/ Puig Campana advice - experience for Espolon Cent
Just registered as a new member. I have been mountaineering for many years and regularly go bouldering, but wanting to start some sport climbing. I climb some very short / easy routes at my local quarry. I have some coaching sessions arranged for some of the A55 sports climb venues, starting next month.
1st week in July i'm doing a week long course in the Alps including, hopefully, a summit of Mont Blanc. At the end of July I'm due to be visiting my parents on the Costa Blanca and I've been looking at options for spending one day doing some guided climbing. I've been looking into Puig Campana and the Espolon central route.
Sorry if this is a really dumb question, but I am wondering if it is realistic for me to be able to do this (with a suitability qualified/experienced guide - any recommendations appreciated). I think the grade of climbing should be OK for me, but have not done multi-pitch routes and wondering how scary the level of exposure would be for a relative novice.
I'd be grateful for any advice.
Espolon centrale is a trad route with bolted belays. Felt about S/ HS to me but very long, if you take a guide and have been mountaineering for years then I cant imagine youd have an issue apart from fitness as it can be a very long climbing day. Dont remember it being paticularly exposed but it depends what mountaineering you have done i suppose.
Espolon Central on Puig Campana is a fine route. Very long at around 450m of climbing up to about S/HS.
End of July is going to be baking on there. It's in the sun all day and there's not many places to escape for shade once on the route! Early mornings and evenings will be okay for sunny crags, but rest of the day you'll need shade for climbing.
Exposure is considerable, with plenty of it still coming at you on the descent.
There are plenty of short multi-pitch routes at Sierra de Toix, some stay in the shade until mid/late morning. Access is very quick and if it gets too hot it's much easier to bail off.
Hope that's helpful
I wouldn't have said it is desperately exposed overall, but as has been said it's long and sustained, and there are exposed sections. As has been said, it will be very hot in July, and the route is south facing in the full gare of the sun. It is not a sport route, but trad with bolted belays. If you are doing Mt Blanc first, you should have a good level of fitness, but you need to be slick with your belaying and ropework, so practice that first so that you are reasonably competent at it before embarking on the route. Heat exhaustion can be a real risk if you are not used to it at that time of year. Take lots of water, and keep exposed skin to a minimum with loads of factor 50 + sun block. The descent is easy but exposed.
As others have said it will be too hot. I just don't think you will enjoy it, being up there all day in the sun will be most unpleasant. You need to be climbing in the shade at that time of year. I'd definitely wait for the right time, last time I was there was last April and it was perfecto.
Was climbing on the Costa blanca in mid Feb and it was almost too hot at times if in the sun and no wind. I wouldn't even consider climbing on a South facing crag in the summer, even on single pitch climbs, let alone a route where you will be in the sun for quite a few hours. I guess shady crags might be ok, especially if you can get out early.
Many thanks everyone for your replies, much appreciated and very helpful. I will take on board the advice about the sun/heat that time of year and seems sensible to investigate some alternative options I think - any recommendations would be appreciated - i'm basically looking for something fairly significant I can do in one day, but with a guide and without biting off more than I can chew. Something at an easier grade but a worthy day out really. cheers
Via Pany on the Penon might suite - nothing like as long as the Sur Central, but in the shade all day and finishes on top of a proper peak,
A second for Chris's suggestion of Via Pany on El Peñon. It's a quality route. I climbed it again last week, upper pitches catch the afternoon sun (maybe even early afternoon)! So still worth starting early. Whilst it's not quite a sport route, there's a lot of fixed gear on it, mostly threads, pegs, and a few bolts. All belays are bolted.
Many thanks Chris and Mark for your suggestion - really liking the idea of Via Pany. I don't suppose you know of any local guides in the area who could lead me up?
Hi Chris - don't suppose you have an email address for David Mora? I've sent a message via facebook but no reply as yet. Will try Mark Eddy too but looks like he is usually only there in the winter months.
david(at)aktive-life dot com is the latest one I have - hope this helps,
Many thanks for the advice, appreciated.
I am now thinking that Via Pany on the Penon would be a more suitable option but will look into Sierra de Toix too. I found your website - I assume you won't be there end of July as usually only there winter months?
many thanks Chris - i'll give it a try
Yes I'm out there from early October until mid-March (just arrived back in the UK today).
I replied to your e-mail, hope you received it.
Hope you have a great trip out there too.
in case you're still interested - we did this a couple of years ago at Easter - was desperately hot even then (caveat to that, we're both ginger!)
sorry, pressed return too soon. Its a great route - with lots of interesting climbing, for the grade. Its not a one/two pitch wonder with loads of scrap in-between - its consistently good. There are some exposed bits - but nothing excessive, and if you're an experienced mountaineer, doubt you'd have an issue. The decent with the dodgy "via ferrata" wire in places felt more exposed. A great day out - take plenty of water!
You could try contacting Rich Mayfield at the Orange House regarding guiding, if he can't do it himself then I'm sure he'll have alternative suggestions for you.
This week's Friday Night Video is from UKC regular David Linnett. The short clip features Johnny Dawes climbing the Roaches classic Chalkstorm, although in Johnny's modern style: hands-free.