Monday, 29 January 2007

I must go down to the sea ...... again



Ever since Alan and Mick arrived (the UKC cabal) the weather had been cool, cloudy and showery - typical! We decided to make the most of the day (rain forecast for later which caught the team two pitches from the top of Diedro UBSA on the Penon, though no worries - a leader did emerge!) and headed for the coastal path at Les Rotes. Thirty minutes along the coast is the Cova Tallada (the chipped cave). A scrambley descent leads to a rock bay near sea level, unimpressive at first site though a short traverse and cave entrance leads to the quarry proper.
An amazing place of great antiquity, with the whole headland is riddled with carved out recesses, my guess is that the gritty rocky was quarried for millstones, a couple of remnants lying in a the pools being part of my evidence. It might make a good bouldering spot!

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

Montgoneering


With our house caught by the evening shadow of the Montgo (2444') it is hard to ignore it, the big lumpy hill that is visible out towards the sea as you travel between Calpe and Gandia. We had been for a peek at the start of the track at the weekend and then it was heaving - today we had it to ourselves.
A good gravel 'road' heads towards the mountain, where despite appearances a reasonable path zigzagged up the face before heading out right to outflank the band of cliffs. Back left to the narrow ridge where the views opened out to the south and onto the top, where a biting north west wind greeted us. When we had been on Segaria four days ago it had been 25 degrees, today was 12! The views included Ibiza 80 miles to the east and a looong way up the coast northwards.


A small walled shelter gave us enough relief from the wind to enjoy out butties and take in the panorama - superb.

Then is was back out of the wind and a steady descent, our pad was visible far below, still catching the afternoon sun.

Friday, 19 January 2007

No Big Segaria


The hottest day so far seemed like a good choice for flogging up to the top of the Sierra Segaria. From the parking at the Segaria Country Park we managed to lose the track a time or two despite the way-marking coloured spots. The steep gully leading to the ridge was better, with a an easy-to-follow track and from the summit (c1500ft) the views were superb in all directions. An eagle flew by, being mobbed by a pair of ravens that were half its size. We had a long break on top and passed the time by pulling the cactus spines out of our legs and having a late lunch.

The descent was easier, and we manages to stay with the path this time, arriving back at the car (26 degrees) a mountain biker came by - the first soul we had seen all day.

Monday, 15 January 2007

Roman the area


Exploring the local area has provided a pleasant break from working on a number of projects (they are the "I could tell you, but then I would have to kill you" type of thing), and the walks count as the daily bout of exercise.

Most interesting was the Denia area, wandering along the rocky shore we found some deep cuttings running inland. Turns out they were dug (Roman times or thereabouts) so as to flood a low lying area just inland to create salt-pans. The salt was used to cure fish which was exported round the empire - 2000 years on they channels are still in remarkable condition. The stone was also quarried for building, judging by their extent, they were busy guys!

Wednesday, 10 January 2007

.......and the sun still shines.


Four days and no posts? Well we mostly have been climbing - as long as that sun keeps shining (well at least until Colin goes home) though we did have a day off on Sunday - day of rest and all that. The superb beaches to the north of Denia were deserted despite it being the weekend.

Then it was Bellus (hot) Alcalali (more new routes) and today, back to Guadalest to see what the game was - nobody there, no signs
indication that you should not climb, more new routes, access paths improved, looks fine to me!

Saturday, 6 January 2007

Variety is .....



Fancying something a little different in an attempt to rest tired fingers we thought we have a look at the recently installed Via Ferrate on the Ponoch. A twenty minute walk from the high parking gets you to the foot of a fine pillar, well equipped with metal-work and soaring skywards. There were a couple of teams ahead of us, but they were moving steadily so we set off in hot pursuit.
It was quite strenuous work, but the whole thing is very well organised, we didn't have 'proper' via fearrata gear but managed well enough with a couple of slings each. A cool wind sighed across the pillar, and wraiths of cloud streamed off the summit of Ponoch, encouraging us to keep moving.
800 feet of ascent saw us at the top of the pillar (42 minutes!) where a horizontal path leads rightwards (the descent route from Via Valencianos) following a a good track and some signs. A looping descent gains the upper of two abseils, and a rapid return to base - excellent stuff.

Friday, 5 January 2007

Hot Rocks


After the unsettled start it has turned out to be hot and clear for for over 12 days now. Colin has been keeping me on my toes, with visits to El Picayo - a big crag over near Montesa, and Bovedon, a huge cave near Gandia with some of the hardest routes in the area - a venue only for the seriously strong! I sent him up the Montgo yesterday so we got a rest day!

Monday, 1 January 2007

Feliz Año Nuev


Happy New Year. Decided on half a day at Alcalali - it was hot and surprisingly busy, I thought all the holiday makers would have gone home by now but it appears not!
Did a trio of Richard Davies new routes (Colin on the sharp end!) and managed to under-grade every one by a couple of notches which was nice, at least one of us is climbing well! All were excellent, good climbing and well bolted.
Then it was back to the pad to catch the last of the sunshine.

Still Here, Still Waiting

Graham on a 6b+ at Sit Down Buttress  Four weeks ago today we hopped aboard the Zeebrugge to Hull ferry - four weeks back in Sheffield t...