Mountain Journeys

Chilly days on the Costa Blanca

Since our last blog post there's been quite a change in the weather here on the Costa Blanca. Temperatures are now only just into double figures, there's been a day of heavy rain (much needed), and a breeze blows most days making it feel cold.

That said, we've still been in t-shirts for a fair amount of time and out of the wind it's still very pleasant.

Over the weekend (17th & 18th), we enjoyed a couple of walks. First up was the Penyo Molero. This is part of the Sierra Aitana range and one of the bigger peaks in the area at 1308 metres. The air was very clear and we were able to enjoy views as far away as Ibiza island! The trails were always good and mostly straightforward to follow. A few days later and the very same peaks are snow covered!!!

The second walk was from the mountain village of Fleix and included visits to 3 canyons (Infierno, Llidoners, and Racons). The route followed a slightly shorter alternative to the full circuit of Barranco del Infierno and having now done both routes i'd recommend this shorter option more. There's more diversity packed in better landscapes, and less steps (they do go on).

Shock horror, on Monday of this week it rained heavily all day and night. Loads of snow fell on the high mountains too. We were due a rest day and this was to be it.

By Tuesday the weather was back on track again, not warm and sunny to start with, but dry.
We headed North to Gandia crags for some rock climbing. Neither of us had been to this crag before and much of the climbing on offer seemed too difficult for our liking.
However, the sheltered and southerly aspect appealed for today so let's give it a go.

We had a great time here, with loads of routes at all grades there's something for everyone. All routes were well bolted, some of the rock is showing signs of heavy use though and the polish is creeping in. The tunnel route followed by a traverse over the cave area was particularly memorable and takes in terrain not normally encountered on a grade 5 route. Seek this one out if you go.
The sun was soon warming the crag and by the time we were leaving (after many finger busting routes) the evening sun cast its spell, lighting the rock beautifully.
Although about an hour from our Calpe base, we'll definitely be coming back to Gandia.

Wednesday we had plans for a big day on El Penon de Ifach, climbing one of the fine multi-pitch adventure routes. However, my fingers were now feeling very sore so we thought better of it and instead ticked just a few routes on the Toix crags. Probably should have rested, but the sun was out again so climbing it was. Fingers even worse by the evening, no climbing  tomorrow.

Today we walked on the Sierra Helada. This small range runs between the resorts of Benidorm and Albir. I say small, it's bigger than it looks.
We followed very good tracks all the way to the summit, which is full of aerials. We then continued towards Benidorm in order to gain a better view of the dramatic cliffs below. These sea cliffs are up to 400 metres high and appear to be  Sandstone and Limestone. There is rock climbing on these cliffs, we haven't done any here yet, but hope to on our next visit.
After our walk to the main summit, we extended the day with a trip to the lighthouse. This is an easy stroll of about 2.5km each way from the car park and worth every step.


Photos:
Top = Kate on the summit of Penyo Molero
Bottom = climbing at Gandia crag  

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