Climbing, Walking, Mountaineering and Gorges in Costa Blanca

An outdoor "winter sun" playground

The apartment is superbly well placed for the mountains of Costa Blanca. With acres of hot dry rock, incredibly steep rocky ridges and amazing scenery the Costa Blanca has become a premier "Winter Sun" destination for the outdoor enthusiast. The whole winter season is good for walking and mountaineering as the area is dry, with remarkably stable weather. Spring, though, is the best time. With excellent sunshine levels, cool air temperatures and a mass of spring flowers it is one of the finest times of the Costa Blanca year. All of the pictures below were taken in April.

Walking the Costa Blanca Serra D'Aitana and Serra De Bernia

Costa Blanca Walking
Walking in the Costa Blanca Mountains

There is plenty of excellent walking in the area. Many of the ancient by ways and pack horse tracks are being repaired and re-opened, and as you travel away from the coast you will find areas where you will not see a soul all day, only the wildlife; eagles, hoopoe, foxes, wild boar, deer and the like roam the area. For route ideas check out the Costa Blanca Mountain Friends website.

Walking guides can be found on the Dux Books website at great prices as can the excellent 1:20,000 maps of the area.

Climbing Near Pueblo Mascarat

Costa Blanca Climing Serra de Toix
Toix sport route with
Mascarat Gorge in the background

If you want to rock climb in the Costa Blanca sunshine then the apartment cannot be better located. The amazing Mascarat Gorge is a short stroll away, offering huge multi-pitch limestone routes. 600m away is the popular Serra de Toix (pronounced toe-ish), again offering dazzling multi pitch trad routes alongside a wide range of bolted sport routes. Echo Valley and Ponoch are just a short drive away, as is the rocky headland of Pen de Ifach at Calpe.

The must have book is the Rock Fax guide to Costa Blanca
Don't believe me how good the climbing is? Checkout the ukclimbing.com Costa Blanca article and be amazed.

Canyoning in the Costa Blanca

Costa Blanca Canyoning
Abseiling a Waterfall on the Rio des Algar

Wow, is there a treat in store for you! If you have abseil (rappel) gear and a shortie wetsuit then you can enjoy the multitude of canyons that cut impossible slices through the mountains. There are reputedly 69 canyons, many equipped with abseil points. Some are dry and some wet. All offer a cool respite from the hot sun. (In winter/spring its wise to carry a woolly pulley). A gorge of just 800m length can take 3 to 5 hours to traverse. In only one canyon did we meet anyone else, and had some amazing days exploring these water sculpted wonders.

The only English language guide can be found on the Dux Books website, which is Canyoning by John Bull and covers 6 of the best canyons in the area.
If you don't have the kit or experience and want to hire a guide try http://www.aktive-life.com. The site is in Spanish, but they speak English well. (We met the owners in the Baranco del Infernio and they were really nice.)
For route descriptions check out the mountain friend's page.

Scrambling and Mountaineering

Costa Blanca Mountaineering and Scrambling
Serre De Bernia Ridge, a Limestone Knife Edge

Mountaineers waiting for the Alpine and Scottish summer season to start can play in the Costa Blanca mountains to keep fit. With a range of knife edge ridges, long scrambles and classic trad style rock routes you are guaranteed fun. We enjoyed the central section of the Bernia Ridge, which was seven hours of continuous scrambling with about four abseils required. Sun, dry rock and amazing views - no more wet days in Glen Brittle trapped in a wet tent!

There are a couple of online guides, one for the Bernia Ridge, and one for the Castellat Ridge.
Check out mountain friend's scrambling route guide as well.
The only other resource seems to be the here.
Unfortunately I couldn't find any English guides to the area.
The 1:20,000 maps of the area are a must.

Via Ferratas

Costa Blanca Via Ferrata
Steep via Ferrata at Ponoch

Its not over yet :-). If you're a via ferrata fan then there are a few via ferratas in the area. Only the one at Ponoch (Polop) is close to the apartment, but there are a few about an hour away North of Alicante. The Ponoch via ferrata is a "sport" ferrata. It is steep, long and strenuous. Also, unusually for a via ferrata, it requires two 30m abseils on the descent route (so a 60m rope is required. One abseil has 35m painted on the rock, but this is a lie.)

There are free pdf guides to some of the via ferratas on Ryan Glass' site here.

Snorkelling

You will need a day off to rest, so get your snorkelling gear and follow the apartment perimeter road East towards Serra de Toix, and take the first right turn between Oasis Beach Apartments I and II. At the dead end walk between the fences and follow the path to the beach. Excellent snorkelling can be found around the right hand side of the bay and towards the rocks that are washed by water where the cliffs swing to the right.

...and finally

My family and I rented the apartment from Andy specifically for the above. We don't (didn't) know him, and so you can class my comments as independent. Andy was a great guy to deal with, the apartment nice and spacious and well equiped for four, and the use of a car just what we needed. We had a great time and recommend both the apartment and Pueblo Mascarat as a base for you mountaineering fun! There's also plenty of accommodation near by if you are going as part of a larger group and need more bed space.

Images on this page © the Howie family collection.