Costa Blanca, Spain 2014 ... (March/April)


The Toix Ridge from our apartment in Calpe

Sunday 23rd: After an overnight flight we stopped off at Toix West to do a couple of single pitch routes, we were too tired to do much more than that! (Nice sunny day)

Monday 24th: After a late start we headed up Via UBSA in the Mascarat Gorge, Pete did a harder variation of the 3rd pitch. The crux pitch (p4) is now much more polished and it seemed to have more fixed protection than I remembered. A sunny but quite breezy day and we even got back to the car in daylight!

Tuesday 25th: We visited Echo 2 and just did one route, I led the first pitch of Espolon Encantada and Pete followed it with pitch 2 of Via Los Palmeras. Moving on to Echo Playa we did a couple of routes, somewhat baffled by the apparent renaming of routes there... It being dull, windy & cold we headed for a bar!

View of the Penon from the apartment

Wednesday 26th: A nice sunny day but to get out of the very strong wind we set off up Directa de UBSA on the Penon d'Ifach. Pitch 2 was so polished it was almost impossible to stand on holds which were once excellent edges... (Are people top-roping it out of existence... like the same pitch on Polvos Magicos?)

The next pitch was quite a challenge and has some superb moves on it but is at the very top of it's grade (5+ ... but it felt very much like E2 5b). We continued up the next pitch and then abbed off.

Thursday 27th: ("Rest Day") A quick visit to Decathalon in Alicante where we both bought new boots and then we called in at Toix West to try them out on a 2 pitch route. Very cold & breezy so we soon called it a day!

Friday 28th: Windy, cold & dull again so we visited Guadalest to do a route called Paper Tiger. Pete decided to follow a line of bolts a couple of metres right of this at a higher grade but I managed to regain the line on the 2nd pitch. This turned out to be an excellent combination. The rope snagged on abseil & I led a short pitch to retrieve it but we had had enough by then!


Saturday 29th: A sunny day so we headed to Toix West Upper Cliff. I soloed a couple of easy 2 pitch routes and then we did a couple of other nice routes.

Sunday 30th: The weather didn't look promising and it was back to 'dull, breezy & cold' so we thought we'd visit Altea Hills, however the road was closed off high up (landslip?) so we rerouted to Sella & did 4 good routes before getting coffee in Finestraat.

Monday 31st: With the promise of a lovely sunny day we drove to the Cabezon d'Oro to have a go at Espolon Paiju (210m 5+/A1) which looks like a superb line from below. Unfortunately the first 5 pitches are a bit scrappy although there are some nice stretches on them. The crux pitch is quite a challenge and we only got partway along it before deciding to abb off. One to go back & complete!

Tuesday 1st April: We really felt like another "Rest Day" but in view of the glorious sunshine I convinced Pete to give Magical Mystery Tour on Toix Sea Cliff a go and although it was a little breezy we had a great outing on this excellent route (in 2 pitches).

Wednesday 2nd: Back to 'dull, cold & windy' so we took the "Rest Day" and walked into Calpe Town along the promenades. We discovered the 'Old' part of it which is really interesting while waiting for the climbing shop to open.

Thursday 3rd: Our last day but we had a very late flight so we headed off to Marin trying hard not to put too much petrol in the hire car, (tricky one that!) When we got there the wind was so strong & gusty that opening the car door was a dangerous manouvre! Surprisingly the climbing was almost out of the wind and we had a great time climbing 3 long routes in the sunshine.

We stayed in a small 1st storey apartment which had a superb view of the Penon and a banana tree in the backyard... a really strange flower on it which apparently is pollinated by visiting bats, there were many bats flying about at dusk!

We managed to climb 11/12 days and a couple of dozen routes including 3 long ones. Unfortunately the weather was dull, cold and windy for most of the time and so we didn't manage to get on the other long routes on my list... next trip maybe!

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