Both shared a common goal. To climb lots and feel more confident on the sharp end, leading rock climbing routes. Having a great time was in there too.
We had an itinerary mapped out, but had lots of other possibilities on tap so as to keep in line with everyone’s needs.
Day 1: Alcalali crag – only 5 minutes from our base in Llosa de Camacho, this roadside venue is home to a wide variety of top quality single pitch sport climbs from grade 4 – 7. We warmed up on a few 4’s before moving to 5’s. The afternoon was hot and after 6 big pitches of climbing we called it a day, heading back to Llosa and the sun terrace.
Day 2: Bovedon crag, Gandia – Anyone flicking through the Rockfax guidebook for Costa Blanca will be forgiven for dismissing Bovedon as a crag that’s out of reach for most climbers. The routes described are all in and around the massive cave and grades start at 7 before quickly moving on to 8’s. Most visitors to the area are not climbing at such a high standard. Since the guidebook was published, a number of nearby crags have been developed and this area now boasts lots of top quality climbs from 4 upwards, so very good news for anyone operating around grades 5 & 6.
We climbed 6 more routes at Bovedon today, with leads of up to 6a+, top effort! We also enjoyed the crag to ourselves so had the pick of any routes we wanted.
Day 4: L’Ocaive crag – Tired muscles and fingers today and a late start had been planned. L’Ocaive is within walking distance of our house in Llosa de Camacho and visible from the terrace. Dismissed by many climbers as either too hard or simply unattractive. Neither could be further from the truth. The huge orange cave is the centrepiece of the crag and is indeed mega hard. The big grey slabs to the left offer more amenable climbing from 4+ and whilst they do appear vegetated, the rock is clean, solid, and provides some excellent routes. The crag stays in the shade until around 2pm so is perfect for warmer days. We ticked 4 long routes from 4+ - 6b. Starting late allowed us a late finish too and a sunset at the crag, which is beautiful.
So instead we opted for a high crag with more of a walk-in to reduce the amount of climbing time to a sensible level.
You may be thinking, why go for a longer approach walk with so many roadside venues in the area. Anyone who has visited Raco Roig will already know the answer. 25 minutes of easy walking along a mountain track and we’re in the most magnificent setting, arguably the finest single pitch crag setting in the Costa Blanca with stupendous views into the canyon, of the Bernia ridge, and out to sea. But what’s the climbing like I hear you say. Immaculate limestone with friendly spaced bolting. Joe ticked his first 6b in Spain! But it was the long, sustained 6a+ he cruised that was the highlight and best single pitch route of the trip ‘Sinfonie Fur Simi’. A 3 star route through and through. Beware the sharp rock up here, we’ve already painted some of it red!
As the sun moved across the crag and shade quickly followed, we ran away in time for coffee & cake at the Coll de Rates.
For the last night out and a special treat we made the short journey to Castell de Castells and the amazing food of Mirco & Paula at their restaurant ‘Castell de Ines’. We can’t speak highly enough of the food and passion to be found in this restaurant, simply unique. I’ve been to Ambleside’s finest restaurants over the years and none come close for overall experience. Don’t just turn up and expect to be fed though, booking is essential.
With winter fast approaching, some will be turning their thoughts to snow and ice along with the vagaries of Scottish winter. Others will be missing the rock. For anyone looking to experience rock climbing, mountain walking, canyoning, ridge scrambles, or via ferrata, and would like some sunshine & warmth mixed in, why not get in touch and let us put together an itinerary to suit you.
Big thanks to Kerry, Joe, Kim, and Ann for joining us this week :-)
Mark & Kate