Will be in Costa Blanca next week and am keen to do (among other things) an adventure-y seaside route or two — looking for opinions. On a previous trip I have already done Vía Pany (5a), which was fun if a bit scrappy in places, as well as Parle (6a+), which was glorious.
1. Diedro UBSA (5c) looks very exciting but seems to divide opinions somewhat as it gets more polished over time.
2. As an alternative, I'm also intrigued by Costa Blanca (6c+), though it may be a lot of hard climbing for one day, particularly for my partner.
3. On the slightly easier end, Rowland's Magical Mystery Tour (5a) looks fun.
4. El Dorado (6a+) also looks exciting but I notice some comments about rusty bolts, which is a little off-putting.
(I am discounting Vía Valencianos (5c) entirely because it sounds like it has been polished to glass.)
They are all well worth doing. Also consider Los Miserables as an easier alternative to Costa Blanca. El Dorado is OK if you take a bit of gear, think E2 rather than a sport route. Polvos Magicos is another good one, although the slippery corner pitch may be an acquired taste and probably 6b at the top pulling onto the belay ledge.
I agree Via Valencianos is a bit average, but if you are new to that sort of thing it would be a good day out.
I enjoyed this one https://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/crags/morro_falqui-9863/sonjannika-118301
Magical mystery tour is pretty much a sport route now although it’s good fun.
We recently climbed 'Verde Esmerelda' on the Peñon and thoroughly enjoyed it. The crux pitch is well bolted, the rest is more like a trad route. However, unless temps rise it might be a bit cold for a north face route.
Diedro UBSA on the Peñon is well worth doing. The initial pitches are polished and a bit run-out. But it gets a whole lot better and gives some great climbing in the upper pitches.
Personally I'd avoid El Dorado unless the belay bolts at the top of P2 have been renewed. Rust isn't something you want to be looking at on a stance like that one.
Erikindia 6a+ is similar to Parle and just next door to it: https://www.mountain-journeys.co.uk/blog/erikindia-new-route-on-the-toix-sea-cliffs
I'm not sure ubsa has that much polish - how do you polish muddy blocks held in with more mud? The position is great and the cave abseil even better, but the climbing is boring.
Polvos magicos is the best easy route on that face, with the E1 alternative to Valencianos the second. Polvos has the downside of you needing to do the disgustingly polished (I gave up and stood on the bolt and was climbing 7b at the time) corner of Valencianos, but the big corner all the way to the top is so much fun it makes up for it.
I just got back from Costa Blanca
I don't think you'll find much better than Parlé, it's an amazing experience for a relatively small bit of climbing.
If you have time you should still check out Rowlands Magical Mystery Tour. It's much more relaxed than Parlé but still pretty cool.
UBSA is a much bigger outing with more of a mountain multipitch feel. There is polish but I think the polish is mostly natural since it's everywhere. It doesn't spoil the experience
We were going to do El Dorado but jumped on Via Missing Link instead. The traverse had very little gear so bring some of your own. There's potential to fall in the sea on the 2nd pitch and the 3rd pitch is unrelenting. Getting down is pretty interesting too. I'd recommend it if you're feeling bold, it was great fun and also terrifying. El Dorado looks good too
New route near parle
Also worth considering are A Dream in the Making (HVS 5a), Angel Crack (E1 5b) and Diedro Edwards Mertinez (VS 4c) - trad multipitch on the sandstone of Serra Gelada/Helada. Really worthwhile to make a trip down there.
Sonjannika (6a+) at morro falqui is excellent. Park your car at the top and walk down in trainers so you finish at your car, take water ++ as it can get hot. The variation Silberruecken (6b) is slightly harder and just as good.
I know the Campana doesn't have the sea lapping the beach beneath but you ought to be able to find something adventurous there. Two friends had a memorable night out after a navigation error, half way up.
What kind of adventure fits the bill?
I have heard one or two things about access issues, but the situation isn't clear to me. I thought it was only that a few routes that were bolted had been unequipped. I went back in 2019, so access may have changed...!
I'm not really sure but had been thinking about checking it out myself before I seen this.
Not wanting to spoil ideas
Hmm it does look like the ban applies to the Citadel area cited by C Witter. That’s a shame. But sectors 1 and 2 appear to be unaffected and it looks like there’s some quality routes there too… Already downloaded the topos.
This is useful, thanks. I don't speak Spanish and it's been some time since I've been there, so I might be incorrect with my map reading, but my best interpretation is that "Area 3" on the map is the only one that is within the bird ban area, whilst the routes I described are in Area 2, which isn't bird banned. Is that your interpretation?
It is amazing There's a lot that's meant to be good apart from the routes I mentioned. Last time I was in the area, Rowland Edwards recommended the Velcro Slabs to me. We went elsewhere in the end, but might be another area worth checking out. Unfortunately, my knowledge of the area is to shaky to remember whether the routes are within or outside of the bird banned area, but hopefully the topos make that clearer
I emailed the park service and they did not indicate that the area was currently under a bird ban, but the area does require their prior authorization, and by the time they responded to me with additional details, it was unfortunately too late. (The link they sent me actually says you have to make the request 30 days in advance.) They also asked me for very detailed info including UTM coordinates.
Anyway, we decided to try the Hidden Secrets area instead, and since I don't think anyone else has commented on this area, I'll give a bit of a report. Personally, I found it too heady to lead even the VS's there, mainly because — despite the Edwardses' assurances about the rock quality — I didn't feel I could really trust the sandstone. It was certainly solid in places, but in others it crumbled away easily, and since this area is basically all overhanging dinner plates, you have to make some blind, committing moves right off the deck before placing gear. The moves didn't seem objectively difficult, but some of the dinner plates looked semi-detached, and both hand and footholds were carpeted in sand and crumbled rock (probably more than at the area you went by virtue of being horizontal breaks), so I didn't feel I could trust hands or feet — or, just as important, what little gear I could get, or would get once I had yarded myself up there. I definitely admire the Edwardses for seeing the potential in this area and establishing all these wild-looking routes, but it looked pretty abandoned and neglected by the time I got there... It's a shame because the area you went to sounds and looks amazing.
Missing Link is undoubtedly one of the best lines in the area. As you say though, there’s the potential for landing in the sea on easy(ish) traverse. Was a bit grease in the sun and there is a tricky section half way along. The arête is incredible
Glad you had a great time, one way or another, but sorry to hear you weren't able to get on Dream and that the area you went to of Serra Gelada felt a bit dodgy. I know what you mean about the rock: most of the stuff I climbed was solid, but a few bits less so and I have a distinct memory of selecting a cam, blowing the sand out of the break, and then realising so much sand had come out I'd need a size larger... It added a bit to the experience, though, as you tended to get just enough bomber gear, eg. threads, that you knew you'd be ok, despite run out sections or intermediate gear being suspect. Espolon Central is great, no? I really enjoyed it and returned to do Diedros Magicos, which was also stunning. Some good very good intermediate level trad at Echo Valley too... the area is always worth another trip, I think!