Placing a Bolt

 

Trevor Massiah - Placing a Bolt_Professional Mountaineer Summer 2017

Trevor Massiah - Placing a Bolt_Professional Mountaineer Summer 2017

Published in The Professional Mountaineer – Summer 2017

Words and Photos by Trevor Massiah

In the previous issue I looked at the lessons learned over the years from bolt placements and the advantages of titanium bolts over stainless steel glue-in bolts. Glue-in anchors that flex or deform can crack the resin, thus creating a crevice. Corrosion loves a crevice and this is therefore likely to shorten the working life of a plated steel or stainless steel anchor.

Here is some guidance for placing titanium bolts, gained from placing thousands over the years. At the time of writing the certified 8mm Eterna bolt (from Titan Climbing) appears to me to provide the best and most permanent solution, but the same placement principles apply to other ring bolts.

 

1. Before drilling, check that the intended bolt position is in good rock by listening for a solid ringing sound when it’s hit with a hammer. Choose a position that is a good distance away from cracks and edges. It is also worth considering how the gate on the bottom and top of the quick draw will sit against the rock.

2. To place the Eterna bolt, use a 14mm drill bit to drill a 10mm deep hole where you want the top shaft of the bolt to be. Then drill a series of holes as close as possible to each other, directly below. Each hole should be drilled a few mm less deep than the previous hole. A total of three pilot holes should be sufficient with a 14mm bit to spread along a 45mm line. Return to the original pilot hole and angle the drill bit onto the bottom lip of the hole then drill down at an angle, drilling out the gap between each hole until you are left with one vertical trench. The angle of the trench should suit the curve on the eye of the bolt.

Trenching/recessing the vertical back bar of the eye of the bolt can greatly increase both strength and performance. Martin Roberts of Titan carried out tests on trenched and non-trenched bolts. The results showed that the yield strength (load at which the bolt permanently deforms) increased by around 50% for bolts that were trenched i.e. from around 10~11kN to 15~16kN. The bolts deformed elastically (flexed under load and sprung back to their original shape when the load was relieved) at a low load around 4kN when not recessed but when recessed this load increased greatly to around 12~13kN. The typical service load is below those figures, so this greatly reduces the potential problem of fatigue.

 

3. Once the trench is finished, drill your hole for the shaft of the bolt at the top (where your original pilot hole was). The hole should be drilled at a 90 degree angle to the rock face. In normal circumstances this hole can be over-drilled by about 5 to 10mm.

 

On steep rock, over drilling can be problematic as the bolt can slide out of the hole. The Eterna bolt has a special design feature that allows for easier installation on steep rock: 

Tape the drill bit at 9.5cm and stop drilling when the tape is flush with the edge of the trench, flush with the rock. When placing the bolt gently tap it with a suitable hammer for the last 15mm for a tight interference fit. The last 15mm of the bolt is slightly over 15mm in diameter but will squeeze down then try to spring back once tapped into the 14mm hole, improving the grip.

Do not use a normal steel hammer as it will leave iron deposits on the titanium bolt and the iron will rust, which may cause corrosion issues with the titanium anchor itself. Either use a proper stainless steel climbing hammer, or a rubber or wooden mallet.

 

4. Check that the bolt fits easily into the hole: the vertical shoulder of the bolt should fit neatly into the trench. If any extra length is necessary, this can be achieved by drilling down on the bottom lip of the trench. The reason for the slot is to semi-recess the eye of the bolt to help ensure the strongest possible bolt installation for the given position. It also greatly reduces the effects of fatigue during normal use due to the increased stiffness. I always carry three bolts with me and check each one to allow for any slight variation in size.

5. It is vitally important that the hole and trench are clean, and free of any rock dust before proceeding any further. I use a Hilti wire hole brush (a Metolius brush or a shaved down hard tooth brush with the bristles cut short can also work well) and a manual Hilti blow pump for alternate brushing and blowing. Alternate between brushing and blowing until dust is no longer visible.

6. Use the epoxy resin as per the manufacturer’s instructions. I recommend the tried and tested Hilti HIT RE-500. Pure epoxy resin is often as hard if not harder than the rock it is being placed in, so the more glue you use the better. It will also provide a greater chance of a good seal from the rock and increased adhesion to the bolt.

 

It is important to express and discard three full trigger pumps as a precaution before gluing your first bolt. I usually express the three full-trigger pulls into a plastic bag on the ground and then make three test beads somewhere on the ground or on the rock. This allows you to check how the glue has cured when you return the next day. If the beads are soft there was a problem with the mix. (If starting a new tube high up, one pull of the trigger for each bead.)  The guns have an automated puncture system and one of the tubes is usually punctured slightly before the other leading to an uneven mix at the start. 

There is a balance between speed of curing vs. “going-off” within the nozzle, and times vary depending on temperature. In hot climates, you should have a good 20mins prior to the resin going off in the nozzle.

7. Insert the nozzle fully into the hole. Almost fill the hole with resin by pulling on the trigger gently while slowly withdrawing. Try to avoid creating any air pockets by only withdrawing the nozzle while resin is being expressed. Insert the bolt, slowly rotating it as you do so. If you feel any resistance it will be an air pocket, this is best solved by withdrawing the bolt 1-2cm and inserting again, you may hear a small popping sound when the airlock is broken.

8. Continue inserting the bolt until it sits neatly in the trench. Having an ice-lolly-type stick is useful for dealing with any glue that oozes from the hole (a good excuse for a Magnum!). This can be used to backfill the trench and tidy up at the end. You can also use them to scrape excess glue from the nozzle.

9. It is important that the bolt is not recessed so far that larger snapgates do not fit. I test this while drilling with a solid gate on the bolt before gluing. The inside of the bolt eye should be flush with the rock surface.

10. You should leave at least 24 hours before loading even in a hot climate, although the glue should be cured within 12hrs, this is also where the test beads you made before gluing are helpful. Hit them with a hammer; if they’re completely dry, hard and brittle, then the bolts will be good.

 

Trevor Massiah is a Mountaineering Instructor based in Spain and is the owner operator of Rock and Sun which runs climbing and bouldering courses and holidays in many parts of the world. He has been working in the outdoors for 33 years and has climbed extensively around the world. His favourite crags are Pembroke, Taipan wall and the Needles California. He has put up many routes – both trad and sport – in the UK, Thailand, Australia, China and India, and is currently involved in rebolting existing routes and developing new routes in Thailand and the Costa Blanca.

 

Posted in Bolting, Equipment Reviews | Comments Off

The Case for Resin Bolts

Case for resin bolts by Trevor Massiah - in Professional Mountaineer Spring 2017

Case for resin bolts by Trevor Massiah - in Professional Mountaineer Spring 2017

The Professional Mountaineer – Spring 2017

Words and Photos by Trevor Massiah

This article will look at why the use of resin bolts and anchors might be the best choice for sport climbing. It will also look at what might be the best materials to use and hope to share greater understanding of how they work and the choices available. Much of this has been learned through trial and error in addition to extensive research.

 

What are the advantages of resin anchors over expansion bolts?

  • No Spinning hangers.
  • No stress on rock due to expansion.
  • Better performance in softer rock types.
  • Less stress on bolt during installation. This reduces risk of stress corrosion cracking (SCC).
  • Expansion bolts are easy to over torque, which can result in premature failure. This can happen during installation or when a well-meaning climber attempts to tighten a loose or spinning hanger without a torque wrench.
  • Single component: this greatly reduces the risk of crevice and galvanic corrosion.
  • Reduces risk of hanger theft.
  • In the building industry, expansion bolt anchors are regarded as temporary fixings, with resin anchor bolts being used where a permanent fixing is required.

 

Having been involved in new routeing in Thailand since 1993 I’ve seen it go through some major changes, from rapid development into one of the world’s most popular sport climbing destinations in the early 90’s, to a dramatic slowdown as bolts started failing catastrophically. What were thought to be the best marine grade stainless steel expansion bolts would sometimes break under body weight less than a year after being placed!

A great deal has been written already about the tropical or marine environment and bolt corrosion. I do not intend to go into this in any great detail here but have included some links for those that are interested in gaining a better understanding of why and how certain rock types and environments can have a more aggressive corrosive effect on stainless steel, alloys and other metals than others than would be considered normal.

The tropical paradise of Thailand can be seen as a testing ground for climbing anchors. There does not seem to be a harsher environment for bolts than this one: if bolts can last in Thailand then they’ll work pretty much anywhere!

Once it had become apparent that even marine grade stainless steel expansion bolts would not work in Thailand, new route developers turned to glue-in bolts hoping that isolating the bolt from the rock and the greater surface area of the bolts versus that of a hanger would solve the problem. The results were mixed. A large variety of stainless steel glue-in bolts were used to rebolt existing routes and create new ones. It would take much longer for them to show signs of corrosion but in time even the best quality stainless glue-in bolts started to show worrying signs of corrosion and then failures started to occur. Unfortunately, the first round of rebolting was carried out with Hilti’s recommended RE-100 glue epoxy, but unbeknown to Hilti the cliffs in most Tropical locations suffer from a great deal of seepage during the monsoon season. RE-100epoxy is porous and not flexible enough. The ensuing cracking and shrinkage allowed water seeping through the rock to come into contact with the bolt. By the time we realised that the glue was a problematic weak link, hundreds of bolts had already been placed. When made aware of the problem, Hilti suggested using the RE-500. It is waterproof, can be used under water so also in wet conditions with minimal shrinkage, it is incredibly strong and should be good for 50 years or more. It is by far the best resin I’ve ever used.

At about the same time, an affordable source for titanium bolts had been discovered. Now there is much debate about other metals being as suitable for tropical or marine environments and it is not for me to suggest that anything other than titanium would be irresponsible but titanium bolts have been used in the Grand Cayman for more than 16 years and Thailand for a little over 13 years and are showing no signs of corrosion. The UIAA recently carried out some extensive research that led to the UIAA Safety commission recommending only the use of Titanium and high end ‘HRC’ alloys (6% Molybdenum stainless steel such as 1.4529, 254SMO) in these environments. They have also suggested that the expected life time of fixed protection in any environment should be a minimum of 50 years. It seems that the titanium bolts in combination with the RE-500 have the best chance of lasting a lifetime.

So where does this information leave us?

We have whole crags in places like Kalymnos being rebolted with stainless steel glue-in bolts less than 10 years after being developed. There is a reasonable chance that these routes will need rebolting again in 10 or 15 years. We have seen recent stainless steel glue-in bolt failures in Sardinia, multiple bodyweight failures in Taiwan of Petzl Collinox glued using RE-500 after less than 10 years, and Fixe anchor chain failures in the Costa Blanca. Some anchor failures and weld cracking have occurred at indoor and outdoor walls in both Germany and the UK. Perhaps we should take a longer term approach to equipping sport routes?

Maybe the pace of new route development will be slower due to increased cost, but the savings in rebolting could be enormous. Certified titanium bolts are now available from around £6.50 to £9 from Titan climbing, a Sheffield based company. This is not cheap when compared to expansion bolts, but they will probably last a lifetime if placed properly and with the correct glue. Pure epoxy resin can be purchased direct from Hilti or Titan climbing at a cost of around £16 per tube, which is enough to place about 25 bolts. A single pitch would cost approximately £75-£100 – even ignoring the safety advantages, surely at £2/year for a route anything else is a false economy?

In the next installment, I will share some of the lessons we have learned from placing thousands of bolts.

Trevor Massiah is a Mountaineering Instructor based in Spain and is the owner operator of Rock and Sun which runs climbing and bouldering courses and holidays in many parts of the world. He has been working in the outdoors for 33 years and has climbed extensively around the world. His favourite crags are Pembroke, Taipan wall and the Needles California. He has put up many routes – both trad and sport – in the UK, Thailand, Australia, China and India, and is currently involved in rebolting existing routes and developing new routes in Thailand and the Costa Blanca.

Further information

The UIAA has recently changed its advice on bolting in marine and tropical environments:

 

 

 

 

Posted in Bolting, Equipment Reviews, Spain, Thailand | Comments Off

Fontainebleau

Fontainebleau has always been on Rock & Sun’s agenda, but with a lack of available, good instructors in the area we had to turn so many of you who wanted to go bouldering away. That is: up until a year ago. Because that is when we found two amazing instructors: Sam & Amber. Since then, Rock & Sun offers a Bouldering Trip almost every weekend and many indoor boulderers have since found their way into the beautiful forest of Fontainebleau. Some have already been back for their second trip within that year!

Amber Thornton and Sam Hunter

Amber Thornton and Sam Hunter

To get an idea of what a Rock & Sun Bouldering trip in Fontainebleau with Sam & Amber could be like, please read what previous customers wrote about their experience.

 

Gethen, May 2017

“It almost feels unimaginative giving 5/5 on all points, but really, couldn’t be happier. Sam and Amber were fantastic; really wonderful to hang out with, incredibly good (and patient!) guides/coaches, and they successfully challenged many of my ‘gym climbing’ preconceptions, which I’m sure was the key to getting me trusting my feet enough to send a load of problems that I never would have had the courage to push through on my own. In fact, I’m not sure I would have ever stopped searching for alternate feet if it wasn’t for their absurd optimism about how good a foothold every minuscule pebble, invisible edge and frightening smear was!

And the weather! despite constant forecasts of rain, held out for the whole trip – I appreciate how well organised this was! ;)

As someone who’s been climbing indoors for a few years, it took some consideration whether to take the Rock and Sun trip or just to head down with a friend or two, hire a car and mats and explore. I can wholeheartedly say that going for the trip was the best climbing-related decision I’ve made so far. The adjustment to Font’s climbing style was infinitely easier with help than it would have been alone, and I did ten times more climbing than I think I would have done – both from Sam and Amber’s local knowledge, and all the encouragement and assistance!

Thanks so much :)

Talking through the beta of le Lepreux, at Eléphant

Talking through the beta of le Lepreux, at Eléphant

Laurence, April 2017

“Amber and Sam have a great knowledge of Fontainebleau. They were super friendly and struck the right balance between stretching comfort zones and low stress ingraining of good habits.
Would heartily recommend.”


Sini, March 2017

Sam and Amber were excellent coaches, and I had a great time with them. Both were reeeeally nice, smart, pleasant Company, and I felt that they really wanted to make my trip a great one and took care of me better than could have been expected.

Unfortunately it was raining both on Saturday and Sunday, so we couldn’t go bouldering outdoors as much as would have been ideal, but weather can’t really be helped, so that was OK. Besides, I did get great coaching also climbing indoors on Sunday, and it was nice to visit different areas on Saturday walking in forests and little villages :)

Sam providing a spot whilst Laurence navigates the slopers on a classic boulder at Rocher Saint-Germain

Sam providing a spot whilst Laurence navigates the slopers on a classic boulder at Rocher Saint-Germain

Mathias, October 2016

I had a really good time all days. Sam and Amber were fantastic guides and really friendly all time. It was two days with rain, but we went inside to climb one of the days so i could get some expertise tips even there.

Saturday and Sunday was sunny and really good with many hours of bouldering
and really good advice and tips how to boulder in the best way. The
boulders in the forest where amazing and Sam/Amber could realy find nice
boulders for everything I wanted to try.

I have learned a lot these past days and I can’t wait to start train all
new things. Hopefully i can train during the winter (inside) and get better
prepared for next year.

Thanks for everything and keep up this good work.”


Joe, September 2016

“Had an excellent time and Amber and Sam were fantastic in accommodating everyones skill levels and wishes as well as explaining all about Fontainebleau bouldering and techniques clearly.

From a holiday point of view, I was left wondering if a longer time which allows for days off to rest fingers (as skin left on fingertips seemed to be the main barrier to bouldering more and four days in a row was quite tough for that) would be preferable.

Overall a fantastic holiday!”

Amber talking to Ana about how to tackle a particular boulder problem, discussing the options for particular foot and hand placements that would allow the optimum and (more appropriately to Fontainebleau...) most elegant solution

Amber talking to Ana about how to tackle a particular boulder problem, discussing the options for particular foot and hand placements that would allow the optimum and (more appropriately to Fontainebleau...) most elegant solution

Ana, September 2016

“I had an amazing time! Sam and Amber made this trip fun, full of very detailed and yet easy to follow instructions on improving my technique. I would recommend Sam and Amber as well as Rock and Sun to anybody who is planning to spend a weekend in Fontainebleau. Thank you so much for arranging it! I am already looking forward to coming back.”

 

Reagan, September 2016

“Sam and Amber were truly great, especially with our son, who if I’m honest can be challenging at times, especially when he is tired. My son has a level of special needs and over the last two years we have found climbing to be a brilliant outlet for him. They showed patience and encouragement towards him, even though I never mentioned his condition because I never want my son to feel different as he is amazing just as he is. They made sure we visited lots of different locations that enabled all members of the party to climb irrespective of capability. Furthermore, Sam was a brilliant spotter, which enabled me to climb too. Obviously I had to take it easy with my broken ankle, but he was super at catching me and gave me the confidence to try things.”

Would you like to go on a Bouldering trip in Fontainebleau with Sam & Amber?

Check our available dates on

http://www.rockandsun.com/climbing-locations/france/fontainebleau-bouldering/

 


Posted in Bouldering, France | Tagged , | Comments Off

Bouldering in Albarracin

I’m sitting in the car, parked right on the sand of Alicante’s beach, the radio is playing “Sweet dreams are made of these …. travelled the world and the seven seas”, and I’m looking out over the long stretches of beach – where the fisherman are catching their dinner. The time has come to write about our recent trip to Albarracin (march 2017).

 

I can’t believe that we’ve left it so long before finally heading over to this amazing bouldering area. It is basically on our doorstep – only a 3 hour drive from the Costa Blanca. For those not lucky enough to be living in the Costa Blanca, Albarracin is only a 2 hour drive from Valencia or a 3 hour drive from Madrid.

 

Well, as they say: better late than never.

Although I am Dutch and therefore usually quite modest in my adjectives when describing a place or experience, I become totally American when describing the bouldering mecca of Albarracin: because Oh My God, this place is Absolutely Totally Awesome! It is such a lovely area, a rustic medieval town surrounded by rolling hills in ‘earthy’ shades of green and orange, a beautiful pine forest, with a great atmosphere, a relaxed and friendly vibe amongst all boulderers there. On top of that, the quality of the rock is superb, and the routes are very diverse, across all the grades.

Beware of people jumping out of bins

Beware of people jumping out of bins

If you haven’t been to Albarracin yet – most of us haven’t, as it is still relatively unknown (and therefore quiet and not polished!) – you should really plan a trip there as soon as you can! Boulderers for sure should do so, that goes without saying. But I’d also recommend all rope-climbers who are not keen on the idea of jumping off and falling onto bouldering mats to plan a trip to Albarracin.

I am one of those climbers myself; I find it hard to commit to a move having to trust on my spotters to help me land safely onto the crashpads. Yet Albarracin has been great. It has so much to offer. There are a ton of easy boulder problems, so if you want, you can boulder well within your grade. And the good thing about those easy boulder problems is that they are interesting problems – not just ‘children boulders’. (It might be useful as a reference to know that I’m a 7a climber, and had a great time bouldering loads of 3s, 4s, 5s and 6a’s).

Also, a lot of boulder problems do not require you to ‘top out’ by mantelshelfing yourself (Aaah! Scary!) on top of the boulder, which leaves you on top of it, excited that you made it but thinking “How the hell do I get off here now?”. In Albarracin, there are a lot of boulder problems that finish on jugs from where you simply jump off onto the mat in a controlled manner; your spotter can even hold you by the hips as you do so. This makes bouldering in Albarracin completely stress-free and super fun!

A lot of boulder problems in Albarracin finish on big jugs that you jump off of - rather than topping out

A lot of boulder problems in Albarracin finish on big jugs that you jump off of - rather than topping out

For those typical rope-climbers who still aren’t convinced; another major advantage of going on a bouldering trip is that you can try the problem as often as you like, and you can try something as hard as you like, because there’s no commitment at all. When you’re done, or when the crux move is too high off the ground to your liking, or when the problem is too hard for you, you can just walk away. You don’t need to get your draws back!

 

Unfinished business: El Chorro in Sector La Fuente, Albarracin

Unfinished business: El Chorro in Sector La Fuente, Albarracin

We spent 2,5 days in Albarracin. The first day we climbed in Sector Fuente: rough orange rock with big jugs and pockets. There’s several traverses (although not in the guidebook – but great for warm up or for those who don’t like going too high), there are some low boulders to get on top of (and come down off easily), and some higher boulders with finishing jugs to jump off of.

The second day we started with some unfinished business in Fuente (Boulder problem “El Chorro”) and then went to Sector Techos (roofs). As suggested by the name, this area has very steep boulder problems, but there are also several easier options around. A good sector to go to when it’s raining/snowing, because the boulders provide shelter.

I am doing a 6a problem at Sector Techos, while Chris Newton-Goverd (Rock & Sun's Bouldering Coach) is spotting me

I am doing a 6a problem at Sector Techos, while Chris Newton-Goverd (Rock & Sun's Bouldering Coach) is spotting me

The final half day we spent at Sector Cabrerizo because it is close to one of the parking areas and has a great variety of easy problems that can be done in several ways and therefore remain interesting; for us this was a good warm-down.

One of the easy boulders at Cabrerizo, Albarracin

One of the easy boulders at Cabrerizo, Albarracin

Now I’ve spent some time in both Albarracin and the forest of Fontainebleau, I can conclude that for me, Albarracin is number 1! I find that there are more boulders of the easier grades than in Font. That the easier boulder problems are more interesting than those in Font. That there are more problems that don’t require getting on top of the boulder. Plus, Albarracin is much smaller than Font, more condensed, so it involves less driving around, and it feels like there’s more of a bouldering community and atmosphere in town. To be clear, I do not dislike Font at all: I’d give Font an 8 out of 10 and Albarracin a 10!

 

How to book

Our experienced guides know Albarracin like the back of their hand. They will choose the right sectors and boulder problems for you and will help you improve your bouldering technique and push your grade! A guided bouldering trip with Rock & Sun includes coaching, accommodation and airport transfers. Check our dates on

www.rockandsun.com/climbing-locations/spain/albarracin-bouldering/

If the dates on the website don’t suit your time off, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with lesley.rockandsun@gmail.com and we will check the availability of our instructors for your dates.

 

When to go bouldering in Albarracin

Albarracin has the great advantage of offering year-round bouldering. At 900m above sea level, the air is cooler than other much warmer, lower climbing regions in Spain. Winters in Albarracin can be cold – especially at night. The boulders can be covered in snow, but there are several sectors (such as Techos) where you can boulder regardless of snow or rain. The friction is good in cold temperatures. The summer can be hot, despite the fact that Albarracin is usually a few degrees colder than the surrounding areas. Because the pine forest provides shade, it is possible to have a really good bouldering week in summer. The best time to go bouldering is from September to May.

 

How to get to Albarracin

Fly into Valencia, hire a car and drive 2 hours to Albarracin.

Alternative: Fly into Madrid, hire a car and drive just over 3 hours to Albarracin.

When booking a bouldering trip with Rock & Sun, fly into Valencia Airport, from where you will be picked up by your instructor and driven to Albarracin (airport transfers are included).

 

What to bring

Two bouldering mats (if you book your bouldering trip with Rock & Sun bouldering mats are included)

Chalk

Two pairs of climbing shoes

Approach shoes

Warm layers

 

Where to stay

There are plenty of studios, apartments and hotels in Albarracin.

If you book a bouldering weekend with Rock & Sun, you will be based in a self-catering apartment, based on sharing twin room (same gender).

 

If you travel to Albarracin with a (camper)van: there is a parking lot in between Albarracin-town and the bouldering areas of Albarracin which is a very nice and convenient spot for overnight parking

https://goo.gl/TKKeoy

Desiree Verbeek

04/05/2017


 

 

 

 

Posted in Bouldering, Spain | Tagged , | Comments Off

Increasing Popularity of Climbing Coaching

Climbing Coaching is in high demand. In this blog they wrote for Sports Cover Direct, Desirée Verbeek and Trevor Eugene Massiah describe why this only makes sense.

https://www.sportscoverdirect.com/scd-blog/2017/04/07/the-increasing-popularity-of-climbing-coaching/

Posted in Climbing Technique | Tagged , | Comments Off

Deep Water Soloing

I take a deep breath in through my nose, fill my lungs with air and feel my chest expanding. Then I breath out, releasing the tension in my body. I am looking out over the Andaman Sea, focusing my eyes on the horizon, trying hard not to let my eyes look down to my feet, balancing on what feels like a tiny ledge, or to the crystal-clear water below me. My heartbeat racing, I know I am not ready yet. Another deep breath in. As I breathe out, the “I-don’t-want-to-jump-I’m-so-high-I’m-gonna-die”-voice in my head moves to the background and I can hear the other voice in my head saying “Come-on-you-know-you’re-gonna-have-to-do-it-anyway-so-just-get-on-with-it. It’s-only-6-metres.” I start counting “1…”, I breathe in and out, “2…” I breathe in and out, and then on “3…” I breathe in and step on foot forward, cross my arms in front of my chest, and gravity does the rest. The fall is long enough for me to realise that I’m falling, … I’m still in the air, a shriek escapes my mouth just before I splash in the water. While I’m quickly sorting out my bikini before resurfacing and swimming back to the longtail boat, I realise that it wasn’t all that bad. Actually, it was fine, and it was fun! Let’s go again!

 

What is Deep Water Soloing (DWS)

Deep-water soloing (DWS) is a form of rock climbing. Most similar to bouldering as there are no ropes, bolts, quickdraws or harnesses involved. The water below provides the protection from injury when falling off, hence it’s necessary to make sure it is deep water. Deep-water soloing has its roots in Majorca where Miquel Riera and his friends started bouldering above the sea in the late 70s. Its Spanish history makes that DWS is also known as psicobloc, which literally translated into English, means “Psycho Bouldering”. Deep-Water Soloing has also been done in the UK for decades, but it only became more mainstream after a couple of short DWS films were made in 2003 starring some of the sports pioneers – Tim Emmett, Klem Loskot and Chris Sharma.

Deep Water Soloing - Tim Emmett

Thailand is a great place to go Deep Water Soloing. There are many limestone karsts rising steeply directly out of the sea, allowing climbing straight from a kayak or longtail boat, going as high as you can or dare, and falling or jumping into the sea. Needless to say – although most karsts are as steep underwater as they are above the water surface, you always need to check whether the water is deep enough, or go with someone who knows the area. It is crucial to know what the tide state is. Besides the abundance of karsts, the second thing that makes Thailand a great venue for DWS, are its tropical warm seas. No need for wetsuits. No risk of hypothermia. Just a lovely warm bath below you.

All of Rock and Sun’s 12-night Sport Climbing Holidays start on the island in the south of Thailand called Lao Liang. It is about 16 kilometres offshore and a true climber’s paradise. To read more about Lao Liang, have a look at our website: http://www.rockandsun.com/rock-climbing-holidays/thailand-lao-liang/ During our 4-night stay on Lao Liang, we always aim to go Deep-Water-Soloing. We keep an eye on the tides, check whether the sea is calm enough for the kayak to bring people safely to the rock, and when the time is right, we ask the Thai staff to take the longtail boat and the kayak out. We go around both of the islands and do some snorkelling on the headland and round the back. If you’re lucky, you see dolphins jumping out of the sea and following the boat, or a sea turtle surfacing and waving his fin, as if they’re saying hello. Leaving us all in awe and admiration. What a special place this is..

Then we throw the anchor out at our first DWS spot and Trevor Massiah (MIA – our main Thailand instructor) gets ready. He puts his old climbing shoes on that he doesn’t mind getting wet. Covers his hands in liquid chalk. Blows them dry. Then steps onto the kayak in Gorilla-pose: on toes, knees and fists to keep his hands dry. Kneeling in this position makes it easy to keep your balance while on the water and then to step up from the kayak onto the rock. Avoiding the sharp barnacles at the bottom of the rock, Trev sets off to climb the first line. It is a nice diagonal line that has bigger and bigger jugs as you go higher. If it was a route, it would be graded a F4/5. After about 8 meters of climbing you reach a ledge. You can jump from here, or step down and jump from about 6 meters. *Which is what I did*. Another option is to continue climbing. There’s a traverse going out right that goes all the way into a cave, getting harder and harder as you continue, from about F6B to F7B. Or, from the ledge you can climb down, traverse left a bit and then go up to climb a F6A+ to the next ledge, from where, again, you can choose to jump or climb back down to the 8m ledge. All in all, there are lots of different opportunities at different grades and different heights. And that in this one little spot round the back of Lao Liang alone.

Deep Water Soloing Thailand

This winter, Tim Emmett joined us on two of Rock & Sun’s Sport Climbing Holidays in Thailand. It was immediately obvious that he is one of the DWS pioneers. He jumped from the highest point on our first DWS spot – with a backflip summersault, as he is adrenaline-junky Tim Emmett after all and never short of bravery. But it’s not only that. You can tell he loves the freedom of being on the rock without a rope and gear and without a certain ‘line’ or ‘route’ to stick with. When arrived at our second DWS spot on Lao Liang, he started doing the obvious traverse line – after which most people land in the water. Tim however, continued all the way high up into the tufa system. And while we were holding our breath on the boat watching him go higher and higher, thinking what would happen if he were to fall from there, the ‘show’ wasn’t over just yet. He then climbed down and left onto the blank looking wall, went back up – still going left, following some pockets, climbed down from there till he was almost at water level again, and just kept going. Making one big circle on the rock. Making the most of his free climbing. It is amazing to watch Tim Emmett’s love for the rock, his lack of fear, his abundant energy, as well as his love for the water. Because as soon as he did another summersault to get in the water, he swam to the boat to swop his rock shoes for fins and went free diving.

Deep-Water Soloing in Thailand is a must try for everyone; for the brave and not-so-brave, for the hard and not-so-hard climbers, for those who love rock, water or both.

Tim Emmett will join Rock & Sun’s Sport Climbing Holidays in Thailand again next winter.

Dates: 17-29 December 2017, and 7-19 January 2018.

Book here: http://www.rockandsun.com/climbing-locations/asia/thailand/

Deep Water Soloing Thailand

Desiree Verbeek

18 march 2017

 

Posted in All RS news, Thailand | Tagged , , | Comments Off

CLIMBING IN COSTA BLANCA WITH ROCK AND SUN

https://www.theclimbingacademy.com/blog/bristol/rock-and-sun-costa-blanca/

In September, our social media guy Dan was invited to Costa Blanca to experience a Rock & Sun holiday first hand. Here’s the story of his trip, from the routes he climbed to the lessons he picked up on the way.

By Dan from The Climbing Academy

I left the usual brits-abroad in the dusty tracks of the shuttle bus that took me through several rural and rugged towns until we arrived in Parcent – a small village in the Pop Valley of La Marina Alta and my home for the next few days. The landscape had changed dramatically over the journey, from the flat plains of dry cacti that had lay bare before Alicante airport to high-rising rock faces and steep hills which surrounded Parcent almost entirely. The Rock & Sun villa was exactly what I’d hoped for with a traditional feel, plenty of communal spaces (including a large porch out the front where we sat drinking beers every night) and a pool, which I’d describe as a little bit beyond ‘refreshingly cool’ – but what would you expect for September? Its panoramic setting captured the unspoilt beauty of Spain, far removed from Benidorm’s busy skyline I’d witnessed from the bus’ window some 45 minutes earlier. It was clear why Trevor and Desirée (the duo behind Rock & Sun) had recently chosen to relocate the holiday villa here.

parcent

As soon as I arrived, it was time to start climbing. It’s probably a good stage to mention that I hadn’t given roped climbing a go up until this moment, let alone touched real rock. For roughly a year, I’ve been bouldering at TCA as often as possible but hadn’t quite found the time to learn how to rope climb. I guess the motivation wasn’t really there either; it’s so easy to turn up to boulder on your own or with friends, yet learning a whole new trade and worrying about belaying, having a buddy to climb with, etc. put me off somewhat. To say I felt like a fish out of water at this stage is an understatement.

Des handed me a harness and a helmet and we headed straight to Peña Roja, a popular local crag approximately 10 minutes from the villa. Although a stone’s throw from the road, the curvature of the rock face gave this particular crag a secluded feel. The sun was dipping behind the rock too, allowing us to climb in the cool shadows rather than the demanding Spanish sun.

Everyone was in full action when I arrived so it was good to take a moment to see how it’s done and plan a few routes in my head. They were already on their third day of climbing, having arrived the previous Friday to start a week’s long performance coaching course. All of them had different climbing experiences, from trad to ice, and had come to Costa Blanca with Rock and Sun with the goal of pushing themselves to the next level, either by learning to lead climb or successfully climbing higher grades.

After a few practices with a figure of 8 knot and a little bit of encouragement from everyone, I hit a couple of routes – and I hit them hard! I didn’t fall or anything like that – it wasn’t a complete disaster – but my knowledge of climbing technique went out the window. Instead of focusing on footwork and keeping my arms straight, I started to depend on my measly upper-body strength to pull myself to the top. At the time it seemed to work and I even managed to tackle Through the Magic Door, 6a but it wasn’t long before I began to feel it on my arms and three routes was all I could manage. Although it felt like a terrible start, I now had an aim for the week; it was no longer about experiencing roped climbing for the first time but perfecting the technique and tackling the same routes with efficiency and skill. I wanted to prove to myself that I could become a confident and competent climber.

As the sun started to sink into the horizon, we packed up and headed back to the villa for an evening of beer and chit-chat.

2

On the first full day, Trev invited me to join them gorge walking at barranc de l’infern (Hell’s Gorge – a reassuring name if ever I’d heard one). We drove for approximately 45 minutes through rural Spain, climbing higher and higher up thin dirt roads until we reached our destination. From here, we descended into the Gorge on foot and abseiled deeper when necessary. Luckily for us, the Gorge was in perfect condition – at times, whole sections of the Gorge can be flooded, which can be tricky to detect until you’re already in too deep. All in all, it was a full day of walking, plenty of abseiling and the perfect opportunity to take in some stunning landscapes.

The rest of the week was reserved for climbing, starting each day at Alcalali (a crag set high up with far stretching views) and moving to Peña Roja in the afternoon to dodge the intense heat of the sun. On my first climb, Trev pretty much left me to it, only shouting up a few bits of advice if and when I couldn’t figure out where to move next. What I didn’t know at the time was that Trev had filmed the whole climb. Once I was back on solid ground, he called the whole group over and we watched it. I’d never watched myself climb before but it’s the best way to see and understand the mistakes you’re making. If you haven’t filmed yourself climb before, do it next time you hit your local climbing wall. Trev paused the video at various stages pointing out when I was stepping high for no reason, or stretching my legs out wide. The result of which meant I was putting more strain on my arms and therefore tiring myself out quickly. I knew what I was doing wrong and I understood how to correct it; it was time to implement this change.

After this I spent a little bit of time watching everyone else climb. I noticed how they often kept their body square, moving up with their feet and then straightening their legs to progress up the wall. Arms became a device for balance and support, not a means of pulling to the top. It took a few climbs to get used to the change of technique so I stuck to lower grades until I felt happy that my movement was more fluent. Since I wasn’t burning myself quicker, the number of routes I was able to climb a day increased, which meant I had even more time to practice and really nail it.

By the final day, I felt a lot more confident in my climbing. Not only was I concentrating on my footwork but I was also spending more time on each route to figure out the most efficient way to reach the top.

It wasn’t long until I approached my final climb of the week: La Llibertine, 6a+. At first, I nearly bailed on it. I still felt content climbing lower grades to focus on my technique, but I knew the chance to climb routes like this doesn’t come along often. Might as well end the week on a bang, I thought! And it was definitely worth doing. Everything I’d picked up throughout the week was solidified in the moves I made. Replaying Trev’s advice and demonstrations over and over in my head, I pushed myself forward – and before I knew it, I’d hit the top. It was definitely the highlight of my week and I felt proud to know how far I’d come in just a few days. Let’s put it this way: if you’d asked me to climb this at the start of the week I would have laughed, or more likely, jumped straight back on the plane.

view

smile

We left Peña Roja for the last time and headed to a bar on the way home for a couple of drinks to celebrate the week. You could see the sheer joy on everyone’s faces as they gripped their ice cold beers. They had really pushed themselves during their week with Costa Blanca and therefore knew there was something worth celebrating. Everyone was leaving having hit or surpassed the targets they had come away to achieve and were already planning their next climbing holidays. I’d certainly achieved a lot more than I could have possibly expected and was still feeling the buzz from the final route.

Sitting in the bar was a great opportunity to hear more from Trev and Des about Rock and Sun and their climbing experiences all over the world. Their passion and enthusiasm for the sport was apparent constantly throughout the week, not only in the way they talked about climbing but in the way they coached. They knew every detail of each route we climbed and could therefore offer comprehensive and detailed advice on how to move and where to place your legs and arms. Their understanding of individual ability was also incredibly in-depth, knowing exactly what everyone wanted to get out of the trip and therefore piecing together how they could help them achieve it. They also wanted us to climb a lot and were the first to encourage us to get up early, take shorter breaks and get up the walls as often as possible. All in all, it was evident that they weren’t just there to watch us climb; they honestly wanted us to climb better, harder and safer so that we can share their appreciation for climbing culture.

They’ve got some brilliant stories to tell too. If you’re after a good laugh, ask them about the giant squid and shark incident on a beach in Thailand.

1

abseil

The trip was an unforgettable experience. In just three and a half days, I’d gone from having zero top-rope climbing experience to gaining the ability to smoothly and efficiently climb with confidence. I’d gone from burning my arms out on a handful of routes on the first evening, to climbing between 6 – 8 different routes a day and have the ability to spring out of bed the following morning and do it all again.

It was great to leave with a new personal goal too. Since I’ve broken the ice with roped-climbing, it’s definitely something I’ll be continuing, both indoors at Undercover Rock and on outdoor courses when I can. I’ve acquired a greater understanding of what different types of climbing demand too, so once I’m full satisfied I can climb consistently with a good technique on top-rope, then I’ll certainly start lead climbing, whether that’s here in Bristol or back abroad with Rock & Sun.

trev_3

The Climbing Academy and Undercover Rock annual members can now get 10% off any Rock & Sun Holiday. Visittheclimbingacademy.com/courses/rock-and-sun-climbing-holidays to find out more.

Many thanks to Rock and Sun for inviting us to experience their Performance Coaching course in Costa Blanca.

 

Posted in Climbing Technique, Costa Blanca, Review, Spain | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

When a problem is a good thing

Instead of having to write anything ourselves about our lovely latest Rock and Sun Bouldering Trip, Nate and Terra have done a much better job for us. Here’s their account of their’s and Mathias’s time with us in Fontainebleau.

http://joyadventuring.com/2016/10/17/when-a-problem-is-a-good-thing-whaling-it-at-fontainebleau/

When a Problem is a Good Thing: ‘Whaling it’ at Fontainebleau

The last few days have marked an entirely new type of adventure on our trip. In this post I’ll discuss a number of unusual things from the weekend, including but not limited to 1) finding ourselves in the “Sea of Sand”, 2) encountering numerous good ‘problems’, and 3) discussing such highly technical terms as ‘whaling it’ on a regular basis. What were we doing, you ask? Bouldering at one of the (if not the) best spots in the world amidst the 20,000+ boulders in Fontainebleau Forest, just outside of Paris.

look at her go!look at her go!We wouldn’t have even known about the boulders in Fontainebleau Forest if not for a comment on Facebook by our good friend Cale, who pointed out when we visited the area in August that we were in a famous outdoor mecca. That prompted me to look online for any guided trips, and I found a British company called Rock & Sun which offered a weekend getaway that dovetailed nicely with the timing of the second French portion of our trip. The best part of their offer was the promise of English-speaking guides! We already felt a bit out of our depth; I can’t imagine if someone was barking orders at us in French.

Even still, this leg of the adventure would never have happened if not for a conversation that Terra and I had a couple of weeks ago. At the time, we were in the Alps and it was starting to get cold as Autumn took hold. We were still undecided about whether to take this trip, and I said to Terra “Are we really the couple that goes for a weekend bouldering excursion in the cold?” I let that sit for a day or so, but when my contact at Rock & Sun asked one final time if we were in or out, I replayed that comment in my mind and knew immediately that we had to sign up precisely becauseof my comment. This trip is all about trying new things, throwing out pre-conceived notions, and pushing ourselves to new heights (pun intended). I couldn’t imagine a better opportunity than the one set before us!

For those of you who haven’t been introduced to bouldering, it does involve climbing rocks but it is not the same as ‘rock climbing’. There are no ropes or harnesses, as the boulders are not high enough to warrant them. However, falling off the rock at certain stages of the climb or in certain ways could certainly leave you in a world of hurt, so there are a number of safety precautions like understanding good falling technique, wearing good climbing shoes, positioning climbing mats to fall on, and relying on one or two spotters to help guide your (inevitable) falls. This is not to mention a number of specific climbing techniques which I won’t even get into here that make it possible to do sometimes impossible-looking things. For example, in the image below it was critically important for Sam (who I’ll introduce below) to shift his weight in such a way to create leverage in order to proceed higher on the rock. To be honest, after a weekend of climbing we only grasped and utilized a small portion of technique.

Sam shifting his weight beautifullySam shifting his weight beautifullySpeaking of technique, one of the easier techniques to ‘master’ is whaling it (which isn’t actually a proper technique at all). It usually involves a novice (ahem, like us) getting a bit nervous when close to the top, abandoning all proper protocol and pulling oneself up by the arms and rolling over the top of the bolder – kind of like a beached whale. It is critically important not to ‘whale it’ too much, however, as the other side of the rock could have a significant downslope (which said ‘whaler’ should have checked before climbing in the first place).

this one was pretty tough for methis is sort of what ‘whaling it’ looks like as I roll over the top a bitBouldering certainly has its challenges, but there is no other sport that makes Terra and I feel more child-like. My hope is that by the end of this post you will consider adding bouldering to your fitness routine if you have access to a gym or outdoor setting, no matter your age. And now, on to the adventure…

Meet the Crew

Amber and Sam were our English-speaking fearless guides who also happen to be from the UK. The other student (on the left below) was Mathias, the third person we’ve met and become friends with from Sweden (future Joy-adventure to Sweden perhaps?).  Amber and Sam excelled in patience as I’m sure we tried and tested that throughout the weekend. It was a small, but super-fun crew!

just getting startedjust getting startedNate sneaking a baguette with MatthiasNate sneaking a baguette with MatthiasAdventure in the Sea of Sand

Friday was a wash-out, so we ended up climbing on Saturday and Sunday. And even though it wasn’t raining on Saturday, we had to give the rock some time to ‘dry out’ on Saturday morning. Apparently the rock gets moist and sweaty and it requires some wind and/or sunshine to get dry and make for acceptable climbing conditions. Sam told us that they couldn’t climb for two weeks in the summer simply because the rock was sweaty due to a high amount of humidity! The closest thing I can equate this to is when I take a shower after hiking in the summer and the shower doesn’t take as I continue to sweat (but enough about me).

As I mentioned before, Fontainebleau contains 20,000+ climbable boulders. Think about that for a second – 20,000! That means there are boulders everywhere. There are about 5’ish main forests that each have their own boulder collection within the greater Forêt de Fontainebleau (Forest of Fontainebleau). So each and every day you can choose to go to a different area, or a different area within an area.

One of the most famous areas includes the Sea of Sand, which was something marvelous to behold. Sam and Amber had slightly different geologic explanations for how this happened, but the end result is a large desert-looking landscape peppered with boulders and trees.

boulders amidst the "Sea of Sand"boulders amidst the “Sea of Sand”see the dog head?see the dog head?It just so happens that this is a fabulous place for slack-lining, which is also a decent warm-up activity for bouldering. And since we were waiting for the rock to dry, Sam and Amber got out their supplies and we went for it on top of the soft, sandy ground. Just keep in mind, there is a reason we took still shots versus video…

I'm totally going to stay on (sure...)I’m totally going to stay on (sure…)Terra looks like she is in her element from her gymnastics daysTerra looks like she is in her element from her gymnastics daysEncountering Problems and Overcoming Fears

Sam and Amber have a lot of problems (well, not really – they were quite lovely). Well, at least they kept talking about all sorts of problems around the forest. I caught on pretty quickly – ‘problems’ were boulders (or maybe they were specific routes up the boulders, I’m not sure). At first I thought maybe all this talk of problems could be a bit silly or dramatic, but I soon understood. Each and every boulder represents as much of a mental exercise as physical. At each rock, we would discuss the various techniques and ways up the rock (i.e. the ‘solution’) and then we would go for it (usually after Sam or Amber demonstrated).

When we started the forest was relatively empty, but as we walked around it came alive with people of all sizes and ages, from young children to around-80 year old folks. Check out a couple of pictures below; I can just picture the four guys in their 70’s hanging around the same boulder in the 1960’s – just incredible and inspiring!

that's as far as I can stretchthat’s as far as I can stretchTerra dominating the rock!Terra dominating the rock!they've been doing this since the 60'sthey’ve been doing this since the 60’svery impressive older guyvery impressive older guyby the end, we felt as though we overcame a lotby the end, we felt as though we overcame a lotThis was an all-too-short trip (although our aching muscles would disagree!), but looking back on it I’m so glad we said ‘yes’ to this and that we didn’t succumb to the ‘are we really this kind of people’ mentality. We left extremely exhausted but, at the same time, refreshed and alive. And we can’t wait to get back to Seattle and continue what we started here (I’m looking at you Cale!). What a tremendous experience in Fontainebleau!

beautiful evening lightbeautiful evening lightgreat work by Terra!great work by Terra!beautiful florabeautiful flora

Posted in France, Review | Tagged , , | Comments Off

How to Improve 2 Grades in 1 Week With Rock & Sun

Rock & Sun trip #5 I believe

This time was slightly different. A structured weeklong course purely on performance coaching. Working on choosing a route, analysing from the ground and then actually climbing it as efficiently as possible.

I initially contacted Trev for help on a trip to Thailand. We worked out a package that suited my non comital climb when I want dip in and out tendencies. Every trip I’d glean a little more on becoming a better climber. Trev would always offer advice and on one occasion, exasperated at seeing me brutalising my way up a route he quietly drops it to me that I should visit him in April in the Costa Blanca on one his performance coaching courses.

I was deliberating when he dropped the bomb. “I’ll guarantee you 2 grades in a week”.

Now that’s a big deal for me. For anyone  I suppose…To be climbing at a level I was a decade ago. I’ve been plagued with injuries, which I’m 100% would have never have experienced had I done this course 14 years ago when I first began climbing.

My injuries are self inflicted and pretty dumb really. Overdoing it. Overtraining. Not listening to my body. Not knowing how to climb properly and simply muscling my way up everything.

Many years on now with lots of interventions such as yoga, physio and chiropractic treatments my elbows, neck and shoulders ailments are manageable. Climbing as ‘hard’ as I ever have done in the past without the subsequent horror show pains.

Here’s a brief overview of the course…

You’re collected from Alicante airport and taken to a beautiful villa, settle down meet any other R&S attendees and chill out.

Given a brief of the course which consists of 3 days on breaking it right down to basics. And I mean right down. The deal was for me to red point 7b by the end of the week and we were beginning on top roping 3+ / 4s

These first three days we talk equipment; what type of shoes, the use of chalk or not and the alternatives, which make a huge difference that I’d never before experien=ced or even thought about.

Still in these first three days, dissecting a route. Really studying it, it’s features, lines of weakness, crux(es) rest(s).  All of this is vital in developing a red point strategy. We talked about climatic conditions that vastly affect the outcome.

Now we’ve got an idea of how the route climbs, it’s time to move. Here we received instruction in real simple terms. A bit like being taught how to walk, except I was being taught how to climb.

You see, I’d developed a highly inefficient style of climbing which is obvious to me now, and so many people do it. We climb as though walking… one foot moving up and the trailing leg being dragged behind. Because on a 3+ climbing like this seems easy for someone that can nick a 7a after a couple of visits. But, it’s highly inefficient and worse, these patterns a merely ingrained and transferred up the grades. You can only go so far like this. In truth, you can only go so far with good technique. But good technique gets you a lot further for a lot less effort and lot less pain or risk of pain!

Three days out and we have a rest to day to chill out in the sun.

Days 4 and 5. The juicy part of the course.

Choosing a route and sending it.

We discussed the route, which in my case, La Bella, at Pena Roja crag in Lliber http://www.ukclimbing.com/logbook/c.php?i=21298

Trev put the quick draws in for me and we discussed the route.

My turn.

I (we) got the route done after about 5 hours on the third red point. Nice. Really nice.

The last time I climbed 7b I was 10 years younger and fitter. But dumber and it took 2 weeks; the last climb of the last day of the trip!

By the way, I’m 45 and I’m looking to get 8a by around 50.

I’m so stoked with everything and the thing I love about being able to climb harder grades is that it opens up a whole new world of amazing adventures with great people in stunning locations.

Thanks

Solly x

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Climbing Holidays For Families

At Rock & Sun we notice that more and more families would like to come on a rock climbing holiday.

For some families it is the parents would love to go climbing again like they used to before they had children, and now the kids are old enough to climb, they want to introduce them to the sport as well. For them it is nice to go with an instructor so they can brush up their own skills, and improve their climbing technique in a few climbing coaching sessions, while the children are enjoying themselves on toprope. For other families it is the children that made the parents excited about climbing. The children might have been to an indoor climbing wall during a children’s party or a school activity and now they want to get on real rock. The parents would love to give it a go as well, but know that they do not have enough skills or experience to go rock climbing independently as a family.

Climbing Holiday for Families - here at Pena Roja

Climbing Holiday for Families - here at Pena Roja

Rock & Sun offers a full range of rock climbing holidays & rock climbing courses aimed at climbers of all proficiency. Rock & Sun’s special family climbing holidays are individually tailored to suit your family’s experience and aspirations. A highly qualified, skillful instructor will be dedicated to your family to ensure that each of you has a memorable time. Plus: everything from airport pick up to airport drop off can be arranged.
The Costa Blanca is the ideal location for you and your family to enjoy a variety of climbing and have all the benefits of the nearby town of Calpe and its facilities, plus of course the beach and some sunshine!

Climbing Holidays for Families - here at Sierra de Toix

Climbing Holidays for Families - here at Sierra de Toix

Our family climbing holidays offer a range of exciting activities to suit everybody’s interests and ability. Such activities may include:

Single pitch rock climbing

Multi pitch rock climbing

Trekking & walking

Abseiling

Kayaking

Depending on the age of the children, we can offer a different program for the week. Please find below two example itineraries for family climbing holidays; one with young children and one with older children.

Climbing Holiday for Families - Amy (4,5 years old)

Climbing Holiday for Families - Amy (4,5 years old)

 

Family Climbing Holiday With Children Under 8 years

An example of what a week might include:

Saturday: Arrival day: relax and hang out by the pool or go to one of Costa Blanca’s beaches.

Sunday: Half-day session of single pitch rock climbing with a guide. When at the crag, we could put topropes up and let everyone enjoy the climbing, we could coach and improve your climbing technique, or we could teach you how to lead climb. For young children a whole day at the crag has proven to be a bit too much, so after the morning session at the crag we’ll come back to the villa and you will have the afternoon to yourself.

Monday: Half-day session of single pitch rock climbing with a guide.

Tuesday: Half-day session of single pitch rock climbing with a guide.

Wednesday: Rest day. Have some family time in and around the villa, enjoy Costa Blanca’s beautiful beaches or go out for a family activity. There are many water parks, adventure parks and attraction parks in the Costa Blanca.

Thursday: Half-day session of single pitch rock climbing with a guide. Afternoon: A walk up the Penon de Ifach (332m), Costa Blanca’s most striking landmark.

Friday: One half-day session of single pitch rock climbing with a guide.

Saturday: Departure day.Climbing Holiday for Families - Beach Time!

Climbing Holiday for Families – Beach Time!

Family Climbing Holiday With Children Over 8 years

An example of what a week might include:

Saturday Arrival day: relax and hang out by the pool or go to one of Costa Blanca’s beaches.

Sunday: Single pitch rock climbing with a guide. According to the experience level of the parents and children, we could put topropes up and let everyone enjoy the climbing, we could coach and improve your climbing technique, or we could teach you how to lead climb.

Monday: Single pitch rock climbing with a guide.

Tuesday: Relax day. Enjoy one of Costa Blanca’s beautiful beaches or go out for a family activity. There are many water parks, adventure parks and attraction parks in the Costa Blanca. Or wander around in some of the historical centers of the small and characteristic villages in the Xalon valley.

Wednesday: Multipitch rock climbing with a guide. If two family members are up for it, we can take you up the Penon de Ifach, the most striking landmark in the whole of the Costa Blanca (332m). If this is too much for your family, or if you prefer to do an activity with the whole family, we can have an adventurous day in the Barranco del Infierno. A series of abseils and traverses gets you through this stunning gorge.

Thursday: Single pitch rock climbing with a guide.

Friday: Single pitch rock climbing with a guide, sit on top kayaking, or a relaxing family day. It’s up to you.

Saturday: Departure day.

Climbing Holidays for Families

Climbing Holidays for Families

Accommodation for Families

You will be staying in a fully equipped and spacious villa with swimming pool in Parcent, in the Xalon Valley. The villa has great views on the green hills surrounding Parcent and on the typical Spanish town of Parcent itself. This town has the best paella restaurant in the whole region and several other bars, restaurants, a bakery, minimarket and pharmacy. The villa has a large garden with palm trees, fruit trees and flowers; you can always find a place to sit and relax in the shade or in the sun. The villa has three bedrooms with a large kitchen, dining area and lounge. There are two bathrooms, one of which is ensuite. There is also an outside barbecue area. Besides the villa there is also a double bedroom studio with bathroom.

Rock & Sun Villa Parcent

Rock & Sun Villa Parcent

From the moment you make your first contact, Rock & Sun’s friendly, experienced staff are here to provide the help and advice that ensures each family member’s existing climbing skills and goals are catered for. We aim to provide the best holidays where qualified, enthusiastic instructors focus on everyone’s safety, enjoyment and fulfilment.

Climbing in the sun or the shade?

Obviously we adjust the times of our climbing days and the locations to suit the weather. During the hotter months, we choose to climb in the shade. We are likely to go out climbing at around 0730 in the morning – returning at around 1300/1330. Our afternoon climbing sessions are from about 1500 – 1900hrs. So you get in a full day’s climbing with time in the middle for a late lunch, a swim or a well-deserved siesta!  In the winter months you are more likely to climb at sunny crags, leaving the villa at approx. 0900hrs, returning to the villa at approx. 1730 hrs. Times may vary during the course of your stay, and depending on your families wishes, but this will give you an idea.
What our families often choose to do is to hire a car. This gives you the independence to leave the crag whenever the children have had enough, and allows you to go straight to the beach, or to explore the local area and enjoy other activities.
We welcome all families to have a great climbing & beach holiday in the Costa Blanca! Feel free to get in touch with the dates that you want and we will organise your family holiday.

Posted in Costa Blanca, Family Holidays, Spain | Comments Off