Espolón Paiju* 5c
210m, 7 pitches. The compelling arete is a regional ‘classic’ following the huge rib towards the right-hand side of the cliff right under the summit of the Peña de Alicante. It has a short crux section that is normally aided to keep the grade at a consistent 5/5+. Take a rack, with a some big stuff. The penultimate pitch is a finely exposed, although rather retro, aided traverse along the diagonal crack that can be seen clearly from the approach track below. The aid section is equipped and will be straight forward for any competent team with a sense of adventure and a couple of foot slings. A little ingenuity with medium wires and cams is required to pass the odd blank gap and one awkward section. The crux aid pitch can be climbed free at 6b. Start at a cleared patch in the undergrowth just up and right from the lowest part of the rib. 1) 4+, 35m. Climb straight up cracks in the slab and then traverse left to move up a steep corner and belay on the rib. 2) 2) 5, 30m. Climb to a steep crack on the left and then continue up and right to a belay. 3) 5, 45m. Continue up and leftwards moving over a terrace to belay in a corner below a steepening in the rib. 4) 4+, 25m. Follow the line up the corner to a belay ledge 5) 4+, 30m. Continue up the groove to below the headwall and a semi-hanging stance on a wooden wedge and in-situ thread. 6) 5+/A1, 35m. Launch out left along the crack following a variety of fixed gear. Halfway along awkward moves lead down to a niche and back up to rejoin the crack. Belay with wires in a block at the far end of the terrace. Can be free climbed at 6b. 7) 2, 10m. Up the easy gully to the top © ROCKFAX

Ticklists: Costa Blanca "Must Do" routes.

PUBLIC LOGBOOKS
This climb is in 5 logbooks, and on 2 wishlists.

A good, adventurous day out! John Makin and I went back to successfully climb this route after having to back off because of bad weather on our previous trip. Route finding is tricky in places and you need to treat quite a lot of it as a trad route. There is quite a lot of loose rock on the lower pitches, but the quality of the climb improves and the top pitches are fantastic. The crux can be easily free climbed at 6a/6a+ and you can place plenty of gear (which is worth doing, as a fall by either climber would result in them hanging in space on the blank wall below! If either party is pushing their grade, it may be worth discussing how you'd deal with this, as lowering them off isn't an option ;) ) I was annoyed with myself for being drawn in by the description of aiding the crux pitch, as I pulled on an early bit of gear and then found the pitch pretty straight forward to free, and hence lost the on-sight because of one move! ;) The crux pitch can also be broken down and an additional belay added at the end of the main traverse section, which could mean that the second could continue up to the top from here and the crux pitch be shared. We started quite late for such a route, as a result of John's poor naviagtional skills on the drive there! ;) This resulted in a bit of added presure on the crux, but it went well and we topped out to a beautiful sunset and walked off with head torches!
carlh - AltLd dog - 02/Nov/13

Waited all morning for the rain to clear and for the sun to come around onto the face to dry the route. It did and John Makin and I walked in feeling positive. Unfortunately, we then had to deal with gail force winds (not forecast!). We battled our way up the first pitch in an attempt to get established on the route, but had to call it a day and back off as the winds rattled along the crag at 60-70mph. Very disapointing as it's a lovely looking line, but at least we have a good excuse to go back!
carlh - AltLd dnf - 21/Jan/13

Hidden - AltLd - 08/Jan/13

Led p2, 4 & 6. Free climbed the crux pitch, so I'm claiming the 6b tick
cem - AltLd O/S - 28/Dec/12 with Dave Amos

Excellent route, led pitches 2,4 & 6
John Roe - AltLd - 19/Nov/09 with Iain (Jocky) Marr

Users with this climb on their wishlist are:
carlh
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