Another new (to us) shady mega-crag – Rincon Bello is hidden away up in the hinterland, 20km inland from Alicante and not far from the town of Petrer. Unlike many of the Costa Blanca crags, it’s in a stunning, peaceful setting, without a significant road or building in sight. As an added bonus, the crag is in a Area Recreativa, complete with a Zona de Acampada. Whilst strictly speaking this is for tent camping, the parking area makes for a stupendous van overnighting spot which seems to be tolerated, and comes with the bonus of adjacent toilets and picnic area.
The main crag looms over the parking (the even more impressive wall on the left of the photo below is either too chossy or too hard – one for the next generation!)
Anyway, the developed area is plenty intimidating enough – a central orange wall is home to a couple of dozen 30-40m 7s and 8s, and unusually is flanked by a few quality easier routes. It’s an obvious venue for another scorchio day in the mid 20s, and the locals are out in force; the only other non-Spanish climbers are Phil and Ali, who know a thing or two about picking a good crag. Great to bump into them having last caught up about 50km away but almost 2 years ago (apart from a chance encounter at Llanymynech between Lockdowns).
They recommended La Sabina, 6a+, as a quality warm-up that would certainly warm us up, and it did – excellent but not a giveaway!
Meanwhile, Ali was showing the locals a clean pair of heels with a stylish onsight of Santi Deluxe, 7a+
Here’s Phil topping out on the same route…
I took advantage of a run on their draws, and came up well short – there’s so much climbing! Super route though. I had a bit more success on Pandemia, a 40m 7a on the far right of the crag – very new judging by the name and the freshness of the rock – the lower half might look like a pile of builders rubble, but it’s fairly solid and the upper orange wall is really interesting. I foolishly ignored a tick mark and climbed myself into a cul-de-sac – easier using the big chalky jug!
Helen went on an adventurous quest up Diedro Iluminosis, V expo according to the guide!
Mommy Punky, 6a, was tougher but much better bolted!
We also did Purcelamos en Agost, a tremendous 32m 6b, as a warm-down – 3*s of anyone’s money, and maybe worth a +?
As well as the Sector Principal, there are a bunch of routes down at the bottom of the valley, either side of a small dam. I had a bit of a recce, and whilst they’re not as stunning as the main event, they’d be worth a look. Note – much better to access this area directly from the parking rather than bushwhack down from Sector Principal.