Climbing Restrictions in the Costa Blanca area.

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 David Mora 11 Apr 2021
Thread moved from Rocktalk to Crag Access

Hi all, I'm David Mora and I'm mountain guide in the Costa Blanca area, and I've worked for a long time in the mountain federation of Valencia Region.

There are sevaral items about the problem access in the Costa Blanca area and all those items are wrong.

All of you know that there is an European proyect called Natura 2000 with the idea to protect natural areas. This proyect is mandatory in all EU because there is an EU directive regulating.

From 2004 exists a law with the possibility to regulate (not forbide) the access to climbing areas, canyoning, vía ferrata, paths, etc if there are access problems. The access problems could be by nesting birds season (mainly for eagles) and plants protection. This is not new, ok?

Natura 2000 follows several steps, and this new law is one of them. Nowhere in this law is writen that will be forbiden  to climbing. Could be restricted climbing and canyoning is there are presence of eagles and to make the restriction, the Towhall (of he area) and the Regional Goverment must arrive to an accord. Climbing is not prohibited.

Actually there are restrictions during nesting season or by plants protection, and it will continue to be so.

It have been two problems, the first one was the Aixortà crag because the forest ranger detected exesive plants cleaning and the area was developed without permision, and the second, It was in Serra Gelada (Benidorm area), in a new developed crag. Serra Gelada is a protected area (from 2005) and it is forbiden to open new sectors without permision. The sector was opened without permision, inside the protected area and the park director decided to remove all bolts (informing or not to the mountain federation).

What will happen now? we need to be careful where and how new routes are opened, having all info as possible and making he things correctly.

Sorry for my english,

David Mora

Mountain Guide

In reply to David Mora:

Thanks David.  Good have a local view on the issues.

 Martin Bennett 11 Apr 2021
In reply to David Mora:

The voice of reason. Thank you for your informed view David. I had an idea we should wait and see rather than leap to the conclusion that earlier rumours were true.

 Jonathan Emett 12 Apr 2021
In reply to David Mora:

thanks for posting david. it's certainly reassuring to here this from you.

I think the survey is a good idea, I hope that it will demonstrate to officials the depth of support for climbing in the area, from people around the world.

 Mick Ward 12 Apr 2021
In reply to David Mora:

As others have said, thank you so much for clarifying things. We'll be guided by you (pun intended!)


 Cobra_Head 13 Apr 2021
In reply to David Mora:

Bravo, David, thanks for the info. We were talking about this the other day, and decided it was probably, more likely to result in closures for birds during the breeding season etc.

Thaks for clearing that up.

 sollyf 14 Apr 2021
In reply to David Mora:

Gracias David

Your English is fine compi.

Haber si coincidimos alli y te invito a un vino! / I'll buy you a beer if we bump into each other over there.

In reply to David Mora:

Thank you for for clarifying this, David. Look forward to getting back there to climb hopefully this year.......

 Baz P 15 Apr 2021
In reply to David Mora:

I was caught out by this ruling in December 2019 when trying to do a ferrata at Relleu. There was a sign stating the closure but not the reason. December seems a funny time to worry about nesting birds or growing plants in a very small area of forest. Also we were free to wander and cycle in other forest areas around Sella just a few miles away.

 chris skipton 16 Apr 2021
In reply to David Mora:

Gracias David.

 SerPa 17 Apr 2021
In reply to David Mora:

Hi everyone, I would like to add some important info about this topic, please do not make wrong as I would not like to create controversy with David Mora, he is friend and colleague, as I am also Climbing Instructor and Coach.

I have been involved in the restriction of Aixorta by the way, and I would add that climbing started at Aixorta before was stated as an area that needed protection, but I will not get in depth into this matter, as I would like to give you guys an extra information that David has missed.

David is totally right about how the Natura network works, in fact I did study Environmental Sciences, and a MsC in Environmental Management, so i know pretty well the intentions of the European Commission with the Natura Network 2000, which basically are to create and en chance a dialogue between stakeholders, local authorities and users of the areas. 

Unfortunately, this is not how the Valencian Environmental Agency understands this initiative to protect and preserve the stated areas. If you research in the article 11 of the “Real Decreto 179/2004” (Apologies for not uploading an image of it, it is in Spanish anyway) a priori says that Rock climbing and Canyoning is an incompatible activity on the Environmental protected areas of the Natura Network 2000, however it also says that these activities could be allowed by the Authorities that have the responsibility to manage the areas. 

Summing up, we climbers start in a minus 5 points situation in this matter, because a priori it is all banned unless... and this is where the problem relies, and the clear example is Aixorta. 

In the Costa Blanca we do have a great issue, and it is really serious, CLIMBING is really IN DANGER in the Costa Blanca, and we do have to start changing the way we act as climbers and developers of new crags as David says, but we could be living an scenario where all the climbing areas within the Natura Network 2000 will be unnequiped and this is the 80% of the climbing of the Costa Blanca, and also all the trad climbing Puig Campaña, Ponoig, Ifach, etc. 

My message is that the times coming will be tricky for the climbing community, and we need the support of other climbers and communities in order to raise our voice and tell Government and Environmental managers that we need to talk to reach agreements and make everyone happy environmentalist climbers. 

Thanks everyone for reading this and understanding the situation we are heading at the moment.


Sergio Pastor

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