Climbs 222
Rocktype Limestone
Altitude 523m a.s.l
Faces SE

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Motorhead, 6c Echo Valley © Chris Craggs

Crag features

The Vall de Guardar (previously called Echo Valley with crags Echo 1, Echo 2, Castillo and Echo Playa) is the impressive rocky defile that cuts deep into the mountains behind the bulk of the Ponoch. Viewed from a distance, the walls here are easy to miss in comparison to the mass of other rock around. Viewed from close-up you realise that these are major faces with some impressive steep rock in a beautiful setting. The 6 separate buttresses offer both trad and sport routes. The trad climbing is mostly on the longer multi-pitch routes on Aran de Batistot (Echo 2), Paret del Castellet and El Castellet, and these routes require the carrying of a decent-sized rack of gear and double ropes. With the exception of Paret del Castellet, the other crags all have plenty of decent sport routes across the grades including some relatively easy routes on Echo 1.5 and Paret de la Bassa. Further up the valley are more huge cliffs that have also been developed with long routes including Les Penyes que Parlen, Col Lama and the Haunted Walls. These areas are not described in this guidebook - check for more information.

Paret de la Bassa is the lowest cliff and is sheltered; it goes into the shade in the afternoon. Paret del Castellet and El Castellet both face south and get all the sun that is going. The lower walls are sheltered from the cold north winds. Aran de Batistot is in the sun until mid afternoon, after this it can become chilly, especially in the winter. In hot weather it makes a good venue for late afternoons and evenings. None of the crags can be considered reliable wet weather venues but, if the wind is blowing from the west then the central section of Aran de Batistot can stay dry.

Approach notes

From the coast, drive up towards Polop then take the ring road (signed 'Guadalest'). Turn left at the fifth roundabout (olive trees) signed 'Cami'. The cliffs are arranged on the right-hand side of the concrete track as you drive up the valley, Paret de la Bassa, Paret del Castellet, El Castellet, Echo 1.5 and Aran de Batistot. Parking is tricky for the Castellet crags - don't obstruct access up the road, it can be surprisingly busy.

Access Advice

There is a "new build" and metal fence preventing access to Paret de la Bassa directly across the terrace as described in the app. The fence stops immediately opposite the NW corner of the reservoir and access can be gained by walking through the woods.

Crag X: there are 2 new routes on the main crag, to the R of those in the latest Rockfax guide; about 5 plus, then 5 (the latter is a guess). On the lower pinnacle there are 3 new routes between L Arete and R Arete: a big chimney (?), a face (?), the crack in the prow L of R arete (about 6a+) and there is a new variation chimney start to R Arete also. The loose blocks mentioned already lead to a seriously blocky belay on R Arete, but the lower belay is sound.
John H Bull - 16/Dec/14
Visited the sector2 (top car park) 02/01/2014 and tried several routes. Left confused, dissapointed but intrigued. There's some good climbing here, but route definition is poor, whether by topography or grade. Did 2 combos of Gloria / Dreammaker which didn't fit the topo description.
LeeWood - 04/Jan/14
Just back from an afternoon at 'Crag X' as detailed in the Rockfax guide. Warmed up on the 3+'s (not done many this trip as usually they're uninterestingly easy). These required quite a bit of thought and very hard for the grade. Moved onto the 4 just to the left (por encima de todo), this was about the same difficulty and all 3 climbs felt 4+ Then tried 'Pass the Dutchy' 6a - yes I should have known better given the very steep and blank look of the rock on this one. The first 5 metres or so give steady climbing at the grade and bolts always nearby. The move by the 3rd bolt felt absolutely desperate and after many attempts and a few little falls my arms were so wasted I had to call it a day and retreat. The step up seems to be a high rock over with ok handholds at foot level but a blank wall above. Maybe I was missing something. Certainly didn't feel like 6a. Fingers no stinging lots from the super sharp rock. We finished with 'Right arete' 5 - this is on the massive boulder below the main crag. Good, steep climbing until the final moves where it all gets very loose feeling. Neither of us was willing to commit to the top moves for fear of bringing down loads of rock so bailed on this too. Shame as the rest of this route is really good.
Mark Eddy - 27/Dec/13
There're five new routes in Castillo Lower area; they are located beetwen routes "El Minxto" and "Che, pero com, pero qui"... From left to right I felt like... 1.- 6a+, 17m 2.- 6b/+, 20m 3.- 5b, 20m 4.- 5c, 15m 5.- 6a, 15m If somebody knows please share info Tnks
Dave Sr - 01/Dec/13
Hi MelH, I wonder, if you really love climbing, or if you really know what you are talking about? I think the answer is NO. The spot is pretty, quiet, wild sights and walls, many routes near the car, do you need more?...climbing is much more than the grade of the routes...don't you... if the grades seems you hard, work and train harder... in fact, the grades of this crag, are well known hereabouts, like mild at the grade in mostly of the routes, so don't cry and fight.
Dave Sr - 28/Mar/12
Echo Playa should be renamed Echo Sandbag. Almost every route we tried (apart from the grade 4+ felt hard for the grade)
MelH - 05/Apr/11
Echo Playa - Route names on rock don't match Rockfax guide. Good place to hide form sun and nice routes.
krikoman - 12/Oct/09
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