracks by using pairs of opposing cams), and other more esoteric devices.

  • Quickdraw - This is a sling of sewn nylon or dyneema with a karabiner at each end. Used as a link between the rope and protection.

  • Rock Boots - Tightly fitting shoes, with sticky rubber soles. Designed with discomfort in mind. The idea being that you are so desperate to get the damned things off, that you will find hidden reserves of strength in order to reach the top!

  • Runner - The generic name for the combination of a quickdraw linking a piece of protection in the rock with the rope. Short for 'running belay'.

 

Climbing Practice

 

Steep climbing at ArchidonaNow you have all of the ingredients to start climbing - some rock, some techniques and some equipment, it's time to put it all together and learn how to understand each other when you are 30 meteres apart (or stop yourself and your partner from having too bad an acciden)t.

  • Belay (noun) - A setup of a climber and at least one, but preferably three, pieces of protection in the rock, linked together with a bird's nest of rope and slings, from which the climber (usually standing on a good ledge, but occasionally dangling from the nest by the harness aka hanging bela

 

  • Belay (verb) - Belaying is the act of controlling the rope using a belay device. Typically, the belayer pays rope out and takes rope in when required, and brakes the rope in the event of a fall.

  • Belayer - The person doing the belaying.

  • Climb - A route up the rock, often following an obvious line (eg. a crack or a corner), but often just following a series of good holds up an otherwise blank piece of rock.

  • Leader - The person on the 'sharp' end of the rope, climbing first, and placing and clipping into protection along the way.

  • Pitch - A section of a climb, chosen to be less than a rope's length in height (a typical rope is 50m), and preferably starting and finishing at good belays.

  • Second - The 'second' person up the climb, who may remove any protection the leader has placed.

 

 

 

Pricing and Booking

 

Prices. A list of all prices are found below and all prices include VAT/IVA.

Type of Course
Length
Ratio
Cost
Climbing Taster
3.5 hrs session
1:1 to 1:2
120 Euros per group
1:3 to 1:4
160 Euros per group
1:5 to 1:6
180 Euros per group
7 hrs session
1:1
190 Euros
1:2
110 Euros per person
1:3 to 1:4
85 Euros per person
1:5 to 1:6
60 Euros per person
Larger groups
We can arrange instruction for larger groups with prices from 40 Euros per person per day.

 

Booking Form

Booking Details / Conditions

Ratios and course sizes The Climbing Taster course can be taught at a ratio of between 1 to 6 clients to 1 instructor. We can look after larger groups, but there will need to a sufficient number of instructors on hand to ensure the group's safety.

Climbing Equipment We will provide all the climbing equipment that you will need including a helmet and harness for each member of the course.

We have a selection of specialist harnesses for children that include both full body harnesses and specific children's sit harnesses. We can also hire out climbing shoes for those who want to get the most from the session.

What you need to provide You will need to come prepared with clothing that will keep you comfortable and safe from the elements - this can range from sun hat, sun cream and light clothing to protect you from the sun in summer to an extra fleece and wind/waterproof on nippy days in Autumn and Winter when the wind is cool and the temperatures are lower..

Walking boots/supportive training shoes can be useful for the approaches, but all of the venues used on this course are close to the transport and generally accessed by good paths.

Ideally you will need your own rock shoes as well, although we can arrange hire rock shoes if required. You will also need a rucksack (30 - 40 litre capacity) and food and drink for the day.

What is not included Prices do not include accommodation, meals or personal insurance.

We can provide accommodation in a newly renovated house in the small town of Villanueva del Rosario near Antequera - full details are in the Spanish Accommodation section.

The full terms and conditions are on the booking page

Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information

 

 

 

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