/ Winter Climbing Trip
Earlier this year I posted a thread about where I should go for a spring climbing trip. Finale got suggested, we did it and it was awesome so I'm going to see if the same magic can help me out again...
Me and my other half are planning a week away in the second week of December, we're looking for a sport destination (sorry, never climbed any trad at all) where the weather will be nice and warm and not rainy (though we appreciate that everywhere has some chance of rain), lots of routes in the 6's and below and a bit of easy multi pitch would be lovely.
Ideally we'd like to go somewhere that has good food and is a nice interesting place to be in case it is raining...
It'd be nice to go somewhere new, so not Sardinia, Mallorca, Finale or Kalymnos all of which we've done recently.
We're thinking Costa Blanca (where would be a good place to stay, with plenty of bars and restaurants? Please don't say Benidorm), Sicily (is there a guide book out though?) or El Chorro (looks like the village might be a bit dull if we're not climbing?).
However, totally open to suggestions!
The San Vito guidebook is pretty good and the climbing there is excellent at those grades. I would however expect a lot of the restaurants in the town to be shut at that time of year. For what it's worth my mates (and I) reckoned I could do a better job of catering for 17 than any of the restaurants we visited in mid december which I reckoned I achieved.
Calpe is ok, quite a lot better than Benidorm and the climbing in the area is brilliant. I've only ever gone out as part of a larger group, however half of the CC members who have reached pension age seem to move out there for a couple of months in the winter so there must be stuff to do there.
Thanks for this!
I’ll check out the San Vito guidebook. I know what you mean about being somewhere out of season when the restaurant choice is pretty much Hobson’s choice...
i was thinking Calpe looked the best bet if we do go to Costa Blanca, looks ok?!
Costa Blanca is exactly what you are looking for. As a base you have 3 main options:
Benidorm, don't discount this on reputation, most who reluctantly go there end up enjoying it. Climb during the day and dip your toe, foot, leg, whole body in the nonsense at night. Accommodation is cheap and you can eat and drink very cheaply at anytime of day or night.
Calpe, where the middle classes stay to look down their noses at Benidorm. Not quite so cheap, less daftness. The Arenal bar on the sea front fills up with brit climbers at teatime.
Villages, very quiet and away from it all. Limited bar/restaurant provision.
Bear in mind that it is winter so gets dark early. Evening entertainment can be beneficial
Take your choice, all have their ups and downs
Forgot to add, if you do go for Calpe, take care with your location. Many villas are miles away from the town or even a bar/restaurant. This is fine if it is what you are after but could be a nasty surprise if unaware.
The Olive Branch serves the El Chorro climbing well, but a hire car is required to access entertainment other than climbing & socialising. The Orange House in Finestrat (a better village) does the same function for the Costa Blanca. Both offer a range of accommodation & often have a good group of people to mix with
This thread isn't about winter climbing at all!
I would suggest Leonidio. Lots of climbing and cheap Greek food, what more can you ask for?
A good suggestion but the long drive eats into your climbing time, better for a fortnight?
I have heard good things about Turkey, geybrayaki? Similar travel time to Costa blanca, in that you get half a days climbing each airport day.
The experiences I can provide are all from christmas time so might be comparable ...
In south of France good winter suggestions are
- the triangle Seynes - Russan - Collias
- the Alpilles south of Avignon (Orgon, Aureille, Fontvielle)
- La Turbie & surroundings
- la Clape & the Perpignan area
Don't dismiss Benidorm so easily. Take an apartment, which by the way will cost next to nothing, in walking distance of the old town. Wandering through it in the evenings is a delight in December when you won't hear any English, German, Dutch or other tourist languages spoken (they're all on the fleshpots side of town) but just get immersed in Spanish locals family nights out moving from tapas bar to tapas bar or restaurants proper and plenty of them. We've been doing it mid December for years. Parking is OK and getting out of town to the crags is a doddle.
We've alternated with Calpe which is different but also a good place with lots open even in mid Winter. Ensure you're accommodation is near town however - a few hundred yards West of the Penon d'Ifach will be OK - or you'll waste a lot of drinking time walking in and out of town!
In our many December trips we've had the odd rainy day but mostly the weather's great for climbing and the choice of 5s and 6s both single and multi-pitch is endless - some of the multi pitch benefit from the odd nut between the bolts by the way. And don't forget the walks, ridge scrambles, via ferrate and canyon descents for variety - the place is wonderful. Just about to plan for this year - maybe see you there?
Geyikbairi near Antalia is really good!
Chullila near Valencia.
I’ve always stayed in calpe within staggering distance of the German brewpub(I do go climbing as well!) last year we ended up in octoberfest week and the calpe beer festival and still got climbing.
anyway, plenty of affordable apartments, big supermarkets, cheap places to eat and lots of climbing nearby. I think the toll motorway from Alicante might be free now as well which really speeds up getting places.
Just got back from Leonidio. The driving time is no worse than some other destinations. I would be more worried about how active the tufas are after rain, and even then there are masses to go after
Benidorm is marvellous out of season. Got full board in a 5 star hotel for about £40 £50 a room just next to the old town. In a few minutes you were on the outskirts. And at least at night it could be lively, I find the spanish villages etc a bit depressing in winter.
Good call about the tufas. I guess the drive time depends on whether you are prepared to sacrifice a climbing day or not.
Lake District-based runner Kim Collison has set a new speed record on the Bob Graham Round in winter. Kim completed the round in just 15 hours 47 minutes, knocking a big chunk from the previous fastest winter time of 18:18 set by Jim Mann in 2013.