Oliana, Siurana, Terradets, Maragalef. When people think of Spanish sport climbing, they think of these destinations. Most of these locations are in Catalonia, in the easy to access northern part of Spain. However, there’s limestone all over the country and some of the best climbing is in areas that receive far less visitors, far less crowds, and has far better rock.
Jaen is known as the olive capital of the world. There are thousands of the trees across the countryside.
The difficulties in these places are that they require a bit more knowledge of Spanish or a guide. In El Churro, you need to go further south and away from where most other international people climb. In Jaen, it helps to know a local or at least do extensive research on the climbing.
Pedro works on a difficult project at Otinar, a crag with an enormous cave located a few minutes outside of Jaen. This area stays dry even in heavy snow storms.
One of a few international climbers, this German man attacks a difficult 8a route at the Bolo Sector in Reguchillo
Located in the hills of the Santa Catalina Mountains, this town of 100,000 is known as the olive capital of the world. The city boasts an amazing cathedral, an enormous castle, and some of the best sport climbing in the country. Located just a few minutes from the center of town is Reguchillo, which has a few hundred sport climbs from 5.9 to 5.14. There are numerous smaller crags nearby including Otinar, which has an Ondra 5.15b project as well as other amazing steep routes. There are also a few limestone wall routes nearby with routes up to 8a and nearly 400 meters long. The camping around Jaen is difficult. There are some options for hostels and hotels in Jaen. A rental car is needed.
Early morning light on Reguchillo, one of the best limestone sport crags in Spain with a few hundred routes from 5.9 to 5.14. Located just outside of Jaen, the cliff has it all.
A climber on a 7b+ in Poema De Roca in El Churro. This area features great, easily accessible limestone with a number of hostels, warm weather, and a casual approach.
Since the 1980s, El Churro was been at the height of Spanish sport climbing. With a number of hostels within walking distance of the crags, the limestone is ideal for a traveling climber. The caves of Poema de Roca stay dry in the rain. The Camino del Rey, the walkway through the gorge, is one of the most stunning sites in Spain and there are a number of great subsidiary crags.
Hazel Findlay climbs Danza Aggresiva 7b+ in Archidona, an amazing limestone cave between Malaga and Granada.
Archidona sits just an hour east of El Churro towards Granada. The cave there contains some of the hardest routes in Spain. Also, the climbing of Loja is quite close to Archidona and El Churro.
These locations have some of the best sport climbing I’ve seen and are far superior to anything in the United States. Next time you’re thinking of a sport climbing trip, think of some of the other areas in Spain. Get off the beaten path of Catalonian climbing and check out some of the other amazing cliffs that Spain has to offer.