Ambolo

The clifftops around the spectacular Cap de la Nau, beyond Xabia, are crammed with holiday properties, seemingly stuck on at random anywhere there’s a bit of non-vertical space – like decorations on a kid’s dream of a birthday cake. Some of these are utilitarian shoeboxes, but there are some seriously swanky pads – few more swanky than those around Torre Ambolo. You can only imagine their NIMBY bewilderment when local activists equipped a dozen sectors for climbing on the cliffs below, presumably with the support of the local officialdom as they’ve even erected a billboard with a comprehensive topo in the parking area.

Their loss is our gain, as the climbing is excellent and varied on the two sides of the headland (allowing for sun or shade at any time of day) and the setting is sublime!

On our first visit we were in sun-chasing mode, looking for a fairly gentle day, so the west-facing walls were ideal. Accessed down a series of concrete steps, you come to the first routes in a couple of minutes

… (actually the second group of routes – we skipped the stumpy 6m routes on sector Poca Gana). Sector Voodoo has a split personality – the slabby left side has half a dozen pleasant Vs and a 6a thrown in for good measure.

Helen on Lucas, 6a
Not a bad spot!

To the right just 50m or so, the crag takes on a different character with the steep tufa cave  (you can see both in the shot below).

Bamboya, 6a, has a really hard move to get established but then becomes juggy fun.

Fukushima, 6b/+ takes the tufa strewn left arete of the cave, with more jug hauling interspersed with a couple of tricker slippery moves to cross from one side of the tufa to the other. Here’s the view from inside the cave…

Dropping down another couple of flights of steps, you arrive at Sector Initiation. Helen lead the long, traddy-feeling No Tremoles, 30+m of 6a.

… Oh I do like to be beside the seaside!

With forecasted temperatures into the mid 20s for a few days, we returned a couple of days later to seek out shade on the east side. The approach is even shorter, skirting the glass-fenced sun-deck of a particularly fancy pad, you hop over a concrete wall and you are immediately on the cliff top.

A few iron rungs ease access to a fairly straightforward descent path (flip-floppable with care) and a world of flowstone steepness!

The main Canalobres wall is simply one of the most attractive bits of rock anywhere. Gently leaning (about 5m in 25m) it’s like a slice of Vienetta, laced with intricate swirling tufa wrinkles. Si Se Puede is the easiest line up the wall at 6b+, and maybe the best. A few steep pulls to get established then jug-city for 20m – sustained but never desperate.

Here’s me just catching the last of the sun
… and Helen lowering off to give you an idea of the steepness!

This is flanked by two contrasting 7as. To the right, Mar’s has a butch, bouldery start, after which it isn’t a lot harder than the 6b+. To the left, Samsara starts beguilingly but continues to steepen until throwing in a sting in the tail to clip the chain. Outstanding!

Opposite the main wall, a 30 ft flake of rock has fallen at a more amenable angle to form an enclosing wall. The rock is similarly featured (presumably the opposite side of an ancient cleft at some point in the past) so you can enjoy the flowstone experience on Vs. Here’s Helen…

… on the appropriately named

That which hides paradise…

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