I'm currently enjoying a rest-day in our little apartment in Organya; a break from the stress of trying to redpoint Fisheye, 8c at Oliana - more on this later...
After returning from the sunny Greek island of Kalymnos in early November, normal service was resumed with steep indoor bouldering being the favoured medium of training this winter. However, barely seeing daylight from one week to the next was failing to keep the training psyche up, so a last minute trip was booked to the Orange House in Costa Blanca.
Day 1: Arrived in Alicante at midday and collected our hire car and drove straight to The Peñón de Ifach, where we kicked off proceedings with a quick ascent of "Costa Blanca" - a classic 6c+ multi-pitch sport route. This was a route I'd aspired to climb when I first visited the Costa Blanca in 2000 and had never gotten round to doing - suffice to say, it was great fun and the mega up-draft on the headwall made for some exciting climbing!
Day 2: The next day we went back to the Peñón to attempt our main objective - New Dimensions, a 7b multi-pitch. The day didn't start well when we tried following the "black bolts" as indicated in the guidebook and quested off up some distinctly serious terrain. Back on the floor after some nervous down-climbing, we found the right line 40ft to our left and set off again. However, the combination of sea grease and direct sun made for some super slippery conditions and after 10 metres or so I slumped on the rope. Dogging my way to the belay it became apparent I wouldn't have gotten much further as conditions deteriorated to the point I had to chalk up just to pull on a quick-draw!
We bailed! Reconsidered our options, and settled for sector Wildside where the earlier frustrations boiled over. Throwing myself at La Putita de Millau, 7c+/8a, on-sight. The initial tufa groove was awkward and slowed progress somewhat, but then I flowed up the headwall, reading the rock really well and having a thoroughly rewarding experience - a great compensation for the earlier disappointment.
Ken got his bouldery 7c done second go; setting a new personal best, so we headed to "WOK" and stuffed ourselves on the all you can eat Chinese buffet. There was some weird clientele; the fat white man with young Asian “companion”, the bi-lingual couple arguing loudly in both English and Dutch and of course, the bodybuilders there for a cheap protein hit!
Day 3; Back to Wildside for another 8a OS attempt - this time coming up short one bolt short of the chains on Mediterrano. I dispatched this quickly and Ken got hideously pumped on the 7b+ start.
Before too long it was time to rush to the airport, sink a quick beer and fly home; rock starvation sated, and ready to face some more indoor training.