Altitude 1320m a.s.l
Puig from The Orange House © Rich Mayfield
As you drive up and down the coast there is one impressive bit of rock which stands high above all the other impressive bits of rock; the 1406m high Puig Campana behind the small town of Finestrat. Along with the Peñón de Ifach, this mountain has been a focus of climbing in the Costa Blanca since the 1960s. Owing to the long approach walks, and the existence of other, significantly more accessible crags, the Puig Campana hasn't been developed nearly as much as it deserves. Despite this, it is still home to some superb and important routes, which will provide many memorable days of climbing for those into long, traditionally protected climbs. The actual climbing is seldom hard, except on the newer routes.
The three main classics on the south face, Espolón Central, Diedro Gallego and Diedro Magicos, along with El Diamante and Espolón Finestrat on the Aguja Encantada, are the only routes on which you are likely to have company. If you enjoy exploring the mountain, the local guide (Escaladas en el Puig Campana by Manolo Pomares) lists 80+ routes on the various faces, enough to keep most people busy for several years.
This is a big mountain with a climate more familiar to big hills than Spanish crags - snow is not unknown up here in winter. The length of the routes means that it will take you most of the day to get up and down your chosen climb and, as there are no professional rescue teams in the region, it is best to chose the right objective according to your skill-set, gear and the available daylight. It is essential to carry water, but also take some spare clothing for the upper sections, which are frequently colder than you might expect; the top is often shrouded in mist, which makes descents difficult and potentially hazardous. Having said this, you are probably more likely to suffer from sunburn than anything else, so light long-sleeve tops and neck scarves are also a sensible addition to your gear along with the high-factor sun cream.
The Puig Campana is approached from the village of Finestrat.
From the North or South - Leave the AP-7 at junction 65 or 65a and follow signs for Terra Mitica and then for Finestrat. Once at Finestrat, follow the road round the village to a T-junction. Turn right here (left leads to Sella) then left and drive towards the mountain on the road to the popular water source of the Font de Moli. Continue along the metalled road, up the hill, around a series of bends and over a bridge. There are usually cars parked here as this is the most popular point to start the walk up to the summit. For climbing, it is quicker to continue for 0.6km to a short track on the right-hand side of the road. Park here and follow a path up the hill for 200m. Just after some pine trees on the right, and by a cairn, is a small track leading off to the right.
Sector Central - Follow the small path until it is possible to scramble up onto a big plateau. A well-marked path leads from here up under the face.
Sector Aguja Encantada - Continue along the lower path until the first track on the right at a junction marked by a cairn. Continue to another cairn which marks a track that zig-zags up the screes directly below the face. This sector stays in the shade longer than the main south face routes.
|2011.10.15 Direct start, Espolon Central, Edwards Finish. Start car 8.10am, direct start 9.00am, combined pitches 1&2, 3,4&5, 6&7, 8&9, 10&11, and pitches 2&3, 4&5 on Edwards Finish. Top of Espolon Central 2.00pm with lunch stop. 5.10pm top of notch. Note 2 abseils down to scree gully descent. It rained like mad on walk back to car for 6.30pm. Route description accurate. Route would not be a place to be in the wet, progress / escape would a very major hazard. One of the best days out on rock ever.|
Tenko - 17/Oct/11
|Climbed the Puig Campana 25th March 06. Used the Rockfax guide - spot on. Old Guide (1997) difficult to follow. We reccied the parking and walk in the day before, which is well worth doing to get a good start. Three of us climbed on two 10mm ropes, did the normal route in 6 hours without problem of time keeping or rushing, but we did start the walk in from the car at dawn (sunrise)at 5:45 am, started the climb itself at 7 am, finished around 1 pm. We did not protect the first main scramble which probably saves an hour+, no difficult moves if you stick to the ridge top, some tat in place. Route finding is a bit tricky at the start, at the top of the first main scramble we walked rightwards along broken ledges with bushes as far as we could go easily. First pitch was from a sling belayed around a large bush at the end of a wide broken ledge and climbed upwards through a sapling (tug o war) trending rightwards towards the main arete. From the top there is a Long walk off, easy to follow, some exposure and horrible scree slope at finish (need good boots0. Got back to bottom at around 3 pm. Weather was 25 C, like a hot english summers day. We could have fitted in the direct start, would have added another 1.5 hours I guess, and made the route more interesting from the off - I would recommend this if you are there at dawn. About 6 other climbers - 2 parties - on the route, some difficulty when passing, I could envisage queues building up behind the slowest climbers. we found Trad protection with nuts 3 to 9 and medium to large cams mainly, belay points are mainly double bolted, so easy to protect on belay. This was a really excellent day out with consistent grades, around 4 to 4+ (Severe 4a on the whole) for most pitches, highly recommended if you are ok leading V Diff to hard severe max. Rock has lots of solution pockets and there are holds everywhere,never found a pitch where there was a scarcity, something always turned up, even on the Z crack pitch there are jugs to be found. We stayed in a dead cheap hotel in Benidorm old town, but beware there are very narrow streets stuffed with cars, and one way systems, it is not easy to find parking spaces, although there are underground car parks at 10 euros per day, so if you stay there ensure the Hotel has a reserved space for you, or nearby parking. Plenty of places to eat though from pizza to curry to trad sea food, and great walking down the sea front & harbour in the evening. We also climbed at sella and Toix, I found Toix much more interesting with more climbing at my grades 4 to 5 (severe to HVS)in a small and accesible area.|
Ian Hogg - 09/Apr/06
|Off limits-Big fire on 080606-100 hectares on the westen face and 40 buildings evacuated. See www.euroweeklynews-the local newspaper|
David Mills - 10/Mar/06
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