What I did last week: Costa Blanca

Another short trip completed. This time a return to an old venue I hadn't been too in almost 10 years, Costa Blanca region. Interestingly, I hadn't left with the fondest of memories for the area from the last time - too many ex-Pats had taken over the area, we had rented an apartment in a high-rise in tourist-beach central, lots of driving between crags, none of the climbing had really stood out, etc. - but time obviously softens the memory, plus we had an excuse to go back as Naomi was teaching a retreat out there the following week after she'd abandoned and sent me back to the day job. Life is tough for some!

Anyway, kicked off with the fun image of a bag packing for a climbing trip. Man, these North Face haul bags are ace, my style of packing too with the whole approach being stuff haphazardly as required, no organisation required. Love it. 

 

For those who like moving pictures, here's the collection of fun and serious pictures. Enjoy :)

And for those who prefer reading, photos and short stories below.

Then, the airport happened and well, I got bored so got some very bemused looks while recording this......

The photo below says a lot about the trip for me. I've got a labrum tear in my right shoulder at present, so have essentially not climbed (indoors or outdoors) since last July. But this trip, I climbed! And the sheer joy was explained in the post below:

Climbed at Alcalali sector, 5 minute walk-in from the car-park. Nice mix of grades and interesting enough climbing. 

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Thanks for trashing this cactus tree, Mr/mrs 'BMC'. Classy.

Thanks for trashing this cactus tree, Mr/mrs 'BMC'. Classy.

Short walk in to the crag. As usual, photo from iPhone, unedited.

Short walk in to the crag. As usual, photo from iPhone, unedited.

As always, I'm so lucky with the various people I've met over the years while traveling and as is always now the case, we bumped into some old friends we'd met in Ceuse years ago. Love it. They live out in Spain permanently these days and have recently been developing a climbing area so we took the opportunity to go visit on the last day of the trip. Just another climbing area, 40 metres tall, fantastic climbing and absolutely jammed with locals - what a great time.

We also managed to get in a pile of running and hiking. Hard not to when the trails are in such good condition and set up. Granted, I never did find a flat run in the whole week, clocking over 1,500 metres of vertical ascent in the time. Phew. All good fun though!

Fun walk known as the '5,000 steps'. Granted it turns out if you do the full loop, it's actually 14km's and 17,000 steps..... Nice romantic walk with Naomi on Valentines Day ;)

Fun walk known as the '5,000 steps'. Granted it turns out if you do the full loop, it's actually 14km's and 17,000 steps..... Nice romantic walk with Naomi on Valentines Day ;)

Naomi viewing her dream location....

Naomi viewing her dream location....

Selfie time after 14km of hiking in sun with only a litre of water. #NeverLearn

Selfie time after 14km of hiking in sun with only a litre of water. #NeverLearn

Travel Info

Flights

Alicante airport is closest, less than an hours drive from the main areas. Alternative option is Valencia, circa 1.5 hours drive north. Additional benefit of Valencia is if you decide to try out Chulilla, or even further north Montanejos (or one of the many crags nearby).

Being ex-pat and ultra tourist area, during off-season in particular (which is optimum for doing activities), it's ridiculously cheap.

 

Accommodation

If near the coast, Calpe works with dozens of apartments. I wouldn’t recommend it though, there’s loads of housing further inland to consider. Calpe feels relatively anonymous and sun-baked. You’ll find lovely villages further inland.

 

Shopping

Mega-supermarket at Ondara. Masmas, (small, decent) supermakrket in Orba. Other smaller supermarkets in many other towns.

 

Climbing

Best suggestion is just get the Rockfax to the area. Amazon link here.

Peno Roja, Alcalali, and the well known Sella, as well as Gandia.

 

If looking for a short trip, it's only two hours drive up to Chulilla (details here) up the road. 

Activities

If you're into hiking, make sure to bookmark Bob and Jean Hall's website which covers an astounding list of hikes across the region. Full maps and accurate times all hosted here.

Biking is huge here also. Ridiculously huge: individuals, groups, and even pro teams. I guess it's pretty good then!

There's obviously the Mediterranean about 20-30 minutes drive away at all times......