The Vía ferrata de Hondonero, Villanueva del Rosario - Malaga

About Villanueva del Rosario

The village of Villanueva del Rosario is situated in the south-eastern part of the Hoya of Antequera (the Antequera Depression), just beneath the Jobo and Camarolos mountain ranges, about 40 kilometres north of Malaga city. This little white village reflects typical Andalucian architecture and traditional pueblo life. You couldn’t hope for a more picturesque setting.  
Via Ferrata Villanueva del Rosario
The village is 700 metres above sea level, covers an area of just under 45 km2 and has a population of approximately 3,500 people.
Its location and the geological structure of the surrounding mountains makes for spectacular scenery. The limestone rock has been worn over time to create numerous ridges, jutting rocks and sheer precipices of impressive dimensions.
Villanueva del Rosario Via Ferrata
One of the most beautiful spots is the Llano del Hondonero at the foot of the mountains. A truly idyllic country paradise, with mountains streams, pine and oak forests and some of the best climbing to be had. Villanueva del Rosario’s Via Ferrata starts here. 

Via Ferrata De La Bola - Villanueva del Rosario

The Vía ferrata de Hondonero is often known as “La Bola,” the ball, due to the distinct ball shaped rock right at the top of the mountain. 
Technically, the ferrata is very straightforward. The installation is new and in good condition. There are closely spaced stemples and a life-line that runs the entire length of the ferrata.
Despite not having a Tibeatan bridge or any other obstacles, I’d say this route is more difficult than Archidona’s via ferrata
Via Ferrata Villanueva del Rosario
The ferrata gets very aerial, very quickly. You go straight up a steep vertical wall of about 50m and as you are already starting half up a mountainside, the aerial sensation is multiplied.
Not a good place to be if you suffer from vertigo. 
Villanueva del Rosario Via Ferrata
The views going up and from the top are outstanding. You get unobstructed views of the Hoya of Antequera on one side and the gorgeous Sierra de Camoralos on the other. As this particular route is not situated near the village, access is slightly more complicated and involves a lot of track. 
The ferrata starts near a viewpoint called the Mirador del Alto Hondonero. Getting there is fairly straightforward and is sign posted from the village. 
Via Ferrata, Ruben at the top
From the village centre, follow the track that goes through the Hondonero natural area towards the Ermita de la Virgen del Rosario. The track is in fairly good condition and should be passable in a normal car. If feeling unsure, park and walk it. The total distance is about 3 kilometres.
Keep following the track upwards as it goes further into the mountains. This is rock climbing country. A true climbing paradise that attracts climbers from all over the world. 
Villanueva del Rosario, Via Ferrata
One of the world’s hardest routes, a 9b known as Chilam Balam, was opened by Malaga’s own Bernabé Fernández, is situated in a cave just off this road.
Very few climbers have successfully climbed this one. To give you an idea of what this entails here’s a video of Adam Ondra in 2011

Technical information

Total length - 120m
Accumulated height - 50m
Difficulty - Easy to moderate
Access - Fair. 3 kilometres of track and then approximately 350m from the parking 
Condition - Very good, September of 2015
Equipment - At a minimum, a helmet, harness, Via Ferrata lanyard and at least one climbing sling with a screwgate carabiner

Getting there

If coming from Malaga, follow signs for Granada, taking the exit 114 onto the A-92M. Follow this road for 8 kilometres and come off at exit 16 towards Villanueva del Rosario. Upon entering the village, keep your eyes open for signs to the Mirador Alto del Hondonero. This road quickly becomes a track as it winds upwards through the mountains and past the Llano del Hondonero.

Keep following this track, after approximately 3 kilometres, there's a small parking spot on the left, just next to the via ferrata sign. Park here. You need to walk through the woods directly in front of you, you'll quickly come to a rock face, take a left here and go downwards. It's a good idea to put your harness and helmet on here, it's a fairly dangerous descent and you can clip in on the way down. The ferrata starts on the rock face on the right. 

When you finish, you come on the top. Make your way back down to the parking as best you can. Be careful here, it's very steep and loose underfoot. 

For more information see the neighbouring Via Ferrata in Archidona (the Ferrata Sierra de Gracia), an easy route that can easily be done in the same day. For a far more technical route, the Castillo del Águila Ferrata in Gaucin is one of the hardest around.