Monday, 26 January 2015

Costa Blanca

This January we decided to escape the cold and wet weather in Scotland, so we flew over to Spain for some sunny sport climbing! I'd never been away at this time of year before but it was great...super cheap and a nice temperature for climbing. The holiday cost £300 each for flights, hotel(full board) and car hire!

The first day was just a chillaxing day as we arrived in Benidorm at about 2pm, so we went down to the beach and spent the afternoon sunbathing. The next day we met up with our friends Ross and Alan and drove out to Gandia for a milage day in the sun. We started off on a classic 6b+ called 'El Sol'and then moved right along the crag to the steeper sector. Here we both onsighted/flashed 'L'os' 7a, 'Don Diego' 7a+, 'A La Babilla' 7a+ and 'Enya' 7b. These were nice routes all with a similar style, a steep and pumpy start into an easier slabby finish.

Enya 7b

Crag dog...

In the evening we met up with Ross and Alan again and went out for a couple of drinks for their last night. We even ended up at a casino in Benidorm! Luckily I managed not to lose any money and actually came away 10 Euros richer!

We had planned to go to Forada the next day but unfortunately our car broke down in the morning so we had to take it back to Alicante for a replacement. We still headed out to Forada but after getting lost and going around in circles for hours, we ended up making it to the crag at half 4! Oh well, at least we knew how to get there for next time...

Lunch on our search for Forada.

Looks good...wasn't good!

Although Forada looked amazing, we decided to check out Wildside at Sella the next day as it was slightly closer and looked even better! Luckily we managed to find the crag ok thanks to my expert navigation...or maybe it was the Satnav! Anyway, we made the short walk up to the crag and got warmed up on a 6c+ on the right side. This route was ok but got slightly chossy higher up and had a massive run-out whilst climbing through some dodgy blocks. Since there weren't many easier routes we decided to jump on the classic 7c 'Ya somos Olympicos'. Neill went first and had a great onsight attempt, getting just over halfway where there is a tricky section up some tufas. After working out the rest of the moves and giving me some beta Neill lowered down and I had a go. It has a bit of a bouldery start and then a big ledge to recover on before the main route. I climbed fast through the first tufa section and then traversed left to the first tricky tufa. Neill made this bit look really nice by bridging out and knee-barring but being pumped, I just decided to clamp it with my thighs all the way up...not very graceful! After a good rest I blasted through the crux and was relieved to find some jugs to clip the chain. This was my 3rd 7c outdoors and my first 7c flash so I was pretty happy! Neill swiftly dispatched the route on his second go.

Neill on Olympicos 7c

I decided to try something a bit harder and opted for an 8a+ called 'Tirali Valent' as it already had somebody's draws on it. This was a brilliant route, super crimpy and sustained with a really tricky crux! I managed all the moves ok but thought it might take a while to link and so decided that I didn't want to spend too much of the holiday on one route. The guy ended up stripping it anyway and we only had 17 draws between us, silly mistake! I would defo like to try this route again next time though! To finish the day, Neill onsighted 'Oceano' 7b+, what a beast! Oh and on our way back to the car we were chased by a donkey! What an ass!!!

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After a rest day, which was spent relaxing in the sun, we drove back out to Forada with the intention of trying all the classic 7as and bs. This day was the coldest and windiest so far and it turned out to be a bit of a mistake heading to such a high crag that gets no sun! We walked in anyway and went for 'Starman' 7a. Neill manned up and managed to onsight it.....I was a total wimp and dogged my way up with numb hands! We decided to strip the route and head somewhere else. After another hour in the car, we ended up back at Gandia, this time at the El Bovedon cave. Neill managed a quick redpoint of 'Arcadia' 7c, which was a very cool route following a tufa up into the roof of the cave. I tried a 7c round to the left but no success! All the draws were in-situ here and I was a little worried about the state of some of them....

Starman 7a

Loving it...

Our last couple of days were spent at Wildside. We warmed up at a crag near the car park climbing a nice 5+ and a 3 star 6c+ called 'Kashba'. We then drove up to Wildside and both tried to redpoint a 7c+ called 'El Gremio' but unfortunately it didn't go. This was a cool wee route with a pretty easy start and finish and a totally desperate crux in the middle! We also had a wee play on 'Celia' another 7c+ at the crag but neither of us managed it in the end. It was pretty cold on the last couple of days though.....2 degrees, I know...excuses, excuses!

Kashba 6c+

Definitely missing the sun already but we've already booked our next trip away, we are heading out to Turkey at the end of March! Until then we will hopefully get out and do some winter climbing...

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