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Monday, 27 February 2012

Costa Blanca 2012

After a cold winter in England, we decided we needed to go somewhere hot, and where better than southern Spain. A group of 16 went to crush some Spanish sport routes which included me, Jonny White, Tom Bonnert, Gracie Martin, Natasha Allcock (Tash), Billy Ridal, Tara Hayes, Flo and Naomi Tilley, with the rest made up of parents.
Team Crush
 The first day took us to Sella with me and Billy kicking things off with the first multi pitch of the week ‘Cardo Borriquero’ 6a followed by a very scary and exposed 6c+. While this was going on Jonny and Tom got the tick on Kashba 6c+ which is supposedly one of the best routes at Sella and followed that by ‘No me bajes tan’ 7a, a one move wonder which involved a dyno from a side pull half way up the route!

Flo on Paprika 7b
On day two we took a trip to Sierra De Toix in the morning for some  climbing for the adults so we decided to get some multipitch practice in Tom and Jonny set off on ‘Espolón Limaban’ 4 followed by a 5 with me and Gracie doing ‘Green Route III’ 6a followed by 5+. In the afternoon the crushing really began with a trip to Los Pinos where Jonny and Tom got the on-sight of ‘Jog Jog’ 8a! A short and powerful route which went through a roof. Billy also did well by getting ‘Blob Face’ 7c on his third go. And me, Gracie, Flo and Tara getting ‘Paprika’ 7b on our second goes with Tash getting the on-sight.
Tash on 'Route 3' 7a+

The next day we aimed to go to Bernia but due to taking the wrong road ended up at Murla instead, where to be honest not much got done due to the mix of bad weather and sharp holds. Although there was the on-sight of ‘Tendonator’ 7b by Jonny and Tom after that the rest of us stuck to 6b’s and 6c’s until getting rained off the crag. What surprised me most about this crag is someone had bolted holds onto one of the climbs, which was very surprising because I thought we were climbing outdoors and strangely it’s still a three star route.

Tara on Paprika 7b
Jonny on Jog Jog 8a
Wildside at Sella was our next place to visit as people had claimed it to be world class climbing, and it most certainly was. Me, Billy and Tara all getting the on-sight on ‘Si te dicen que caí’ 7a, while Gracie, Tash and Flo were busy working a 25m 7b ‘Todos los caminos’ which I have to say was quite under graded. I also managed to get all of the moves on a massive 25m tufa climb ‘Black is Black’ 7b but it was just too tiring to possibly link all of the moves, but definitely a worthwhile climb. While we were at Wildside the parents and Naomi went back to Sella sector Final, where Naomi did an impressive on-sight on ‘Aqui tampoco’ 6c which was 22m of technical climbing followed by a massive powerful roof.

Billy on Blob Face 7c
Day 4 was the most memorable for me. Me and Tom took on the challenge of the ‘Peñón de ifach’, which was a massive rock face at the end of Calpe and looked out onto the sea. The route we chose to do was ‘El navigante’ a 200m 8 pitch route! The hardest pitch was a 7a at the top. On pitch four Tom veered off route and ended up with his hand and foot hold snapping which left him plummeting 15m down the rock to become level with me! This was most definitely a surprise. Overall the whole route took us 8 hours and I’ve got to say it was extremely tiring but a sense of accomplishment when we reached the top.

Sarah on Paprika 7b
While me and Tom were climbing the Peñón everyone else went to Gandia climbing on sector Hidraulics where the climb to try seemed to be ‘Penqueño saltamontes’ 5 which mixed climbing with caving, as the route went up a tube through the rock. Another climb that got done was ‘Blaniulus gluttulatus’ 7a where there was a massive no hands rest, half way up where you could sit in a hole.

Tom on Jog Jog 8a
The last day of climbing took us back to Gandia this time going to sector Fundicio and Potent and was in most people’s opinion the best place that we went all week, the sun was shining and the routes were all really good. Jonny, Tom and Billy all ticked ‘Enya’ 7b+ with Gracie getting all the moves but unable to link it. Me, Billy and Tara also managed to tick ‘Don Diego’ 7a+ Naomi also got all of the moves but didn’t manage to put them together. ‘Don Diego’ was a very fun and enjoyable route except one move out rightwards to an evil crimp, with a hard pull to another one. One route that Naomi and others did was ‘Pepestroik’ 6b which in the guide book was described as “climb up to the hanging ‘dong’ at 4m.” which we all found quite amusing.
Naomi on Pepestroik pulling off the
hanging dong

Gracie on Paprika 7b
Overall we had a fantastic week in Spain with great climbing and weather. However the one thing I learnt from this trip is never pick fresh oranges from a tree as they’ll probably not be ripe and taste sour.