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Pete_H

[TR] Spain - Costa Blanca - Multiple 3/18/2013

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Trip: Spain - Costa Blanca - Multiple

 

Date: 3/18/2013

 

Trip Report:

“There is no night life in Spain. They stay up late but they get up late. That is not night life. That is delaying the day."

 

-Ernest Hemingway

 

My wife and I took her spring break in Espana this year. As you all know, Europe has experienced a cold wet and long winter. Good for skiing, but not so good for the rock climbing. Hence, we chose to visit the Costa Blanca region, which purportedly has the warmest, driest weather in Spain and, fortunately, lifetimes of good rock.

 

After flying into Madrid and securing our rental car we somehow managed to end up on the right Autopista towards Valencia. We stayed for the first three nights in Finestrat, a picturesque village about an hour south of Valencia and 20 minutes from Benidorm, "the Las Vegas" of Spain. The local crag is Sella, near a village of the same name. We cragged two days there and went for a couple runs on the local trails.

 

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The view from the crag was not so bad.

 

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Some big limestone in the area, the Divino. With routes about ten pitches long

 

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The beautiful town of Sella

 

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My wife had trouble getting used to the eating schedule in Spain. We would typically climb until 6 or so then head out to dinner around 8 or 8:30. Lots of times restaurants were just opening or not open yet. If they were, we'd typically be the first ones there.

 

Checking out the nightlife in Finestrat on the local playground.

 

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After Finestrat, we headed up the coast to a small city called Culp, home of the Pinon D'Ifach, a plug of limestone which rises right out of the blue sea.

 

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Spanish parking job in Culp.

 

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We jumped on a 8 pitch 10a called the Diedre USBA.

 

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Despite being a bit polished, the route was a lot of fun with some decent pitches and some great positions. And fully bolted, of course.

 

The descent was brutal though.

 

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After Culp, we climbed a day at a fun crag called Gandia with some steep routes then headed inland to check out a town called Xativa and a castle. It was a little off the beaten path and kind of weird, but the castle was cool.

 

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We liked Finestrat so much we decided to go back for our last few days in the country. On the way we stumbled upon a very cool town called Guadalest. Its a really small town but it literally sits on top of the climbing. After climbing we hung out at the local refugio and drank beer with the stewards Marysoll and Miguel. Miguel was excited to tell us that he was friends with and had climbed a lot with "Joan Basher." After shaking our heads for a while, we laughed when we realized he meant John Bachar.

 

At the refugio

 

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The town, the climbing.

 

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We tried to climb as close as possible to the castle via a fun 3-pitch 10d.

 

At the top, eyeing the castle.

 

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Looking out to the ocean from with the refugio in the lower right hand corner.

 

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Some of the cool cragging at Guadalest

 

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In case you forget what route you just climbed

 

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Other than climbing we ate and drank quite well. A few Euros will get you a nice bottle of Rioja Crianza and for a couple more a Reserva. The most suprising culinary experience we had was stopping at a random truck stop off the Autopista on our way back to Madrid. Inside was a bar that ran the length of the restaurant where people were ordering sandwiches made from meat cooked in a wood-fire oven. We had some sort of pork chop and pepper one that was amazing. If this place was in Seattle it would be a hip successfull lunch spot. In Spain, just a random truck stop off the highway.

 

There is an unreal amount of rock in just the Costa Blanca region alone. Tons of easily accessible sport crags but also a plethora of long traditional routes. Definitly stoked to go back!

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Nice. My wife has been lobbying hard for this trip for awhile. Looks excellent. Would you recommend bringing a trad rack?

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If you are interested in doing longer, more obscure routes, then yes. Otherwise no. I brought a light rack and never used it.

 

For example, there's a huge chunk of limestone right outside of the town we stayed in, Finestrat, called the Puig Campana. Its a beautiful piece of rock with tons of long routes which do require a rack.

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Nice! Esp. like the climbing on the Mediterranean coast.

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sport climbing in spain? why not in france for the full-on communist experience? :grin:

 

i need to move closer to where the real cheap wine comes from....

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