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Costa Blanca February 2024

Updated: May 27

Back in September Tim and I put together a vague plan of going to Spain for some winter sport climbing to give us light at the end of the bleak tunnel that is British winter! Initially we’d planned it just for us two but over the course of the autumn this number eventually grew to 12!

Everyone on the last night

We all set off from Bristol Airport on Sunday 4th February on a plane bound for Alicante. Upon arriving we picked up our hire cars and drove an hour North East to our villa just outside of Calpe.

Peñon de Ifach in the distance

Upon arrival we were all amazed with the accommodation we’d got, with stunning views looking over to Peñon de Ifach, a large pool (sadly freezing cold) and a spacious villa that would be our home for the next week.

The AMC Love Island Villa – where belay-tionships blossom

Charlene and Conor were the only ones to brave the cold plunge!

Monday saw 10 of the group head to Peña Roja with Conor and Andy opting to head to Alcalalí – both crags only 10-15mins from the villa and offering plenty of climbing across the grade range. Popular routes climbed were Through the Magic Window 5c, Sansón y Dalila 6a, Caprichosa 6b, Techno Mania 7a+. James, Matt and Tim all had multiple goes on La Bella 7b but unfortunately no sends.

Lee on Technomania 7a+

Charlene on Problem Izquierda 5c

Matt on La Bella 7b

Oli bridging up the corner of Caprichosa 6b and Tor on Sulacco 7a+

Tuesday the group again split into two, with James, Matt and Tor heading to Pinos – 5 minutes up the road and the majority of the group heading to Sierra de Toix. The Pinos group worked a few routes including 2004 7b+ and Stormbringer 7a+.

James on Batazaco 7c at Pinos

Tim, Hannah, Conor and myself had our sights set on the adventurous multipitch route Rowlands Magical Mystery Tour 5a while Lee, Nikkie, Oli, Charlene and Andy spent the day at Toix Placa to climb some of the single pitch routes. Lee and Tim weren’t the biggest fans of this area due to the sparse and rusty bolts!

Me at one of the belays on Rowlands Magical Mystery Tour 5a

On Matt’s recommendation Conor and I also climbed the 2 pitch route Espolón Limaban 5a with the second pitch climbing some awesome flakes.

Nikkie climbing Los Urbanos 4c at Sierra de Toix

Conor at the belay on Espolón Limaban 5a

Upon returning to the villa plans were being hatched for a 6 person assault on the imposing 200m cliffs of Peñon de Ifach the next day…

The view of the imposing Penon de Ifach from the villa

On Wednesday morning the well laid plans from the night before were soon torn up as we were all put off for a myriad of reasons – too hot, too hard, rumours of sparse bolting and lots of polish, not sleeping well, Mars was in retrograde, the phase of the moon was wrong – the list was endless!

Instead 10 of us headed to Las Cerezas, a crag higher up in the hills hoping to find a bit of shade.

10 happy climbers at Las Cerezas

A rather bold fox trying to steal our food!

Las Cerezas is a really scenic crag with routes upto 40m ranging from 5a to 8a+. Particularly highlights were Lords of the Summer 5b, Via Una 6a, Via Tres Extension 6a+, Salvador Pons 6c, El Matematico 7a+ and Zombie Weekend 7a+.

Tim on El Matematico 7a+

Hannah on Salvador Pons 6c

James on Zombie Weekend 7a+

Andy nearing the top of Lords of the Summer 5b

Matt and Sarah opted to go to the shady crag L’Ocaive with their primary objective being Palestina 7c+.

With rain forecast for Friday, Thursday was seen by most as the last opportunity to get some climbing in before heading home on Saturday.

The logistics were organised the night before with Tim, Hannah, Tor and Lee getting dropped off to Pinos with Matt, James and Sarah meeting up with them slightly later. Matt had unfinished business to attend to on 2004 7b+ which still needs finishing apparently! James fell while clipping the chains on Batazaco 7c and other routes climbed were Diamond Cutter 6b, Let’s Get Started 6b+, The Mediator 7a and Stormbringer 7a+.

The view from the cave belay on Sonjannika 6a+

Conor, Oli, Andy, Charlene, Nikkie and myself decided to head towards the coast to Morro Falqui. Oli and I went to climb the 6 pitch Sonjannika 6a+ as well as Moorhuhn Winter Edition 6a. We were treated with one of the best cave belays ever after P3 of Sonjannika and a nice exposed pitch after with 100m of air under your feet!

Oli on Moorhuhn Winter Edition 6a

Charlene, Nikkie, Conor and Andy opted for the single pitch West Face which although a bit chilly didn’t disappoint with some great routes including Coming Out 4c (a bit of caving), Waschbär Nine 5a, Schneggerla 5c, Disorder 6a and Andrina 6a.

Conor disappearing into the cave of Coming out 4c

Charlene appearing from the cave

Nikkie on Disorder 6a

The group then all met back at the villa for one last BBQ and a few board games.

Grillin’ back at the Villa

Friday did see a fair bit of rain in the morning which delayed everyone’s start. A few did manage to get some climbing done in between showers but most of the group set out on a pilgrimage to the cultural centre of Benidorm for some bowling. Andy and Conor battled it out at the top with Conor winning both games!

Tim not getting a strike…

Friday night was rounded off with a few games of Pass the Pigs and The Resistance before Tim and I tried and failed to drink the villa dry!

All in all it was a great week of climbing with a great group of people! Same again next year?

Hannah with everyone’s favourite crag dog, Oreo

One of the colourful sunrises we were treated to

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