Saturday, 28 January 2017

Costa Blanca v4.0

The one glimmer of hope this winter has been a Spanish trip of Costa Blanca B2B Albarracin, which was really a very pleasant experience. I went to Costa with Big Bob, the clue is in the name although we had separate bedrooms in our budget apartment, and I only fell off two routes using his unspeakably bad gigantalope beta. He'd already booked the time in CB but wasn't very keen because a previous trip had been characterised by polish, heat, and losing the will to live. I was desperate to get away and almost none of the many other climbers I know were available, but wasn't very keen as after 3 trips I thought I'd climbed out CB. It turns out that even in the old guidebook there's loads of crags I hadn't visited, and with careful choice we only had one warm afternoon and a grand total of 2 polished routes (one of which being a *** F6a+) in the whole trip.

I started the trip in possibly the most useless state I've ever started a trip: Woefully under-trained, the usual tweaked elbow, a less usual tweaked wrist, tweaked lower back from a crimpy rockover at GCC (what? how?), full up to the hair follicles with the manflu, and one blocked ear that didn't depressurise on landing in Alicante. So my goal was just to "feel a bit better" and  "climb some nice routes" (ugh how bumbly) and  I did both. The former came on a day when I persuaded Robert to climb in the sun given it was 10'c at midday at Bellus. Too warm for him (apparently there is someone worse than me for coping with the heat), but after failing on a F6b+ because I couldn't even think straight, I onsighted a half hour nap in the sun, did a couple of really nice grey slabs and on the hour bimble back to Calpe started to feel better instead of exhausted.

Fat, weak, ill, injured, what a knob. Regular readers will be pleased to hear the trousers didn't make it back alive.

First evening view from Altea Col. Obviously the illness is going to clear up rapidly, if not the fatness nor knobness.

The latter came throughout the trip, and what I lacked in tackling harder routes, I made up for in an unerring ability to choose awesome easier ones ;). Highlights included Arte Del Olvido at Sella Shady Side which was an absolutely massive pitch up an endless line of resting pockets, Gandalf at L'Ocaive which had an amazing continuously technical headwall miles above anything, and Espresso at Los Pinos which I'd backed off ill on our first full day and did pretty smoothly on our last day. And of course the mega Tuna Steak Of Glory - a huge slab at £9 a kilo from the supermarket, Salted, flash fried, and served on a bed of bulgar wheat, sliced swordfish (£12 a kilo), asparagus, with fresh mint and fresh lemon. If I'd paid £15+ in a restaurant for this I'd be happy.

   Kill it some more, just in case!

Best tick of the trip. Note the Amstel 0,0 - I'm trying. It was pretty bogging. San Miguel 0,0 is the one whilst in Espana.

There was even time in the long dark evenings for a spot of light cruising at a local plaza. This is a 1/28 scale WLToys P929 with an upgraded motor and my own LED lighting rig. It's the size of my hand and I clocked it at 23mph before Xmas.

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