Sunday, 7 February 2016


I went to the seemingly incredibly fashionable Chulilla recently. The UKB OAP massive were raving about it and even the Glasgow Grumpy Geriatric sport climbers have dragged themselves away from Upper Cave to go. That all seemed to happen before or over the festive period so it was pretty quiet when we went out. There's plenty of hype around: 40m mega-pitches, "sport climbing for trad climbers" with endless shake-outs and mini-cruxes, UK-style face climbing, people's best onsights etc etc. It's probably all true, I enjoyed it a lot anyway. All I can add is that it's all rather scenic too and the sinuous sheer-sided gorge is quite a dramatic surprise in otherwise unassuming countryside.

The weather looked like this:
And the wildlife looked like this:

Pro-tips (in addition to the common knowledge online):

  • To get to El Oasis and other nearby sectors, drive around to the dam. It adds 5 mins driving and saves 10+ mins tiring walking. However the upper walk is worth doing just once for the scenic bridges.
  • Don't head down the horrible gully at the town parking to "short cut" to the river below Lamentaciones. Head into town and turn right at the shop to gain the zig-zags.
  • Take heed of sunny vs shady sectors:  El Oasis is perma-shady in winter, Muro des Lamentaciones gets evening shade, La Pared De Enfrente gets it sooner. Your toes will thank you for any shade.
  • Most mid-grade routes aren't steep enough to stay dry if it rains, BUT Sector Cuevas opposite Lamentaciones has decent mid 6s upwards beneath huge roofs.
  • Take a bail biner if you have any doubts about doing / working a route. 30m is a long way to stick-clip up.
  • Take a decent tarp, most crag bases are dusty.
  • A 70m rope will do most mid-grade routes (including all but one listed), harder routes and a few exceptions will require 80m.
  • El Altico is a nice base, comfy beds and sociable vibe. Could be grim if busy but dorms are pretty small, although kitchen is too. Half board gets you a nice evening feed with red wine but breakfasts are minimal.
  • The guide is still trapped between OOP and the unpromising "coming soon", but the topos at: are good enough, and El Altico has a full routes folder to browse.

Routes list / recommendations:

Sector Cuevas & Sector Penata:

La Caida Del Melon F6c - okay, bouldery start (soft).
Sindrome De Corbadia F6c+ - good and burly, neat line, bulge sates underused biceps.
Maquillaje Mental F6b+ - very nice, bloc start and endless pleasant steep slab. Shiney 35m lower off after best climbing.
(Amor Loco P1 F6b - described as a "satchel of wank", polished burly start (not F6a))
Crisis P1 F6b - good, interesting, start is a bit slopey and tricky
Smigol P1 F6c - great, cool veiny rock and continually interesting right to the chain.

Muro des Lamentaciones:

El Muro des Lamentaciones F7a - amazing, steep start then endless enthralling voyage up steep flakey slabs (soft).
Contacto En El Space F6c - great, very direct route, same steep start then continuously interesting but never desperate (not F6c+)
Yorkshire Pudding F6b - decent, varied, sting in the tail.
(Blue Agave F7a - good, mostly steady apart from one slopey pod section and awkward clip, avoid in warm)
El Ramallito F6c - good, steady then steepens up nicely for a great finish.
Nos Sobran Potxolos F7a - good, nice line, short with a fiercely crimpy crux.
Zikrutina Mientras Puedas F7a - decent, bouldery to start then nice short wall above (not F7a+).
(La Costa Nostra F6b+ - nice line, popular, described as good, techy and rounded)

El Oasis & Las Chorerras :

Top Of The Rock F7a - very cool, nice line, 3 boulder cruxes with good rests, steady if you focus (steady).
Richi F6c - decent but a bit unbalanced, grim start then more fun climbing (not F6b+, F6c for start).
(Nazgul F6c - very much the same)
(Olog-Hai F6c+ - good, cranky start into varied climbing and easier finish up nice wall)
Chamarilero F6c+ - very pleasant, steady start then escalates to techy finish past micro-tufa.
Orgia Sado En El Internado F7a? - good, several hard and very fingery cruxes up smooth walls, fierce (probably not F6c+, harder than F7as here)
Magnetorresistor F6b+ - good, worthy warm-up once past the "uk-style" slopey flakes low down, finish is very nice.
Plan Z F7a - very cool, lovely tufa wall, steady with thoughtful weaving moves and a great finish (soft).
Gargola P1 F6b - short but well worthwhile, thoughtful groove moves and not tiring.
Cantina Marina F7a - excellent, bouldery goey start leads to good moves leads to endless F6b into pure Kalymnos finish at 40m (soft, maybe F6c+).

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