Three sides of Cabeçonet a.k.a. Busot

This was a return trip to this fine set of crags above the town of Busot (which we first visited in 2018) now armed with the definitive CB guidebook (rather than a ragtag of piecemeal web pages). Here are links to the previous forays, which include some parking and approach beta, though all the paths are better defined now:

Busot sector Tocayo

Busot – Lower Tier 

Our first trip to visit the upper Tocayo sectors got slightly sidetracked when we decided to give them a bit more time to come into the sun…

Tocayo from the car park – an early team just about visible before the sun comes round.

… by exploring the new Cantera sectors on the back of the same hill (accessed by the same path up to Casteliana Col from where a helpful sign points to the well-cairned path:

As promised, the lower / baja crag comes into view fairly quickly…

… and it’s a relief to note that the Cantera title (Quarry) doesn’t refer to the crag itself, but to the view:

… I’ve seen worse quarries (though if you visit midweek you might want to make the most of the 2pm to 3pm lunch break to enjoy some tranquility when the distant but invasive noise of machinery is muted). 18 routes from IVs to 7s and mostly 6a/b – we were drawn by the stonking corner crack line right up the middle:

Helen also did the adjacent Pepe El Rubio, also 6a. There’s more that looks worth coming back for, including a couple of thin looking 7s on the LHS, but we decided to continue our exploration leftwards and upwards to Cantera Alta:

Another dozen or so routes at a similar grade range, but rather disappointing rock – a rambling lower band topped off by a crumbly upper band. I ignored the obvious evidence and put aside my better judgement to try Ricky Returns, 6c+/7a – an early contender for the worst route of the trip!

Happily it’s a very short hop over the top of the hill to lead you around to Tocayo…

… Where we bumped into Tristan (again), Hanna, Paul and Guy who were good company. The quality of the rock architecture increases considerably on turning the corner, but so did the temperature – it was scorchio! I chose poorly and tried Jaguerman, 7a. It starts up some non-holds crammed in between two adjacent lines from which its bolts could be clipped. I ended up using most of the holds on Morapio, 6c+, up to the excellent sit-down rest in a cave…

… after which the climbing is more independent and easier.

Helen did the outstanding Que Vienen Las Palas, 6a+ (which has the last couple of bolts missing, making for an exciting exit to the loweroff on its left).

Meanwhile, Hanna had put the clips in a much better 7a – Retorno a la Cordura:

… and was kind enough to let me use them – just as well, as there’s no way I’d have scraped my way up without them! Fab route though.

Photo courtesy of Tristan

Getting towards sundown…

… with Hanna just about visible on the classic offwidth corner crack of La Raja de la Graja, 6b

A few days later and the weather has taken a turn for the worse. Our first plan was to check out the extraordinary looking seacliff of Sierra Helada, 250m above the Med just a kilometer from downtown Benidorm…

At least the “crag closed” sign was at the start of the approach walk, avoiding a 40mins wasted round trip (but not a similar time crawling through Benidorm). We’ll be keeping an eye on https://m.facebook.com/Costa-Blanca-Climbs-101789698426146/ for news of hopefully a favourable resolution on our next visit – the crag sounds amazing!

Instead we decided to revisit the lower Cabeçonet Jabugo (named after its “unmistakable” resemblance to a leg of ham). Not too promising on the approach, but it’s Saturday and there are a couple of Spanish teams braving the cold.

We join them at Sector Circo, which is a slightly dish-shaped wall of steep, smooth rock offering a modicum of shelter.

I had a cunning plan to warm up on La Iberica, 6b+, which would also give me the chance to have a look at the adjacent 7a, Vionse, on the way down…

Thin and crimpy from the off, I decided to bail onto the 6a+ to the side rather than risk a finger injury in the cold, only to discover that I’d started up the 7a by mistake in the first place. Doh! Managed to get the bit I’d escaped on a top rope but didn’t have the heart for a lead effort – in fairness the weather was hardly conducive…

Time for an early finish after a somewhat unproductive day – but You Either Climbed Today Or You Didn’t!

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