Now ready to move on from single pitch sport to longer routes, including those with abseil approaches and descents. There are a lot of new skills needed to move on to bigger climbs in a safe way, but with a good skill base, two days is enough to get things started.
We spent both days on the crags of Sierra de Toix on the outskirts of Calpe. With a wide selection of low – medium grade climbs up to around 100m and many involving abseil descents, this makes for a perfect crag for anyone looking to progress to multi-pitch climbing.
As mostly Marco would be the lead climber, we focused on setting up belays based on block-leading. This means using a sling to equalise the bolt anchors and usually belaying directly from the ‘master point’. As well as repeating this a number of times during the climbing day, we managed to fit in 3 abseil descents, one being a multi-stage abseil.
Day two revisited some topics from yesterday, then built on them. We began building belays using only the rope, so a more complex procedure, but well worth knowing and very useful. More abseil descents again, with Marco and Marjolein taking control to set these up. As the day progressed some crag rescue scenarios were introduced so the couple have a base of knowledge in case things don’t always go to plan. Dealing with a jammed belay device, ascending a rope, simple hauls, releasing a ‘Reverso’ type belay device and more all being covered.
We didn’t quite get the standard warm Costa Blanca weather, but the sun did join us and when the wind abated it really was more like t-shirt weather. The mix of sun, cloud, and mountains really is glorious from this crag too.
Big thanks to Marco and Marjolein for joining us, it’s been a pleasure and lots of fun. And thanks to Vicky for pointing these lovely people in our direction.