On Saturday morning things really took off. We ventured into the Barranco del Infierno canyon. For scenery this is definitely the best of the Costa Blanca canyons. Lots of photos taken by everyone and lots of fun had. The heavy rains of last winter have changed this canyon, filling some of the pools with pebbles, this now makes the journey a little less strenuous but still every bit as much fun. With a long approach and return walk through stunning scenery, this made for a full and satisfying day out. Smiles all round :-)
The team then enjoyed a night out in Denia, sampling the local tapas. I stayed closer to home to get fully prepared for Sunday!
With Saturday still being the 'warm-up' day, Sunday saw us split into 2 groups (girls & boys). Kim took the girls over the Ferrer Ridge, near to Sierra de Bernia. This is a grade 1 scramble along a fine ridge with stupendous views. To round off the day they all went rock climbing at Murla crag, a perfect place to watch the sunset.
I took the guys to king of Costa Blanca ridges, the Benicadell. If this ridge was by the coast it would attract far more people, but it nestles inland from Gandia and currently doesn't appear in any English guidebooks (although recently a Spanish guidebook has been published with details of Benicadell and many more fine ridges. Contact us for more details about this book by Joan Crespo Sempere) so doesn't see much attention, which is a shame, it's brilliant!
Due to the size of the ridge it receives the Alpine grade of AD/D rather than a mere scrambling / climbing grade. This is something worth bearing in mind if planning a traverse.
We set off from the parking area by around 9.15am, the approach walk is easy and quite short. The initial pitches went well, albeit a little on the slow side for such a big undertaking. Momentum soon started to gather and there were times when we were able to use 'moving together' techniques for even greater efficiency whilst still maintaining an acceptable level of safety for us all.
By lunchtime I realised we were too far behind schedule to make it to the summit via the ridge, but knew we could remain on the ridge for much longer and enjoy continued scrambling and climbing for a few more hours, so that's what we did. We traversed a huge amount more of the ridge, using up as much daylight as possible, before making a quick retreat off the south side, not too far below the summit. From here an easy path led up to our descent route. The sun was setting and everything felt sublime, to be out on a big ridge with the world below our feet, was quite special.
Head torches came out for the easy walk down to the car, all of us tired, in the best possible way. Such an amazing day, big thanks to Joe, Seth, and Gavin.
And an all round fantastic weekend, thanks too to Toshika, Irena, Charlotte, Kate, Kim, and Ann.
Many tired folk now heading back to London after the weekend escape, and an afternoon of rest for us here too :-)