I'd been wanting to climb on the North face and had the route of 'Via Pany' in mind, Kim was game for it too, so off we went.
Via Pany: Very Severe - 215m - 7 pitches
Even on a Saturday the crag was empty, of climbers at least, there were plenty of Gulls! The approach walk is easy and the start obvious due to a large clearing below the chimney pitch. We briefly discussed who would be leading, it turned out i'd be leading the whole route, bonus!
I set off up the chimney with a full trad rack weighing me down. This felt a bit odd after so much sport climbing and going lightweight. So my initial moves were on the slow side. Also I spent a little longer than usual placing gear, again, it's been a while. The final moves of pitch 1 were over a bulge, this proved quite tough, but well protected. By the time I reached the bolted belay station I was already feeling completely at home back on a trad route, it felt amazing.
Pitch 2 was an easy scramble with some bush bashing thrown in to keep it interesting. So far the climbing is straightforward and the scenery is becoming increasingly impressive.
Pitch 3 was apparently another easy pitch of grade 3 climbing. It felt much harder than this, with a very tricky move to exit a short chimney.
Pitch 4 looked a bit more daunting, a steep chimney! This pitch turned out to be wonderful climbing on superb rock with good protection easily arranged the whole way.
Pitch 5 was another easy pitch, maybe grade 3 with a few moves of 4+. The views and overall atmosphere compensated for the lack of difficult climbing.
Pitch 6 seemed like it was going to offer a bit more technicality and it did. Top quality climbing up a fine slab before meeting a crack system and following this with interest all the way to the next belay. An excellent pitch with as much natural protection as wanted.
Pitch 7 the final pitch, taking us up to the summit of El Penon de Ifach. A hard move off the belay ledge soon led to easy climbing and scrambling up a groove and on to the summit. A group of English and Irish students were doing summit selfies as I arrived.
Rock fax award this route 2 stars in their 2013 Costa Blanca guide. I'd agree with that. The climbing is good quality, if it was more continuous then 3 stars could be awarded.
Descent from the summit is straightforward, following a well maintained footpath all the way back into Calpe. Coffee and cake at a seafront cafe seemed an appropriate finish to a grand day out.
If you’re looking for an action packed holiday or short break here in Spain, give us a call / email and let’s make it happen. Rock climbing, mountain walking, scrambling, canyoning, and via ferrata.