Vallada – Paratge Ermites

We visited Vallada a couple of years ago on a chilly day and left impressed – the sign-off line on the blog post was: “plenty to come back for”… and there certainly is! It’s an absolutely cracking crag in a very nice town in the hinterlands of Valencia, well away from the fleshpots on the coast.
There’s a hermitage and picnic area, and van camping seems to be tolerated (there’s a 3 Euro fee for all-day parking).We caught up with Justin and Chris who’d more or less done for the day when we arrived from Leyva… … but were kind enough to give me a belay on a couple of routes, which turned out to be near-miss 7as: Abre los Ojos (followed chalk out left into a cul-de-sac when easier climbing leads out right) and Solo Para tus Ojos (grabbed a draw to clip off the wet flake at the crux).  😦
After an enjoyable evening of socialising and banter about climbing and van conversion with Justin, Chris, Phil and Ali, we could survey the crag in all its sunny glory the following morning. Toasty to start with, as the crag enjoys morning sun before slipping into the shade around 1ish (perhaps the perfect combo?)I had another 7a heartbreak (which turned out to be 7a+) on Maximo Riesgo, which is a stupendous tufa line up the centre left of the crag. I’d done the crux moves off a sharp mono and then picked the wrong hold on the headwall – bu@@er! Here’s one of a team of three friendly Valencian lads about 10m below the crux. Further left there’s a striking orange wall (contrasting with the tufa to the right). Here’s Helen on Chip y Chop, 6c and Justin on Armagedon, 6c+Further left again (just visible in upper shot above) is a steep grey wall of somewhat funky rock – I managed to do Cluteus Maximus to get the 7a ticks back on track, but I’d have to say that was the route’s only redeeming feature.
There are another couple of excellent looking sectors further up the hillside, so once again: more to come back for!