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
Walking in the Costa Blanca Mountains
There is plenty of excellent walking in the area. Many of the ancient
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
soul all day, only the wildlife; eagles, hoopoe, foxes, wild boar,
and the like roam the area. For route ideas check out the Costa
Blanca Mountain Friends website.
Climbing Near Pueblo Mascarat
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
are just a short drive away, as is the rocky headland of Peñón de Ifach at Calpe.
Canyoning in the Costa Blanca
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
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
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.
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.)
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.
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.