/ Costa Blance for the first time

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NottsRich on 05 Dec 2012
In January two of us are planning a 4-5 day holiday to the Costa Blanca. As part of that we would like to do some climbing. So far we've narrowed it down to flying to Alicante or Murcia, hiring a car (seems to be about £25-50 for a week...) and heading to the hills behind Benidorm, camping in the hills, a bit of sightseeing, a bit of climbing and a bit of walking.

So because it's our first time to the area I've got a few questions which I hope you might be able to help with.

1. We comfortably lead F5/5+ and love multipitch. Any recommendations of 3-5 pitch routes? Ideally coastal, but an area that we can target with a lot of climbs would be good so we can get just one guidebook and maximise climbing time. Routes with adventure rather than just short and hard.

2. We have a 60m rope, 10 QDs and anchor building bits n bobs. Will this be sufficient? Is it worth taking a light trad rack as well?

3. What guidebooks? The Rockfax ones seem good but seeing as we're not too sure where we're going yet, we're open to recommendations!

4. Is it ok to camp in the hills? Any access laws to be aware of? LNT obviously.

5. We're going in mid-Jan. Is it fair to expect good weather and climbing?

6. Lastly, can anyone recommend any beautiful quiet beaches to visit, or worthwhile scrambles/walks etc.

I've read a few articles on here already, but am looking for a few specific pointers. Thank you!
Darron - on 05 Dec 2012
In reply to NottsRich:
Watch out for the car hire. At that price there will most likely be a significant excess which you would be wise to insure against. Don't do this at the airport but consider taking out a premium before you leave (google car hire excess insurance. About £16 /week). They may also charge you for a full tank of very expensive fuel and you take it back empty. Headline cost for my car hire in Oct was £70 but the actual cost was £166 (that does include the tank of fuel of course). Read the small print - particularly re excess
NottsRich on 05 Dec 2012
In reply to Darron: Good point, thanks. That price I said did actually include their top level insurance cover, i.e. equivalent to fully comp rather than TPFT. I didn't know about the fuel thing. I thought they would normally supply the car full, or just record the fuel level. You just had to bring it back in the same condition. Or am I missing something here? Thanks anyway.
Tom Last - on 05 Dec 2012
In reply to NottsRich:

Hey Rich.

Cala Moraig (near Moraira) I think it's called. That's a nice beach, amazing big cliffs and some DWS although I guess it'll be pretty cold.
Mark Bull - on 05 Dec 2012
In reply to NottsRich:

I would take a couple more quickdraws with you. 60m will be fine for most routes, though abbing off multipitch stuff would be simpler with a second rope. The Rockfax guide should have plenty to keep you entertained: it also indicates routes requiring a trad rack. You should consider carrying head torches if you are doing multipitch in Jan: it gets dark early and quickly! There are some topos of scrambles available from the Orange House website: you need to register but they are free. The Cabezon d'Oro near Alicante is a very pleasant walk, which can combined with a visit to the show cave at the bottom.
STWright - on 05 Dec 2012
In reply to NottsRich:

The routes near Calpe will keep you amused for days, excellent climbing and right by the coast. Further in land Echo Valley is also very good but some routes will require a trad rack.

A couple more QDs as the routes are well bolted and I found my draws being eaten up quickly but if you are confident you can always run stuff out. And I would take two ropes if you can, makes abseiling much quicker and means more routes!

The new Rockfax guide is by far the best, and the Orange house also has guides for Via Ferrata if you have time, which I can assure you are very good.

Take some small pieces of warm kit, in the afternoon it can get a little chilly but overall should be very pleasant weather.

Have a great time, it's certainly a place I would recommend to any climber.
Matt Smith - on 05 Dec 2012
In reply to NottsRich:
In terms of climbing areas I would agree with above comments and say Calpe would keep you occupied for weeks !!
If you want a good multi pitch climbing venue look no further than the Penon D'Ifach (Calpe), a particular route that springs to mind is Diedro USBA ( amazing 5+ route.
A worthwhile scramble would be the Bernia ridge, just inland from Calpe.
You can probably pick up a cheap rockfax guide nowadays and would say its worth getting.
Have a great time !!
Sam Mayfield - on 06 Dec 2012
In reply to NottsRich:

Car hire companies WILL charge you for a full tank and last week some guys here paid 95 euros for an Astra! Just another way to charge you!

Wild camping is fine as long as you take away tent each day, Mid Jan we could have snow so you could find it cold, we had snow earlier this week and then winds made it baltic, thank goodness today to warmer and no wind!

Rockfax is out of print until end Jan at earlist, but if you only come for a few days you can make do without if you research enough first.

As someone already mentioned we have free topos etc on our website sam@t... if you want the password.

Sam Orange
David Rose - on 06 Dec 2012
In reply to NottsRich: I think the Penon is overrated. Diedro Ubsa is a long but in my view not very good route, and some of the rock is less than perfect. For multiptch, I would go inland near Benidorm for the Puig Campana, so long as it is not too cold.
bobtheclimber - on 06 Dec 2012
In reply to NottsRich: marion in sella is a cracking route

snoop6060 - on 06 Dec 2012
In reply to NottsRich:

Think it's a bit further out than benidorm, but leyva is a cracking wall, 200m -250m. Flat 60min approach. It's an amazing crag, and the big routes are tightly bolted. They were being replaced when we were there last year. We did a 5 pitch 6b that was ace, and pretty much unbroken for its full length. It's also south facing, so will get a fair bit of sunny. Good if its a bit chilly.
snoop6060 - on 06 Dec 2012
In reply to snoop6060:

Actually, just checking, leyva is a long way from benidorm and more like 150m high. But it's defo woth making the trek, there is a fair few discreet camping spots near the crag. And it's a beautiful place.
Darron - on 06 Dec 2012
In reply to NottsRich:

Sorry to labour the point but the 'fully comp' is not the point. Check what the excess is - you will have to pay this even if you are fully comp and it is usually 600 - 1500 Euros!
You will still ahve to pay the excess if you take out insurance in the UK but can claim it back. The UK insurance will cover you for tyres and glass too which the fully comp will not.
It's a minefield out there!
NottsRich on 06 Dec 2012
Thanks for the emphasis on car hire excess. Last time I hired a car was 3/4 years ago in France and it was more like £300 for the week with minimal excess. Things must've changed a bit since then! I'll look into it.

Regarding the ropes, the choices I've got can be a combination of 2 x 8.5mm 50m half ropes and an 11mm 60m single. Would a 60m single and 50m 'tag line' be the best option? Or just climbing on halves?

Thanks for the crag/route suggestions everyone. A bit concerned about the snow comment though!
Sam Mayfield - on 07 Dec 2012
In reply to NottsRich:

As I said we had snow last week and with the wind it was truly baltic, just because we are Southern Spain don,t expect to be warm at night.

That's why people like to camp here as they come into the main house at night and sit in front of the fire and get to cook in the outdoor kitchen which is a tad warmer than outside.

Sam Orange

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