Arrabida – Fenda

The Arrabida Natural Park has protected the entire coast from the kind of development you might expect from similarly blessed landscape in Spain, with only a couple of stretches of beach even accessible by road. One of these is at Portinho, where half a dozen small cafe bars dot the end of an immaculate beach. Judging by the amount of parking (sympathetically sited a few hundred metres away from the beach itself) this place must be rammed in summer, but we had it almost to ourselves. 

The crags of Fenda form a line above the bay, and from below they don’t look much. This is because, like an iceberg, you can only see the top fraction. Most of the climbing is hidden in a deep chasm giving a strangely subterranean feel to the place, and the “benefit” of shady belays in summer (not such a benefit in February though!) 

This also means that they take a fair bit of finding! We ended up at sectors  Carallon and Girofle mostly because that’s what we stumbled across (there’s easier access from above but warnings of car break-in). 

Anyway, the climbing is excellent, although very little below 7a on this sector. 

The couple of “easier” routes we did (I use the word in the context of most being 7b and up) were surprisingly outstanding – often these are scrappy, dirty afterthoughts or polished horror shows, but Verde Codigo Verde (6a+)… 

and Geracao Gri (6a+/b)… 

were both tremendous fun, covering wildly steep territory on very good holds. I also had a pretty decent stab at Cla do Bota-nova, 7b, and only just missed out on SPUF, 7a, which was nonetheless excellent.

Meanwhile, the views down to the beach served a timely reminder that if we wanted to catch the last of the rays outside one of the bars we’d better get a move on…

… Beer o’clock! 

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