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El Camino del Rey - Guided trip in El Chorro

 

El Torcal Via Ferrata

Via Ferrata at El Torcal

Torcal

Climbing at Torcal

Via Ferrata Summit

El Torcal Summit

Memomorial on Camino del Rey

Memorial on Camino del Rey

 

 

 

El Caminito del Rey

 

Lower Gorge of Camino del Rey

El Caminito del Rely (Path of the King) used to be the most well known via Ferrata in southern Spain.

In 2014 the Camino del Rely received a long needed refurbishment with a new walkway being around the structural remnants of the original. The work was finished in March 2015 to give an atmospheric hanging walkway that retains a lot of the attraction of the original.

The Camino del Rely is still very exposed and dramatic, but not technically difficult and not overly strenuous in comparison to a vertical via ferrata.

 

The Rock Climbing Company still facilitates your visit to Caminito del Rey so that you can get your entry tickets, access and finish the walkway smoothly and hassle free.

 

El Caminito del Rely has made El Chorro a popular destination for climbers and adventurers wanting to traverse the narrow walkway that clings to the cliffs high above the white waters of the Rio Guadalhorce gorge.

Up until the early 1980's it was relatively straightforward for climbers to walk along the brick and concrete walkway in order to climb the walls of the gorge - exposed and exhilarating, but not technically hard.

The next few years saw time catch up with the Camino del Rely as several rock falls took away sections of the walkway to create large gaps that were difficult and dangerous to cross without safety equipment.

The reputation of the Camino del Rely as the 'most dangerous walkway in the world' grew as there were a couple of accidents involving non-climbers trying to traverse the now damaged walkway. That reputation was cemented in place when a further accident led the authorities to restrict access to only climbers or those with climbing equipment by removing several meters of the walkway at both it's start and finish.

This meant that to get onto El Camino del Rely you either had to abseil in at the top end near the Embalses or do a combined via ferrata traverse/scramble at the lower El Chorro end.

In order to continue climbing safely in the gorge climbers then equipped all of the exposed sections with steel cable that runs horizontally along the cliff walls parallel to the walkway and is secured to the walls with bolted anchors. This way one could stay clipped to a lifeline all the way along the walkway.

 

The Camino del Rely comprises of 3 separate sections:

The upper gorge starts with large walls looming on both sides in a very dramatic manner. The rock structure is very varied here with delicate balancing across narrow water channels and stairs

The central meadow is an oasis of calm after the confines of the gorge and we often stop here for a bite to eat. This meadow was used as a massive free campsite by climbers in the early 1980s and it is easy to see the attraction. It takes about 30 minutes to cross the meadow to the start of the upper gorge.

The gorge at the El Chorro end is probably the most dramatic part of the Camino del Rely with an exposed traverse leading straight into the head of the gorge with massive vertical walls on either side. The rock architecture here is fantastic and remains really impressive all the way to the train bridge that mark the end of the gorge.

The Rock Climbing Company can provide guided trips along the El Camino del Rely - we are able to guide parties of all sizes from private 1:1 excursions to large parties of up to 20 people. It is physically suitable for most people who are used to hiking and we have guided clients from the age of 8 to 71 on the Camino over the past 12 years

We would normally arrange return transport to the starting point for you, if the buses times are not suitable with your traveling arrangements.

 

Logistics

The Camino del Rely starts from the Embalses -dams-and finishes at El Chorro village


View El Camino del Rely meeting points at El Chorro and the Embalses in a larger map

The map above shows the two common meeting places:

- El Chorro Train Station (Lat Long 36.911024,-4.768152)

El Kiosco Cafe at the Embalses (Lat Long 36.928728,-4.781241)

You can expand the map into Google Maps to get accurate directions from your departure point

 

 

El Caminito del Rey - A bit of history

 

 

Holes in El Camino del ReyThe Camino del Rely was originally built so that workers on the hydroelectric project had direct access to the reservoirs at the top and bottom of the gorge that supplied the water that powered the generators.

The Caminito del Rely was started in 1901 and finished 4 years later in 1905. It is a remarkable piece of construction and it is even more remarkable that it has lasted so long - the construction seems so crude by modern standards. It is interesting to look underneath the walkway if you get a chance - it is guaranteed you will be trying to walk more lightly during the remainder of the trip.

In 1921 the King of Spain walked along the pathway at the opening of the dam and the walkway gained the name El Caminito del Rely (Little Path of the King), although this is now normally shortened to El Camino del Rely (Path of the King).

The walkway led a fairly quiet life until Hollywood visited in 1964 to film Von Ryan's Express - the final chase was filmed in the gorge and it is fairly safe to say that the various explosions and crashing planes did not help the general condition of the walkway.

Climbers then discovered El Chorro in the late 1970s and they used the walkway to explore the walls of the gorge - it was common at the time to abseil from the railings to reach the routes that started by the river. The walkway was still in reasonable condition at the time and climbers would happily walk along it without any additional safety measures - however over the next 15 years it deteriorated really quickly and large gaps started opening up.

It was still common for non-climbers to walk across and the inevitable accidents occurred. A bad accident in August 2000 led the authorities to take measures to stop non-climbers from accessing the walkway - removing 15m sections at both ends and adding a large gate to the Embalses starting point.

Climbers still needed access to the gorge and the town of El Chorro needed climbers so access point were built at both ends - a short bolted climb plus belay/abseil station at the Embalses end and a horizontal via ferrata at the El Chorro end.

 

 

 

Common Questions

 

Camino walkway

1. Has the work been completed on the Camino del Rey?Yes - as of March 2015 the Camino del Rey is open visitors.

 

2. How long is the path?El caminito del rey is 7.7km long including the access and valley walk between both gorges. it is a linear route instead of circular so you also have to consider the return time to the start of the route. There is a regular coach service to facilitate this.

 

3. How fit do I need to be? El Caminito del rey requires a certain level of effort and skilfulness. The terrain you will be walking involves some uphill, downhill, steps and boardwalks. However you dont need to be a sports person

 

4. When is it open and close? It is open every day from Tuesday to Sunday; except for January the 1st, December 24th,25th and 31st

 

5. Can the weather affect the entry? Yes, it can be closed for rain, strong winds or repair works.

 

6. How often can you enter the Camino? Every 15-30 minutes

 

6.What do I need to bring? Standard hiking clothing for the time of year and taking into account the local weather. The gorge can be windy and on hot days it is very hot - bring a windproof on cooler days and plenty of water on hot ones.

 

 

 

 

Prices

 

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

Cost of the Course per person

El Camino del Rely
Half Day
1:1
190 Euros
190 Euros
1:2
220 Euros
110 Euros
1:3
255 Euros
85 Euros
1:4
340 Euros
85 Euros

 

Please contact for prices on larger groups

 

 

 

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