Rock Climbing CompanyAssociation of Mountaineering Instructors

Learn to Rock Climb | Holidays & Courses in Spain

 

Upper Archidona

 

Sun and rock - climbing holidays in Spain

 

Spanish sun rock holidays

 

 

 

El Corral Crag

 

Rock Climbing Courses

for Beginners in Spain

 

Malalga-Marbella-Granada-Barcelona-Picos de Europa

 

Summiting El Chamizo in the sun

 

 

This is a perfect course for beginners with little or no climbing experience who want to learn the core skills needed to become a safe, competent climber.

 

 

 

 

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

 

This climbing course will give you a solid foundation of knowledge to build on once you return home - an essential element of this course is that we not only show you the best climbing techniques, but we help you understand why they are best.

 

We will show you how to belay correctly in different situations (top roping, bottom roping and looking after a lead climber); how to construct anchors using both bolts and traditional protection; how to build rope systems that are safe and simple plus how to use your climbing hardware and equipment correctly. This way you will learn how to climb safely right from the very beginning.

We try to pass on these skills whilst out climbing because this is the best way of ensuring that the instruction we give is as real and memorable as possible - not only is this the best method of learning how to climb safely, efficiently and confidently but it is also the most fun method.

Rosario climbing in rosario

Above all we will give you an adventurous experience that you will remember for a long time in one one the best and most varied climbing areas in Spain.

A one or two day course will give you a feel for rock climbing and at the end of the course you should know the basic climbing techniques necessary to use a harness correctly, tie into anchors, follow climbs in a top rope environment and re-thread anchors i.e., you should be a safe and competent partner for other climbers. This is a key attribute because you will then be able to find climbing partners more easily and crucially will have an basic understanding of whether they operate safely.

If you wish to progress further (i.e. looking at placing traditional climbing equipment and the principles behind leading you own rock routes/being more independent/multi-pitch routes) then you will most likely need more time.

A full four day course will give you the chance to go from having never climbed before to climbing on a full range of single and multi-pitch routes. building belays and gaining confidence and experience in a wide variety of situations.

If you need accommodation then our base in Spain is a recently reformed, comfortable house in Villanueva del Rosario. This pretty mountain town lies in the hills 35 km north of Malaga and has easy access to a vast range of adventurous activities. The house has all modern amenities and has several accommodation options that can cater for groups of 2 - 6 people. It is a perfect base for a climbing holiday.

A full outline of the Learn to Climb course is below and there is also a General Course Information page. The tabs below also include various bits of information on climbing equipment and climbing safely - the one below covers "Building a Climbing Rack" and there is a sister article on the Learn to Climb in Snowdonia page.

We can run courses on either an open or a private basis. Open courses are listed on the Calendar page and these are run so you can join a group of climbers with similar ambitions. Private courses are by arrangement and prices / details are list in the right hand tab below.

We are a small company that always tries to work with you to create the course you want - simply telephone or email us and we'll try to construct a program that works for you.

 

 

Learn to Climb Course - Spain

 

Learning  to climb in SpainThis climbing course will be tailored to give you the chance to learn all of the basic climbing skills in an exciting, safe and informative environment.

Our base is the small town of Villanueva del Rosario, which is set amongst rolling olive fields in the hills 30km north of Malaga. 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.

We are lucky enough to be surrounded by a a series of hills and valleys that have lots of rock. These limestone cliffs are largely unknown to British climbers and thus climbing here is tranquil and on unpolished rock. The crags offer all types of climbing from scrambling to sport climbing, from bouldering to traditional routes. There are even multi pitch lines up to 300 meters high.

Topics that we always cover are:

Movement and technique: How to move over rock efficiently so that you stay in control and save energy.

Belaying Techniques: How two climbers use the equipment and work as a team to ensure each others safety. Top roping / bottom roping systems: The most common rope systems used by those starting out.

Core Equipment: How to use the core items of climbing equipment - harness, rope, belay device, carabiners and protection - and how they are all used together to form a safety system

Rope work and knots: We will show you how to tie-on to the rope, how to connect the items of climbing equipment to each other and how to tie the main knots used by climbers. You will learn how to do and use the most common climbing knots: the figure of eight, the bowline, the double fisherman, the various prusics and the clove hitch.

Crag safety: how to foresee, avoid and minimise objective dangers.

Climbing glossary: We will help you understand the language that climbers use so that you can use climbing guides and talk to other climbers

Choosing climbing equipment: We will help you uderstand what equipment to carry on different styles of routes as well as looking at the advantages and disadvantages of various different pieces of equipment. This will also help you understand what to look for if you need to buy your own kit in the future.

 

Logistics

 

On a course that lasts one or two days you will learn how to put on and tie into the harness, use a belay device to control the rope, protect the climbs, set up belays and abseil as well as doing lots of climbing

Longer courses will let you consolidate and expand these skills so that evertything becomes more fluid and natural. We can also cover multi-pitch routes, problem solving and spend more time on protection and belays.

We will supply all of the technical equipment and with Silvia being sponsored by DMM and Mammut you can be sure that you will be using the latest equipment.

We can also offer comfortable self-catering accommodation in a newly renovated house in the old part of the town.

 

Further Resources

 

Lead Climbing near El ChorroIf you want read about the techniques that climbers use then the following resources might be useful:

The British Mountaineering Council also provide a lot of information for people starting out; including some useful downloads that were originally published in Summit magazine:

Climbing Indoors - Climbing Wall Basics and Climbing Outside

Plus there are plenty of other good articles in the Safety and Skill / Climb Skills section of the BMC web site

The following website's also provide good information on all aspects of climbing:

Planet Mountain - Comprehensive and global reporting on all aspects of climbing.

UK Climbing - the best UK climbing site.

Supertopo - A great resource on climbing in California plus an active forum with lots of info.

Rockclimbing.com - The other big US climbing site.

Good books include:

Rock Climbing - Essential Skills and Techniques - the best book on how to climb safely. Crammed with information and easy to read.

Mountaincraft and Leadership - A heavy weight, but the old bible.

 

Climbing in spain on multi pitch routes

 

 

Building a Rack of trad Climbing Equipment

 

There is a huge amount of rock climbing equipment on the market and deciding what you need at various stages of your climbing career is often difficult. The advice below should give you pointers about the type of equipment you will need - we hope it helps.

A bit of background first...

In the UK most climbing equipment is classified as Personal Protective Equipment and as such must be tested against and meet certain standards set out by the European Union. Climbing gear can also be tested against standards set out by the UIAA. Great....or not.

This formalised testing has certainly raised standards in certain areas over the past few years and there is absolutely no doubt that some of the very best and most experienced climbing brains sit on the CEN and UIAA committees. The difficulty comes when people trust kit implicitly just because it has CE or UIAA accreditation - so some reality:

  • Getting CE/UIAA certification is pretty easy; producing climbing equipment that constantly meets and exceeds those requirements in a commercial, production environment is not.
  • The standards are not perfect - some are old and badly written (Cams being a good example) and some have been kept artificially low because of pressures from various parties (Carabiner gate push-in test for example).
  • The committees have historically been made up of some of the best climbing engineers on the planet - this is now being diluted with other bodies now getting involved (REI and the UIAA for example) and there is massive concern that even more commercial pressures will be applied and agreement on new standards will slow down. (It is for this reason that a lot of the key brains are now concentrating on driving the CEN standards forward, rather than the UIAA ones, as was the case in the past)

So choose equipment carefully and use kit from respected brands who have good quality control systems.

 

Climbing Equipment for Top-Roping and Seconding outdoors and Indoors

 

Climbing Harness

Go to a good climbing shop, find a member of staff who climbs regularly and try a few harnesses on and hang in them. If the shop does not have any staff that climb or does not have a place to hang in the harness walk out and find one that does.

The harness should be padded on the waist and legs because this feature should offer more comfort when you are hanging in it - the actual comfort will depend on the amount of padding, the quality of the padding and its shape / size - hence the need for the hanging point. Try the harness with both thin and thick clothing to check it will fit you in both warm and cold conditions; also check that the harness sits symmetrically on you i.e. gear lops are evenly positioned on both sides.

Check that the harness rise (distance between the crotch and waist) is correct and that it is not too short and drags down the front of the waist belt - often a problem for females.

Hang in the harness to check not only the comfort but also that it holds you in the correct position.

There should be a minimum of 5 gear loops if you intend climbing outside; they should be positioned so that you can access them easily and should not hang so far forward that gear constantly falls into your lap

Most beginners go for a fully adjustable harness i.e. buckles on the waist and each leg. This allows greater options, but many climbers move to fixed legs as they progress.

Check that the harness can be kept tidy and that webbing can be tucked away. The DMM Renegade Sorting out the climbing gear/ Puma is a good reference point.

There is a full article on climbing harnesses on the Climbing Advice and Tips page along with several other articles.

Rock shoes – Once again head to a specialist climbing shop - don't ever buy shoes on the internet if you have not used that model before - and ask for advice before trying lots of models on.

Shoes vary hugely and nothing will improve your climbing more than finding a shoe that fits your foot, fits your style of climbing and that you trust

Rock shoes are a culture shock – your toes should touch the end of the shoe, they should be comfortably tight and if you twist the shoe your foot should twist with it without any slippage. Then once you have your perfect fit bear in mind that all shoes stretch...

Buying shoes for the first time is difficult so take your time but remember that climbing shoes are not comfortable.

The climbing shop should have a few small foot holds mounted on a wall so you can see how the shoe feels when standing on small edges or when smearing. Ask for feedback on the shoes you like - do they stretch much?, do they soften up much? what is the build quality like? Get the right shoes and climbing gets a lot easier.

The Red Chili Saucilito, Scarpa Vantage and Sportiva Cliff are good starting points. Again there is more complete information about climbing shoes on the climbing equipment advice page

  • Belay Device – The DMM bug is good for all-round use on ropes 9.0mm to 11mm, whilst the Petzl Verso and Reverso3 are class leaders for skinnier ropes 8.5mm to 10.2mm.

Make sure that your belay device is safe for use on the ropes you will be using i.e. if you are using 8.0mm ropes use a skinny rope controller (DMM Bugette).

  • Locking Carabiner for Belay Device – DMM Belay Master is great when you are starting out - the carabiner can't invert or cross-load. The new DMM Ultra O screwgate also works really well because it is well rounded, strong and symmetrical.
  • Chalk bag and Chalk – Down to you ….just make sure you can get your whole hand in …essential for sea cliff climbing later on in your career. Carry it on 1.5mm of 5mm cord that can be used as an emergency prusic or abseil tat rather than a chalk bag belt that cant be used for anything useful. Don't put you chalk bag on a carabiner and clip it to the back of your harness - it can't move and you won't be able to reach it when you really need to....

 

Equipment for Leading Sport Climbs - Indoor Climbing Wall

 

As above plus:

  • Quickdraws – Think ahead and buy draws that will serve you when you move outside as well.

If you plan to go sport climbing then get chunky, solid gate draws with keylock noses. If you plan to concentrate on trad climbing thenyou might prefer for lightweight wire gates. Carabiners should have a minimum gate open strength of 8kn and preferably 9kN. More information in the Choosing Carabiners article.

  • Rope – An 80 meter 9.8 mm rope is a good, versatile choice for most sport climbs in the world. Indoor Walls trash ropes so a lot of people go for a specific short (cheaper) rope for wall use. Mammut Promo (10.0 or 10.5mm) in 30m or 40m lengths is a good choice plus it can be used for both leading and top-roping short routes outside. The Promos are off cuts from standard production runs so you can get a real bargain in you know what the more expensive ropes in Mammut's range look like.

The other option is to buy specific Climbing wall rope off the reel - this is designed to take abuse and has a thick sheath - look for Beal Wall Master or Mammut Gym ropes.

 

Climbing Equipment and Rack for Seconding Routes Outside

 

As above plus:

  • Slings: 2 x 120cm and 1 x 60cm sling. Choose dyneema rather than nylon because it is thinner and lighter. Thinner is better because it allows the sling to fit through / over smaller gaps. I would go for 11mm slings if you are starting out, skinnier slings (8-10mm) are great but a lot more susceptible to user error.
  • Screwgates: One small offset D screwgate and one larger mini HMS screwgate for clipping into belays. The DMM Shadow and DMM Sentinel are both really nice.
  • Nut key: A nut key plus a lightweight, but fully rated carabiner and short length of cord to carry it on.
  • Rescue - Abseil Protection: Two prusic loops  generally these are formed from 1.5m lengths of 5mm cord tied into an open loop with a double fisherman's knot. A very useful bit of kit....
  • Helmet – a matter of choice, but most people do wear one these days. There is more information on helmets on the Advanced Scrambling page below the main text. Petzl are hard to beat when it comes to helmets, but once again the key is finding one that fits your head shape and size.

 

4. Climbing Equipment and Rack for Starting to Lead Outside onTrad climbs

 

As above plus:

  • Quickdraws: A minimum of 6 quickdraws if you are climbing on short outcrop routes, but you will need 10 to 15 quickdraws for mountain routes. Quickdraws  around 18cm in length are perfect for trad with a couple of  shorter and longer draws.
  • A set of nuts – DMM Wallnuts or WC Rocks 1 – 11 are a good choice - light and strong - plus they share a colour coding scheme that allows brands to be interchanged.

They are well made and thought out - so the larger sizes use wire that does do bend when trying to place them at full reach and are shaped so that they fit a large range of placements.

  • A set of large nuts – DMM Torque Nuts 1-4 or WC Rockcentrics 5-8. Torques are better designed and have an extendable sling that saves on quickdraws.
  • Solid friend tied off shortSlings: 2 x 120cm and 2 x 60cm slings – dyneema in 11 or 12mm. Skinny dyneema slings (8-10mm) are great, but quite unforgiving of user error.
  • Screwgates: 3 x small screwgates and one larger mini HMS screwgate. DMM Phantoms and DMM Sentinel.
  • Individual Carabiners: 8 x individual carabiners for racking wires, connecting slings etc. I prefer keylock solid gates for racking wires and lightweight wire gates for connecting running belays…. but this is very personal and some people hate keylocks for racking….a lot of people like ovals for racking wires, but I hate this....play and choose.
  • Nut key: As above.
  • Rescue: Two prusic loops  generally these are formed from 1.5m lengths of 5mm cord tied into an open loop with a double fisherman's knot.

You will soon find that you will need a second set of nuts - variety is the key to success here, so if you went for Wallnuts first then go for Rocks second time around. The other climbing chocks worth looking at when building your rack are DMM Alloy Offsets and Metolius Curve nuts - both are good. There is more information on nuts on the Choosing Climbing Protection pages.

At some point you will need to look at getting your first camming devices - sooner rather than later if you climb on Gritstone. The key sizes when forming a rack are Wild Country/DMM 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 or BD Camalot 0.5, 1 and 2. All these units are good.

One of the biggest outlays at this stage will be deciding on what ropes to get i.e. a single rope or a half rope. The answer depends on what you want to do. If you plan to stay on the outcrops or go sport climbing I would go for a 60m x 9.8mm -10.0mm single rope – 60m because all UK climbers go abroad in the winter and 60m is mandatory in Europe plus a 60m rope lets you do 30m double rope pitches in the UK; also by getting a ‘thinnish’ single rope it can be used in a full length double rope system at a squeeze.

Continental routes are getting longer so if you are heading abroad get some local information about route lengths - you may need a 70m rope.

If your main emphasis is going to be traditional cragging then go for an 8.5mm x 50m half rope and find a partner with a similar rope in a different colour. You can go for a 60m rope and the extra length is great for alpine/ice routes, but on the vast majority of UK summer routes you are just lugging around an extra 10m of useless rope most of the time.

Superdry treatments are not just for keeping the rope dry, indeed for most climbers the key advantage of dry treatments is that that increase durability and decrease drag. The other great point about SD treatments for traditional climbing is that the slippery coatings used reduce friction between the fibres and lower impact forces thus making marginal placements safer.

 

Climbing Equipment and Rack for Advanced Leaders on Mountain Routes

 

At this point everything gets very personal, but this is what I carry on most long routes in the mountains.

  • Wires: 3 sets of wires 1-6, double sets 7-10 and one 11. Carried on 4 Flexible Alien placement in a small pocketDMM Shadow keylock plain gate carabiners. The wires are a balanced mix of DMM Wallnuts, WC Rocks and DMM Alloy Offsets.
  • Micro Wires: This may seem a bit OTT, but I carry about 20 micro wires on most big routes, based around the RP's/DMM Imp's 2 and 3 and DMM Micro Wallnut 0.5 and 0.75. Carried on 2 DMM Shadow keylocks.
  • Large nuts: I carry DMM Torque nuts in sizes 1-3. The best hexes on the market with an extendable sling that saves on quickdraws.
  • Small Camming units: I always carry the Yellow and Green and often the Blue Aliens – awesome units, happily bought before the CCH quality control went AWOL. No other micro cam touches them.
  • Mainstream Cams: I use DMM 4CU's in sizes 1.0 to 3.0 including half sizes. I really like their light weight and doubled sling which saves lots of quickdraws. The C4 Camalots are also very good - a touch heavier than 4CUs, but with more range.
  • Quickdraws: I carry up to 16 DMM Phantom quickdraws on skinny dyneema – 2 x 12cm, 8 x 18cm, 4 x 25cm and 2 x extendable quickdraws based on 8mm x 60cm slings. The combination of lightweight and strength is brilliant - a huge difference to the weight of my rack.
  • Slings: 2 x 120cm and 2 x 60cm dyneema slings. I use skinny 8mm slings.
  • Screwgates: 1 x DMM Sentinel and 3 x DMM Phantom Screwgates. I rack both of my short 5mm prusics on one of the Phantom Screwgates.
  • Belay device: Petzl Verso or Reverso3 - both are pretty much perfect.
  • Ropes: 2 x 8.5mm x 50m Mammut Genesis Superdry ropes. I like the lack of drag and minimal weight of the 8.0mm Phoenix ropes, but there is a lot of stretch and you do go a long way if you fall....NunnnnNut

I won’t always carry all this kit – I’ll always check out the route first to see if there is equipment I can leave behind or whether I’ll need to double up on some items i.e. there is no point in taking a large number of big friends and hexes up a climb on a blank wall.

This way you can reduce the weight and bulk hanging from your waist – this will reduce the speed at which you get pumped, increase the difficulty at which you can climb and make it easier for you to find the gear on your harness.

Choosing the right rack for a route is a skill that improves over time. A good starting point, is to estimate the quantity of quickdraws you will need by taking the length of the route (i.e. 25m) and divide it by how often you expect to place protection i.e. every  2m. This will help you estimate how many quickdraws that you are likely to need.

It is worth remembering that not every placement will need extending i.e. DMM 4CU’s, slings and hexes.

Good luck!



 

 

 

 

Rock Climbing Company - Rock Climbing Instructor

 

THe hills above Villanueva del RosarioThe Rock Climbing Company and most of our courses are run by Silvia Fitzpatrick, who is one of the most enthusiastic climbers you will ever meet.

Silvia learnt to climb in her native Patagonia and became well known there for her audacious solos and the first female ascent of Cerro Fitzroy. After winning a South American climbing competition she was invited to the UK for a televised ascent of the Eiger, which she climbed via the North Face withJim Bridwell from USA. Silvia then traveled around Europe constantly climbing until being asked to stunt double in the film Cliffhanger - but shortly before filming started she has a bad accident that put her out of action for a fair while.

Silvia is also a fully qualified PE and Modern Languages teacher and so returned to teaching whilst recuperating; gradually Silvia got back into climbing although this involved learning a whole new method of climbing. Once fully fit Silvia started training as a climbing instructor and after 3 years of training and assessment became a full member of the Association of Mountaineering Instructors (AMI) and the Mountain Leaders Training Association with the Mountain Instructor Award.

Silvia is an experienced climbing instructor who worked for several outdoor pursuits centres including the Plas Y Brenin National Mountaineering Centre before setting up her own company.

Silvia has climbed actively for over 20 years and has an extensive climbing resume; North Face of the Eiger, 8b sport, E6 trad, British Climbing Champion and first female ascent of Cerro Fitzroy in Patagonia. At the same time Silvia used to work with a local organisation in Bangor providing vocational outdoor activities to clients with learning disabilities.

Thus Silvia is well able to offer advice to all levels of climbers, whether they are just starting out or want to gain specific rock skills at an advanced level.

 

 

Pricing and Booking

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

The table below indicates the cost for a full day of 8 hours duration. A shorter day is also available and the cost is then reduced by approximately 25%. Please contact us for further details with your particular needs and aspirations.

 

Type of Course
Length
Number of People on the Course
Cost of the Course per Group

Cost of the Course per person

Learn to Climb Course in Spain
1 Day Climbing Course
1:1
190 Euros
190 Euros
1:2
220 Euros
110 Euros
1:3
255 Euros
85 Euros
1:4
340 Euros
85 Euros
2 Day Climbing Course
1:1
380 Euros
380 Euros
1:2
440 Euros
220 Euros
1:3
510 Euros
170 Euros
1: 4
680 Euros
170 Euros
3 Day Climbing Course
1:1
570 Euros
570 Euros
1:2
660 Euros
330 Euros
1:3
765 Euros
255 Euros
1: 4
1020 Euros
255 Euros
4 Day Climbing Course
1:1
760 Euros
760 Euros
1:2
880 Euros
440 Euros
1:3
1020 Euros
340 Euros

 

Link to the Booking Form

Booking Information, Terms and Conditions

Technical Equipment: We supply all the technical climbing equipment needed for the Learn to Climb course. This includes all ropes, climbing hardware and a climbing helmet and harness for each client. We use Mammut ropes for all our courses and the majority of our hardware is from DMM - so we only use premium quality kit.

What you need to provide: You will need to provide suitable clothing for the time of year, bearing in mind that although we are in Spain some of the crags are quite high and out of the sun it can become chilly.

The area behind Villanueva del Rosario is at 1000m and so the temperature is a good 10 degrees centigrade lower than the coast. This is great for the summer as it makes the Spanish summer heat enjoyable rather than stifling and gives us lots of choices. A light windproof / waterproof is often useful to keep the wind off.

The vast majority of the crags are very close to the parking and so and light walking boots/supportive training shoes are ideal for the approaches. Ideally you will need your own rock shoes as well.

You will also need a rucksack (30 - 40 litre capacity) and plenty of food and drink for the day.

There is a more complete kit list on both the Useful Information - Snowdonia and Useful Informatoion Spain pages.

What is not included: Prices do not include accommodation, meals or personal insurance. there is information on insurance on the Useful Information - Spain page in the tab below the main text.

We can provide accommodation in a newly renovated house - full details are in the Spanish Accommodation section.

Ratios and course sizes: The Learn to Climb course can be taught at a ratio of between 1 to 4 clients per instructor.

 

 

 

 

 

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