Last year, whilst out walking I spotted a fine looking arete that looked very climbable at an amenable grade. Not having time to try it straight away, the months rolled by until I was able to return and climb on this beautiful outcrop of Limestone.
Some of you will already know I can be quite esoteric in my crag and route choices, and sometimes this pays dividends, sometimes not. So the most important part of any such adventure is a willing and able partner. I had explained in as much detail as possible what may be involved for this ascent, and thankfully Juliette was still happy to be a part of this.
We made rapid progress on the approach march until the final few hundred metres when dense vegetation slowed us, the adventure begins....
Arriving at the base of the initial arete around 11am we decided to have an early lunch rather than carry all the food up the climb. Stashing one bag at the base, we proceeded to climb the arete, loose in places but often on good quality Limestone and in a sublime situation.
There are two subsidiary aretes (both escapable) before the main ridge-line is reached. These initial sections provide good climbing up to Severe 4a standard and there is plentiful protection (mostly with slings).
To gain the main ridge there are a variety of lines available, but once on the arete the route finding is obvious and with limited variation making a fairly quick ascent possible.
Whilst we had been using 50m half ropes with the intention of abseiling from the summit, this was not required as a scrambling descent to the left (looking up) was reasonably straightforward. So I would recommend using a 50m single rope as the route doesn't otherwise require halves.
Below is a description of the route and where it is. Should you be so inclined to seek this out and would like more information, feel free to get in touch and i'll help out as best I can. And of course, anyone wishing to have a guided ascent, we'd be more than happy to help with that too.
Route name: 150 Jupiters – Raco de Las (Pleasure Domes), Benidorm area
Length: 230 metres
Grade: Severe 4a
First Ascent: 15th November 2015 - M Eddy & J Edwards
A beautiful and prominent feature of the Pas de Comptador is the Raco de Las. There is climbable rock on all faces and routes will be possible at many grades from Vdiff well into the E grades.
This is a mountain crag and exposed to the vagaries of the weather (yes, even in the Costa Blanca) so go prepared with extra clothing and a headtorch. It takes no drainage and will dry very rapidly.
Bushwhacking is required to reach the base (and worth it) and all part of the adventure of this majestic crag.
From small layby parking just off the Polop - Guadalest road near to Restaurante Rincon de Pepe and walk along this track, forking right after about 250m , a further 500m on reach a crossroads and turn right, following this through pine woodland to reach a large track, turn left and go uphill and soon onto a concrete track to reach Pas de Comptador, the climbing is now on your left. There are numerous small tracks (Boar / Goat / Hunters) penetrating the dense vegetation, take your pick and be armed with thick and long trousers!
Our route follows the right hand ridge line and it's subsidiary ridges all the way from the base to the summit.
Allow 1 hour for the approach.
Descent: From the prominent notch near the summit follow broken ground leftwards to reach the base of the crag.
Pitch 1: 40m – Follow the arête from its lowest point. Belay on pinnacles on the crest.
Pitch 2: 20m – Continue along the widening arête to reach a belay below steepening ground.
Pitch 3: 30m – Climb the steep wall to regain the arête. Belay in a small gap.
Pitch 4: 10m – Traverse along the left side of the ridge to reach a small col and belay.
Pitch 5: 15m – Climb the delightful corner crack (S4a) to reach a pinnacle belay above.
Pitch 6: 30m – A scrambling descent leads off the ridge and across broken ground leftwards to reach the main ridgeline.
Pitch 7: 35m – Climb a wide crack to gain the arête and follow this to a comfortable belay next to a ledge system on the right.
Pitch 8: 15m – Continue along the crest for a few metres until loose ground forces moves rightwards to an airy belay in a corner.
Pitch 9: 35m – Follow the broad crack and arête, steeply at first, to reach easier ground and a widening in the ridge. Belay well back. Scrambling remains.
Small rack of wires, selection of mid-range cams, plenty of slings for threads and pinnacles, 50m half ropes.
Note, we used half ropes expecting to need to abseil from the summit, but with care a scrambling descent is possible therefore a single 50m rope would be adequate.
Big thanks to Juliette for climbing this with me and for naming it.