In climbing I do things that I enjoy and want to do not the ones that are currently in fashion.
Muriel Sarkany
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Sella – the gem of Costa Blanca
Climbing spots of Catalonia part 4
Climbing spots of Catalonia part 3
Climbing spots of Catalonia part 2
Climbing spots of Catalonia part 1


Climbing in Sella can be classified either as somethong for your arms or something for your calves. Unfortunately, with the emphasiz on the latter. If you preser technical climbing on crimps and slopers, you’ll be happy to see huge absolutely vertical or slab walls with long and nice routes on them, both easier and harder reaching even 8b level.

Whereas those who feel in their element when confronted with overhangings full of collonets and tufas should go directly to Wildside. It is a rock wall located ca. 15 minutes away from the sectors closest to the road. At Wildside you’ll find long overhanging routes with positive holds. Some of them are worth special attention: Oceano, Black is black, Watermark, Ergonometria, Keep the faith and obviously, probably the most beautiful route of the entire area, Ya somos Olimpicos 7b+ running along a system of tufas and collonets. The crucial flaw of Wildside is the temperature. The north face of the wall makes it constantly remain hidden in the shade and if we add strong winds as a consequnce we get a significant discrepancy of temperatures in comparison to other sectors.

Ya somos Olimpicos 7b+ - probably the most beautiful route in the entire spot
(photo: archiv. Monika M這decka)

Watermark 8a (photo: archiv. Monika M這decka)

So if the weather conditions don’t meet your expectations or contradict the forecast, as it happens more and more often nowadays, Wildside is the place where you can literally find out what snow in Spain looks like. Just for a short compare and contrast exercise you may visit the wall opposite to Wildside. Vips may not be the most impressive wall in the vicinity but it effectively functions as a good heater during sunny days whose warmth you won’t experience while climbing at Wildside anyway.

One of the 8a's at the Vips sector
(photo: archiv. Monika M這decka)

The interesting thing is that Wildside is located on a private ground, which is signalized for the first time by a large gate at the foot of the crag. The owner’s house is visible in the distance on of the neighboring hills and when it comes to the owner himself, the only fact known about him is that few years ago he revealed a great deal of good will and gave the climbers the official go-ahead to take the advantage of the massive tufas, this way sentencing himself to inevitable outbursts of anger or happiness that seem to be reaching the house during the afternoon siestas.

Watermark 8a, Wildside (photo: archiv. Monika M這decka)

Nevertheless, the philanthropist has already asked visitors several times to keep as quiet as possible and subsequent teams have been doing their best to respect his request for fear of closing down the sector, which he is said to have done before. Theoretically, one must also stick to the "No Kaka” rule that reportedly was also a subject of few arguments in the past. Year by year, Sella gains more new routes and the best proof for that is the guide which differs crucially each season. The good news is that Armando really takes care of all the updates and after coming to the spot you’ll most probably get a new version of the guide or an older one but with the attachement in form of detailed appendices.

Rest day

Sella won’t provide you with many rest day opportunities such as canoeing typical of French Gorge du Tarn or parties characteristic of Kalandraka in Rodellar. The best option is a hitchhiking trip to Alicante, where you can enjoy a very nice and clean beach. Of course, an eventual swim in the sea is a matter of choice but in February the water temperature is already (still?) bearable. Alicante can also boast of a picturesque market square with the city hall. Apart from that, it is a city big enough to find whatever you need but one has to remember about unpredictable Spanish siestas and fiestas.


The promenade in Alicante (photo: archiv. Monika M這decka)

The second rest day variant is a chillout in Sella itself, for example in one of the bars run by Englishmen. And if you happen to make it for some Champions League broadcast, the excitement is bound to be intense.

Other things worth mentioning

Sella as well as the neighboring villages/towns are the grounds inhabited mostly by British pensioners who very reasonably decided to put a stout veto on the chill and rainy island climate and moved to the Spanish part of the continent. In what way does it relate to climbers? It’s very easy. The aforementioned residents are quite climbers-friendly, which means that not only do they find dirty hooded people with huge backpacks rather normal but also it often happens that they willingly give climbers a lift. Most of them run a café or a restaurants and let rooms to visitors. So if you need some help or information, Sella is one of these few places in south-western Europe where one can actually communicate in English.

Sounds good? If it does, book your flight and enjoy warm and sunny winter in Costa Blanca! :-)

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Climbing spots of Catalonia part 4
Climbing spots of Catalonia part 3
Climbing spots of Catalonia part 2
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Editors: Monika M這decka, Janusz Szymik