Leyva – Carnaval time!

The main cliff at Leyva, Pared Sur, is one of the most impressive bits of rock in southern Spain – 150m high and about a mile wide, it’s position aloft the Sierra Espuña means it’s clearly visible from the main motorway linking the Costa del Sol to the Costa Blanca. We’d visited the Leyva valley a few times but had always had to content ourselves with the single pitch sectors (which are also worthwhile https://rockaroundtheworld.co.uk/2017/02/08/leyva/ ) with high winds and /or low temperatures putting the big routes out of the reckoning.

With temperatures nudging into the 20s and a breathless forecast, for once it looked like we’d got ourselves into the right place at the right time.

The first couple of km of the approach are on a forest track, closed to vehicles but not too much of a chore as you are walking through gorgeous pine woods. There’s a whole network of trails here if you don’t fancy the climbing:

After 40mins or so you start to get a great view of the Pared Sur and when you spot the terrace wall on your right (unmissable once you know what you are looking for – see photo below) there’s an obvious path up through the scree (a bit of a grungy slog but only 15mins)

Whether to carry a small sack for snacks and water, or go light? Decisions, decisions… Here’s Helen’s fully-loaded multi-pitch chalkbag – best of both worlds!

Fab views over the Murcia flat lands to the Med.

Many of the routes have a handy aluminium plaque with a name. Sadly, our chosen route, Carnaval, just had a stump where the plaque had been, but it’s a very obvious line and if you want to be sure it’s a few metres left of…

… which is a phenomenal looking 7b. One for a future visit with a rope-gun in tow!

As it is, Carnaval is a more amenable 6a+/b (local guides give 6b and it’s probably fair for just a few out-of-character moves at the start of pitch 2. Here’s me halfway up P1, a 35m 6a.

Helen following P1

… and on the stance at the end of P3

The top is slightly surreal, as you go straight from the vertical to the horizontal of a narrow grass-topped ridge, with a spectacular vista all around.

So far, so good – four excellent pitches of varied climbing, with a “mountain feel” but good quality fixed gear (certainly not over-bolted with perhaps a dozen clips in 35m, but I didn’t feel the need to use the rack of nuts that Rockfax suggests – there seems to have been a lot of recent gear replacement in evidence across the whole crag).

Now all we needed to do was get down… We’d decided not to lug our 60m half rope along with our 80m sports rope, and were too lazy to walk off, so we’d planned a slightly risky strategy of using the abseil descent (and taking a few maillons and some tat just in case). Anyway, I’m pleased to report that we made the 3 raps comfortably on our “80m” rope (brand spanking new abseil stations), without any jiggery-pokery or abandoned gear (of course you do this at your own peril, rope lengths vary, tie a knot in the end etc etc!)

A fab multi-pitch adventure and one that had been on my to do list for a couple of decades!

2 responses to “Leyva – Carnaval time!

  1. Hi Dominic and Helen.
    I had a brilliant week there with Brian about 15 years ago.
    Went back years later with Geoff Alf and Andy and had another excellent week.Happy Days.

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