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Altea
Cabezon de Oro
Echo Valley
El Aventador
Forada
Gandia
Marin
Mascarat Gorge
Moraira Sea Cliffs
Olta
Pena Rubia
Penon d'Ifach
Puig Campana
Salem
Segaria
Sella
Toix
Other Crags

The climbing in the Costa Blanca is all on limestone (hence Costa Blanca meaning White Coast). The crags range from single pitch, generously bolted, sport routes to almost alpine sized mountain routes with natural gear. Some of the climbing is of true classic nature: Penon D'Ifach, a thousand foot solid lump of rock sticks straight up out of the sea and towers over Calpe, the beautiful valley of Sella where you can be surrounded by crisp limestone crags or the awesome Puig de Campana (how does 13 pitches sound?).

The Rhino The Rhino & Pared de Rosalia

Sella

But enough of the sales blurb, here is a list of a few of the crags that I have climbed on with any helpful tips that I can think of:

( Check out the map on the RockFax site to locate these areas )

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Calpe Area

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Sella - Probably THE classic sport climbing areas in the whole of the Costa Blanca. A huge range of routes covering all grades and lengths.

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Penon D'Ifach - What a classic mountain this is! An absolute must for the Costa Blanca climber.

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Toix - Easily accessible crags just above Calpe. (Assuming you don't get lost in the rabbit warren of housing estate that leads up to it).

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Altea - Several smallish standalone crags just inland from Calpe and Toix.

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Olta - A surprisingly under-developed crag considering its closeness to Calpe. Single-pitch sport climbing, high up, with fantastic views.

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Mascarat Gorge - A huge gorge just south of Calpe through which run many tunnels carrying all the main North-South roads.

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Echo Valley - A huge area of development in a remote and still largely unspoilt valley.

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Moraira Sea Cliffs - A largely undeveloped area of sea cliffs just North of Calpe with some climbing restrictions.

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Segaria - A true new routers paradise with plenty of scope for development at all grades from F3 / VD up.

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Puig Campana - The Costa Blanca's highest mountain and home of its longest trad routes.

Northern Area

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Gandia - Sport climbing crag just inland from Gandia town.

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El Aventador - Large crag situated in the far north of the climbing area in Costa Blanca.

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Salem - Remote and isolated valley. If you're lucky you may even get the whole place to yourselves.

Alicante / Vinalopo Valley (Inland from Alicante)

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Cabezon de Oro - A large mountain on the left of the motorway just North of Alicante.

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Marin - A great crag for those of us that climb at F4 and F5 grades.

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Forada - One of the inland crags.

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Pena Rubia - Another inland crag. A little polished but still pleasant.

Other Areas

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Other Crags - There are still a large number of other crags that I have not yet visited such as The Jalon Valley, Alcoy, Cabreras and Salinas. Check out this page to see favourites for these crags as recommended by other visitors to this site.

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Bouldering

Probably the question I get asked most frequently is whether there is any bouldering in the Costa Blanca well I am pleased to say that I finally have some details.

Montessa

One of the first places that I heard about was Montessa. Get the local guide, "La Mola de Montesa - 2003", from the local climber cafe, Camil's Rock Bar. This covers loads of routes and all 40 boulder problems with colour topos. The bouldering is on some great free standing blocks.

Simon Jacques' Article

Simon Jacques, who has spent several trips to the Costa Blanca investigating the possibilities of bouldering on the coast has written an article, An Alien On The White Coast - Costa Blanca Bouldering, that has been published on the UKClimbing website. This article mentions various areas and has topos to the boulders that he has developed at Olta.

Castell de Castells

Richard Davies has developed some boulders in a river bed near Castell de Castells. He has produced another of his high quality guides to these problems that can be found on his web site, Costa Blanca Rock. Just click on the Bouldering link in the 'Topos and Latest Information' table.

Platja Les Arenetes

There is a beach at Denia, near Les Rotes, which had some of the first bouldering that I heard about.


HarryP on Les Rotes Beach

Check out Les Rotes for some off the beach fun.

Ani on Les Rotes Beach

Rio Ebo

Al Evans has recently discovered another area for potential development in the river Ebo. He recently posted the following directions:

Take the road from Pego to Val de Ebo turn left down a track by the side of Rio Ebo, its immediately after you cross the bridge. Park at the end of the track and simply walk down the river.

The best place is a longish walk for bouldering, about an hour, a few hundred mts before the start of Barranco D' Infierno. But the first area is just about 10 minutes, but some of the possibilities look hard.

Thanks to Al Evans for these directions.

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Deep Water Solo

DWS, like everything else on the Costa Blanca, is developing at an amazing pace. It was only a couple of years ago when I had no details whatsoever now there appears to be enough areas developed that you could spend an entire week's trip doing nothing else but deep water solos.

Psicobloque

Psicobloque is a Spanish website written purely to cover DWSs on the Costa Blanca. It's a well built website with a vast number of routes detailed in full colour topos. There is also a downloadable pdf guide (in both high and low quality) so that you can print it off and take it with you.

Deep Water Cover

RockFax Guide

Rockfax publish Deep Water, a guide to deep water soloing throughout the UK and Europe. This covers some of the areas on the Costa Blanca that were developed by the first of the Orange House's Deep Water Festivals (see below).

Deep Water Festival

For the last few years the Orange House has run a deep water solo festival in September of each year. See their Climbing section for more information including photos and videos.

Climber 10/06 Cover

Climber's Magazine Article

Following on from this development an article appeared in Oct '06 issue of the Climber magazine. This is a detailed guide to the DWS routes and includes topos for each of the individual areas of development.

Unfortunately there doesn't appear to be a way to order back issues from their website.

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The Respect

I have recently been asked by a local climber to add a section to this website that details the sort of respect that everyone should apply when visiting the Costa Blanca to climb. As someone who has derived a great deal of pleasure from climbing on "someone else's rock" this seemed like a good idea to me. 

So far we have come up with the following points that we hope everyone would abide by. They basically come down to showing common courtesy:

bulletShouting
There are a number of crags that are quite close to peoples houses. e.g. Toix West. Please keep the amount and level of shouting at these to a minimum.
bulletParking
Please avoid parking in front of peoples houses so that the owners themselves can not. This can cause them to complain to the authorities. Again Toix West is an obvious example.
bulletNew Routing
Can new routers try and keep to the traditions of the crag. i.e. only bolt crags that are currently bolted. Avoid putting new routes too close to existing ones. And never paint the route name on the rock face. I know it has been done but lets not propagate this.
bulletNew Crags
Please do not develop a new crag until other local developers have been consulted.
bulletEnvironment
Please respect the environment of each crag. Avoid damaging plants and animals. Avoid creating unnecessary new paths and erosion by using low offs where supplied. Respect bird bans.
bulletProfessional Work
Can professional guides and course organisers please avoid swamping small crags with large groups.

 

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The Environmental Nut Placement

This is a new protection device that was developed by Rowland Edwards, the man behind the Compass West climbing school. The idea is that it fits into a drilled hole in the rock and can not be seen from the ground. A Wild Country size 3 rock can be fitted into the ENP vertically and then twisted. As it twists a spring locks the nut into the ENP.

Rowland describes these devices as an adventure protection device that is not intended to be as bomb proof as a bolt and adds that each climber should judge the protection for themselves.

Rowland's ethic with these devices is to use them on normal adventure routes but only in sections where natural gear cannot be used. So if you intend to climb any of these routes of Rowland's then bring a full rack plus a few extra size 3 rocks for the ENPs.

I have encountered these devices on the Rowlands Magical Mystery Tour route where they were being used to protect a stance. Unfortunately there was already a rock stuck in one of them. This does not bode well for the future of these devices but we will have to wait and see. Certainly on a route which would normally have been bolted, as routes often are in Spain, then the ENP does appear to be a step forward.

There is now a second version of this device called the Super ENP or SENP for short. The device was redesigned so that the hole that was needed was much smaller. This made it easier for battery powered drills to cope. Just to confuse matters the new SENP requires a size 5 RP so if you intend to do any routes equipped with this device then make sure you have some extra size 5 RPs with you.

The latest RockFax guide details exactly which device is used on which routes and in what numbers, so this is another reason for updating your guide. However for those with an older edition or Chris Craggs' guide, or even one of the local guides then be warned that these routes are common in the Echo Valley. There are also a couple on the Puig de Campana and the Candelabra del Sol area of Toix Sea cliffs.

For further information on these devices check the ENP page on the Compass West web site.

If anyone has any comments or opinions on these devices then I would love to hear them. - a_baates@hotmail.com

 

Chris Craggs expresses his opinion:

bulletIt is a cheap way of (not?) equipping sport routes, and a bit shoddy if you ask me, because you drill the hole but don't stick a bolt in it. I think the chances of it catching on are zero! I think people who go to Spain are looking for either Sport routes or Trad, I think routes equipped with ENP are neither fish nor fowl.

Thanks to Chris Craggs for this comment.

It is also worth noting that:

bulletNone of the designs are approved or CE marked. Therefore, as with climbing, you climb on them at your own risk. I took a lob on one to see how it reacted and it worked pretty well but it took me 20 mins, a nut key and a large boulder to get the rock back out of the bloody thing.

Thanks to Chris for these details.

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My Favourite Routes

I have added a section to each of the crag pages which contains my favourite route to date. This will be a route that has stuck in my mind for whatever reason; whether it be particularly sustained in its grade or maybe it has distinctly exposed sections.

Voting For Your Own Favourites

I have also added a new page where you can vote for your favourite routes: Favourite Routes. Please do use this page to help others have an enjoyable trip.