Tips For Climbing And Camping In Chulilla, Spain

Chulilla is one of the more popular climbing destinations, that we've visited so far. The name started popping up as soon as we left Lisbon area and headed towards Spain. "A ton of long, vertical routes", "soft(ish) grades, if you manage to find the rests", "wonderful place to camp" were some of the things we heard about Chulilla before arriving there. And were the rumors true? Read on to find out. These tips for climbing and camping in Chulilla are based on first-hand experience around April 2018.

Equip yourself with plenty of quickdraws + 80 m rope

The routes in Chulilla really are L-O-N-G. I recommend packing a set of 20 quickdraws and an 80-meter rope, if you're planning on climbing in the canyon. At some other sectors you might get away with less draws and a slightly shorter rope, but in the canyon you'll end up missing out on a great bunch of amazing routes. Long Dong John (6b+) at Chorreras was my first route there, and of course I had too few draws with me. I had already split one draw and kept on going only to realize just a few bolts before the top, that A) the anchor isn't a clippable one and B) I don't have any more draws to split. Lesson learned, I guess. We also saw a guy climbing down the last two meters of a route without any belay, because a 70-meter (?) rope had fallen too short.

See the stalactites at Chorreras

The huge black stalactites are impressive in a word. I'm surprised that all the tourists stay on the other side of the canyon and don't seem to be interested in the nightmareish rock formations.
They remind me of something I've seen on Animal Planet, but squirming between the stalactites and tufas is fun! 
I can't really recommend any routes, since all the routes I managed to climb were equally great and the rest of the routes look just as amazing. Go there and see for yourself, but try to choose a still day. When the wind blows from north-west, it blows at least twice as hard at Chorreras.

Weird stalactites at Chorreras

Go for a swim at Embalse de Loriguilla

The water is freezing, but it's a luxury to go swimming after sweating for several hours at the crag. A dip in the dam is best enjoyed after climbing around Oasis and Chorreras, since your car is most likely parked near the dam already. For a quick refreshment, drive up to the dam, find a hole in the green fence, follow the steep concrete stairs and jump in. There's a big parking lot and a beach just before the dam too, but the beach is a bit rocky and there's a lot of glass on the ground. Mind your steps, if you decide to go there.

Descend and dive into the chilly water of Embalse de Loriguilla

Get your climbing shoes resoled

There's a climbing shop in Chulilla, and you can get your shoes resoled there. It's located at the central square, opposite to the bakery Paniza. When we arrived to Chulilla, I immediately dropped one pair of shoes there and hoped for the best. After climbing throughout the winter,  all of my climbing shoes were pretty worn out. At the shop they told me it would take about a week to get the shoes back, since the resoling is actually done in Valencia. The price would be 30-35 euros, depending on whether the noses had to be done as well. After the said week, what happened?

Once I had eagerly waited for 7 days and went to get my shoes back, the shoes were there, but yet to be resoled. The Easter had messed up the schedule and I had to either stick with the current state of the shoes or wait another week. Well, after a few more weeks and disappointing visits to the shop, my patience was rewarded. The shoes had been resoled and the quality of the work was very good!
The seams and edges were smooth, and the shoes still felt almost the same.

Enjoy the sun at Muro de las Lamentaciones

Muro de las Lamentaciones (or just Muro) is a south-east facing wall, with many nice vertical routes. Blue Agave (7a) and El Ramallito (6c) are my personal favorites. The huge chalky crack that you can see from kilometers away is Presiscrack (6c+), which is also fun and less polished than you'd think. It gets pretty hot at Muro on sunny days, so you might want to wait until the afternoon before going there. The tiny (sharpish) holds feel a bit more pleasant after the sun has turned and the rock has cooled down.

"Muro"

Eat and drink

Groceries

There are two small markets in Chulilla, and you can get almost all basic stuff from Autoservicio Rosi. It's located at the central square, where you can also find a couple of cafés, tobacco shop, bakery and the mentioned climbing shop. For bigger groceries, I recommend driving to Villar de Arzobispo. There's a supermarket called Consum, which has pretty much everything.
The only two things we didn't manage to find, were soy crumble and peanut butter.

Water

For water, drive through the village of Chulilla towards Losa del Obispo. Just before exiting Chulilla, you'll see a kids' playground to your right and a water point behind it. Park your van on the big parking lot to your left and go fill up your water canisters. There's another water point at the central square, but parking there can be a bit tricky (especially with a big car).

If you are driving through Losa del Obispo on your way to Chulilla, you might as well get some water there. Look for the public swimming pool or piscina, which is where you'll find two taps with letters indicating "chlorinated" and "non-chlorinated" water. We've been drinking from the tap saying "N.C." for a while now, and haven't had any problems so far. However, you should always taste the water before actually drinking it. If it's warm or tastes weird, don't drink it.

Camp everywhere

Camping seems to be accepted in Chulilla and everybody does it. We spent about a month hanging around there and Easter was the only time we had any problems. The place was packed and apparently there was a chance of forest fire, so some kind of an official told us not to camp in the woods. Instead we should move our RV closer to the village. It makes sense, since it was really dry and a lot of people were cooking outside their vans. It could be, that they just wanted us to use the services in the village, though. Who knows. Anyway, take the trash with you, when you leave.
There's plenty of roadside trash cans, so no excuse to leave anything behind.

These are my tips for having a good time in Chulilla. It's a huge mecca of limestone and vertical walls, but also a very popular crag. That's why my last word of advice is to make sure to visit there outside the busiest season i.e. not around Christmas or Easter. On weekends you might find some peace and quality climbing at Monte Venus/ Pared Blanca, Masters or Ca Germà. If you have any questions about Chulilla, post them on the comment box below! I'm happy to help you out.

Comments

  1. I just love these tips. It’s best to pack for changing weather conditions, so don’t forget thermals and waterproof rain-wear. camping directory

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, SimonaGabriele! You're absolutely right about packing for all weather conditions. Gore-Tex is indispensable!

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