Costa Blanca

5th-12th Feb 2011

All pictures by MP except those marked JH (John) or CP (Chris).

Base Camp

Having established base camp, we went for a short acclimatisation climb (well OK, walk) up the Penon.

As ever, the Youth shot to the front, but then had to wait for the "slow and steady" team.

With determination, pluck and a total disregard for bar opening times, the top was conquered.

But sanity prevailed and we raced the sun back down to the cold beer, free wifi and ludicrously cheap seafood.

Although The Local Guide did take the opportunity to demonstrate some of his technical ability on the rocks.

An Alpine Start

The next day, we decided to beat the locals at their own game and get to the head of the queue for routes on the nearby crag. This was a total success. We also succeeded in getting there while the rock was still cold and damp. For some reason the locals only arrived when the sun had reached the crag and it was warm and pleasant. Amateurs.

The Youth on some easy warm-up route.

And The Slow and Steady Crowd...


The Youth the spied a more worth challenge...

... and the game was on.

Having learned the lesson of the perils of not getting to the bar in good time, the Slow and Steadys finished off on a short, delicate but amiably bolted last route of the day.

Not the Bernia Ridge

The Bernia Ridge. Costa's answer to the Cuillins. Never too old to learn from the locals, we had a leisurely start once it was warm enough. With confidence in our experience and a sketchy route description and some even sketchier memories, we headed inland.


The route description mentioned a "hole right through the ridge", so of course we had to get through it. With the wisdom of years on our side, we decided to send The Youth through first.


After an hour or so of leg-shredding bush-wacking, scree-stumbling and cliff-oggling we had another look at the route description - this time with spectacles fitted - and came to the conclusion that although it mentioned the hole, it didn't actually say "go though it". So back we went, through the hole and up and easy path to the top of the ridge.

We traversed the ridge for a while till the first irreversible abseil and concluded we didn't have enough time to complete the ridge. Benightment was not an option. We retreated, one more time through the hole and opted for a circumnavigation of the ridge.

Day 4

A cragging day best forgotten. An "educational" day.

The Gorge of Hell

Barranco di Inferno.

Never too old to learn, we set off well before dawn this time, up the long windy road to the top of the gorge.

The first abseil.

The gorge narrows.

The first awkward bit.


The point of no return.

From now on, the only way is down.

The Youth is sent ahead to figure out a way round the Exit Pools.

He falls in, so the Slow and Steady mob look for a more technical solutions.

The final obstacle...

... and we're out!

Only 1000ft to climb back up to the start.


A good easy grade crag inland from Alicante.

Our warmup route on the Western Butress. Quite stiff for the grade (4+) we thought.



The stiff gradeS continued on the not-so-warmup routes. The Ps only managed to get up to the 3rd bolt and them we called in the heavy guns - JohnH.

We all finished off on the classic 2 pitch Jhonny - probably the best route so far and a fine end to the week.