Costa Blanca, Spain . . . . (2nd -16th February 2012)

Thursday 2nd: Deirdre & I arrived at a cold and windy Alicante airport and driving towards Sella in our hire car we were amazed to see snow on the Puig Campana. From Steve Green's place in Sella (Casa Roc) we saw that there was clearly a lot of snow on the back of the mountain

Friday 3rd: Still very cold we got the wood burning stove going and then went for a walk around the pretty mountain village of Sella.

Saturday 4th: Thinking it might be warmer near the coast we went off to Calpe but although sunny it was still quite chilly. We walked up the Penon d'Ifach and were greeted by a crowd of feral cats who were very interested in our lunch!

Sunday 5th: It was still cold, windy & overcast and there was little enthusiasm to do anything, however by lunchtime we decided we'd go climbing in Sella Gorge, hoping that it would at least be sheltered from the wind. It wasn't too bad but we'd only done 3 routes when it started to spot with rain!

Monday 6th: At last clear skies and warm sunshine - even if it was very windy. We decided to head to the Penon and climb Via Valencianos because we knew it would be sheltered from the wind.

                             The Valencianos Slab                                            Approaching the very slippery slab on pitch     3                 Aiding the alternative to Pitch 3

The route was out of the wind but pitch 3 had become so polished that we decided to go up the alternative pitch around to the right of the small buttress. However 'gravity strong it was' and in the end I aided that bit courtesy of the pegs and in-situ wire... still pretty tough going though!

Reaching the top of the slab I nearly lost my hat as the very strong wind gusted over the top! I belayed out of the wind and rather than climb the last few pitches in a gale we decided to abseil back down the slab.

Deirdre & the Puig Campana from the Pena de Sella ridge

Wednesday 8th: After a 'rest day' yesterday the beautiful warm sunny day we were greeted with drew us out on a long walk from Sella village up and along the Pena de Sella Ridge. I'd always wondered if there was a reasonable path up through the imposing cliffs and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was clearly waymarked now. Lovely day with stunning views but quite hard work so I could feel another 'rest day' coming on!

Friday 10th: Another nice warm day so we headed to Toix West for  bit of climbing. We did three nice 2-pitch routes on the 'Lower Placa' section which was full in the sun and out of the breeze.

Looking out from Toix West over the Sierra Helada Ridge and Altea

Saturday 11th: Warm & sunny again but there was quite a cold wind so we decided to do another walk from Sella village but in the opposite direction. Again we found well waymarked paths and had a lovely walk with some great views.

Sunday 12th: Another sunny day - in fact getting quite hot now - and Deirdre decided to circumnavigate the Puig Campana and possibly meet me on the summit after I'd climbed my favourite route Espolon sur Centrale. However we didn't meet up because the descent path was so icy with compacted snow that it was quite tricky to get down and Deirdre had very sensibly decided not to ascend it.

Monday 13th: Feeling a bit tired after yesterdays exertions we decided to visit Finestrat and have a good look around it - something we'd never had time for on our previous visits!

Tuesday 14th: We woke to a cold and overcast day and with heavy rain forecast we settled down to cooking a lovely meal, stoking the fire and watching a couple of DVD's that Steve had kindly provided!

Wednesday 15th: A fine sunny day and since it was our last full one we had no hesitation in heading down to Sella Gorge to climb half a dozen nice routes! 

It was a nice holiday in very nice accommodation but we were very unlucky with the weather. Perhaps we were a couple of weeks earlier than usual however we were told that the weather was much colder than it should be at this time of year!

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