Unfortunately we didn’t arrive in the Costa Blanca to be greeted by the expected sunshine, instead we arrived to a slightly damp day. We bailed on Sella due to heavy rain and instead we managed to climb a short multi pitch sport route and another uninspiring single pitch route at Sierra de Toix. Thankfully the second morning was significantly better and we woke up to a cloudless sky.
We decided to head to the impressive Mascarat gorge to climb a classic multi pitch pseudo-sport route called Llobet/Bertomeu. The guidebook said that you needed to take a small rack and graded it at HVS, it turns out that a small rack really meant a single set of nuts and a few cams as the climb was fairly well bolted for the most part.
Walking up the gorge in the morning was impressive with the steep walls of the gorge towering above you with the spectacular bridges high above. After a bit of a slog up to the road level we were soon on the old bridge and at the start of our climb. As you start off a bridge it is a bit of an exposure shock as suddenly the cliff drops away into the gorge.
The first three pitches were mainly an approach to the main climb via a natural curving ridge line. The second pitch is harder than the guidebook description if you follow the bolts, the old natural line is a meter or so left and looked much easier. As we had a relaxed start we got to the base of the main wall just before lunch, so decided to enjoy a relaxed lunch in the sun while sat on easy ground, rather than later on at an uncomfortable belay.
The next three pitches were outstanding, just a bit of a shame about all the bolts! The first heading up a corner before stepping out onto the face and climbing perfect cracks with excellent pockets to help all the way up to a large horizontal weakness. The crux pitch was a sustained corner which was graded at 5+, the climbing up this was excellent but was unfortunately spoiled due to being extremely polished, even by Avon standards! It was probably more like 6a than 5+ with all the polish.
The final main pitch followed a line of weakness up a wall to a corner before stepping right across an improbable face, protected by some rusty pegs which made me feel right at home! After a few moves it was back to easy ground and a belay which was based on ancient bolts, I decided to use some cams in the base of the overhang above!
One final easy pitch lead to the top after a short but exposed traverse into the final corner. It was great to relax in the sun at the top of the route while admiring the view of the Penon de Ifach and Sierra de Toix before starting the long descent back down rough terrain to the road.