The National Park configuration, specially its peaks, and the type of its rocks makes this natural space an excellent site for climbing. Since the beginning of mountaineering, the Sierra de Guadarrama has become one of the most important climbing sites in the peninsular center, where most of the best mountaineers and climbers from Madrid area have been trained.
Walls, escarpments and crags give shape to many sites where to train all climbing modalities. Some of them are widely known abroad, as La Pedriza de Manzanares.
The present overview is not intended to be an exhaustive guide to climbing routes or sections; there are many specific publications collecting the more than 2000 tracks we can find in this area, having all possible levels of difficulty. This is a look on main areas, most practiced modalities, specific regulations and, of course, it suggests a good practice code the great majority of climbers already takes into account.
Main climbing sections
There are hundreds of walls in the National Park in which to practice all modalities of climbing. A summary on main climbing zones or sections is listed below:
The multitude of granite domes, cracks, walls, downfalls etc. make it probably the most famous and varied area for the practice of both classic and sport climbing, with difficulty levels reaching 8c +. There are more than 2,000 open roads and about 1,500 blocks. La Pedriza is one of the most important grip climbing areas in the world.
Main sections are: El Indio, El Reloj, El Yelmo North Face (El Yelmo Cara Norte), El Yelmo South Face (El Yelmo Cara Sur), Kumbaya Wall, Butrón Crag, Los Brezos Crag, Los Muertos Crag, La Tortuga, La Muralla China, El Muro, La Tortuga Sector, Pan de Kilo, Sirio rock, La Peseta Cliff, El Euro Cliff and Tamboril.
The Peñalara Massif
Its crags hold more than 150 climbing routes with difficulty levels reaching 7c +, in addition to channels and ice cascades for winter mountaineering. This is a National Park area in which the number of classic and alpine-style trails is greater than the one of sport climbing trails. It was re-equipped in 2001 by the initiative of the Community of Madrid, in collaboration with the Re-equipments Committee of the Madrid Mountaineering Federation. On the occasion of this project, old equipment was renewed in every trail, trying to keep the particularities of climbing itineraries and recovering the spirit they were open with.
On the other hand, some of the climbing areas located in critical areas for conservation have been completely unequipped. Therefore, to preserve these unique natural sites of Madrid, it is not permitted to climb the "Pared de la Presa". In addition, the “Pared Negra de Peñalara” is only suitable for ice climbing.
The main sectors are: the Zabala wall, the Contrafuerte de la Teresa, the Zabala wall right section, the Dos Hermanas blocks area, Placas del Duro, El Cosaco (East and North-West faces), the Trapecio, the Pared Negra de Peñalara (suitable only with ice) and the Pared Negra de Claveles.
La Peñota – Siete Picos – Cerro del Telégrafo
Rock climbing is practiced in this area in serveral cliffs and scarps dispersed throughout various points. Greatest interest areas for climbing are in the surroundings of La Peñota, Siete PIcos and Cerro del Telégrafo, and in some other isolated escarpments.
Almost all climbing itineraries are open on gneiss outcrops. Most of them are short, maximum about 40 m, and poorly equipped. Their number can be estimated at 20 or 30.
Cordal de las Cabrillas – La Barranca area
Navalmedio valley and la Barranca area holds sites such as Las Paredes, the channels in the south slope of La Maliciosa and El Peñotillo, Las Buitreras crests, Risco de los Emburriaderos escarpment, and Cordal de Las Cabrillas. The ridges and highlands geomorphology provides important opportunities for rock climbing, as well as ice and snow modality, under appropriate weather conditions. The number of classic -style trails is greater than the one of sport climbing trails, which has few equipped itineraries.
Due to the relative remoteness of the walls with respect to access points, as well as rocks conditions and quality, this is not a very popular climbing area, when it is compared to other more suitable ones.
La Maliciosa – Sierra de los Porrones
La Maliciosa holds more than sixty classic climbing trails, some of great verticality and which length are interrupted by shelves. Under appropriate winter time conditions, it is also possible to climb its southern slope in corridors with snow and ice. Other smaller cliffs in the surrounding area and lower slopes are suitable: La Encina, Los Asientos and Los Porrones, although they are less interesting due to their short length and small unevenness.
Rock climbing is carried out punctually on the Segovian slope of the Sierra de Guadarrama. There are equipped trails in El Chorro Grande and Peña Berrueco (Real Sitio de San Ildefonso).