Costa Blanca Ridges
On Tuesday we went in search of the mini Matterhorn of Gandia, properly known as Mollo de la Creu. A majestic peak rising from the fertile orange groves to stand sentinel over the nearby urban sprawl of Gandia, such a juxtaposition.
I had made one previous visit to the lower section of this crag and thought it to be not worth another visit. However, we later learned of a long and fully equipped route leading up to the summit via a beautiful ridge line. Well that's going to be worth a look for sure. So me, Kim, and Ann set off for an adventure, oh and what an adventure we had. A true adventure should have some uncertainty and an unknown outcome. This place delivered.
The climb is in two parts, the first section is the route I'd already climbed and I knew this wasn't going to be amazing. But the hope was it would lead to much better things. From the top of this section a short scramble brought us to the base of the ridge line. This looked amazing. I think we climbed it in 5 pitches and all were very long, and on two occasions I came close to running out of rope - we were using 60's too!!
The pitches were a nice mix of easier climbing / scrambling and some more testing moves to which kept us engaged. Route finding was mostly straightforward and all the difficult sections were well bolted. The easy sections had big run-outs.
We arrived on the summit at about 3pm and enjoyed a rest, some lunch, and the gorgeous views. The descent walk was due to be around 50 minutes and all looked pretty straightforward. If only! The red blobs of paint we were due to follow didn't materialise and the path we used, which initially seemed correct, was taking us in the wrong direction more and more.
As we hadn't seen any other options for a way down, we stuck with this for a while longer, but then realised it would take us into the wrong valley. We had a sweep search for alternatives, but nothing reasonable was found and simply ploughing through vegetation in this part of the world is a really bad idea. It is very very sharp, yes I've learn that the hard way.
So we stuck to the good path heading into the wrong valley, we could see it would get us off the mountain and by now darkness wasn't too far away. As it turned out, the walk back to the car wasn't going to be too far, there was just a short section that may be a little off-piste. Well, about that sharp vegetation.......we had a few hundred metres of it to negotiate and this took an age. Multiple cuts and trips later, much cursing, some occasional laughing at ourselves, and we emerged on the other side.
Phew. 15 minutes later we were back at the motor. A little tired, full of thorns, but what a fantastic day out with two lovely friends.
It's not about the climbing. It's about the people, the places, and the adventure.
Thanks for reading and thanks to Kim and Ann for joining on this one 🙂