Archive for April, 2012

The pain in spain stays mainly on the plane

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

This years sun rock trip was organised by Dave D and CourtnAy who sent us to Calpe

The tourist hell hole of Calpe

on the Costa Blanca. The weather slot machine was paying out, coming up with 9 big yellow suns in a row, so our main issue became finding crags with enough shade for a mid day siesta. We even had a poolside barbeque one night, eating the ridiculously cheap and fresh langoustines from the local supermarket – we were almost drooling over the fish counter. And did I mention that instead of ducks on the local pond there were flamingos?

With a bit of pre trip research, we managed to completely avoid polished or crowded crags. Simon and Carmen appeared to have a mission to seek out anything which involved squirming through limestone tubes,

Carmen in a tube, Morro Falqui

Cef in a tube...

surely not...another tube

and Cef did an interesting impression of a cork being squeezed out of a bottle at one point, ripping his T shirt to shreds in the process. Another group of us fell in love with the climbing at Montessa, which had a great range of grades on strong natural lines among Brimham like pinnacles overlooking a castle. Did I mention the friction was fabulous and the bolting faultless? We also loved the climbing at Pena Rubra, delicate, technical and well bolted.

Sang trait (6a) Guadalest

Speaking of castles, we soon discovered we had historians among us. The area we were climbing in was fought over by Romans, Visigoths (wore black and moped a bit), Moors and Spaniards, and each lot left mosaics and castles behind. These had a magical effect on CourtnAy and Dave, who only had to spot a crumbling wall to come over all Time Team, and one afternoon after mixed opinions on the crags at Guadalest the non-fans among us gave up on climbing to scramble up to a castle on top of a crag which I would guess nobody had visited in decades.

Scrambling up to the castle

Looking through the Moorish ruins

The view from the top of the castle crag

Meanwhile, Father Jack was in full fledged Twitcher mode, heading off each day in search of exotic birdlife and returning with tales of driving axle deep through swamps whilst everything feathered hid and laughed at him. I think there may also have been a day or two of mountain biking (I bet you can tell how excited I am…).

We finally came to the end of our stay almost climbed out, and gleefully checked our mail to see how our weather had compared to back home. I know schadenfreude is a terrible thing, but I think we were all anticipating (I wont say hoping for) mist and murk, turned out it had been a heatwave in Yorkshire too. Ah well.

The last day - climbing at Toix Placa

Other photos

simon and carmen:

Andrew (Father Jack)
Pete the Pie
Claire G
Dave D