But hey, it’s absolutely fantastic and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
It has been a few years since I first climbed on Cabezon d’Oro, leading 2 friends up the classic line of ‘Via Gene’ a 7 pitch VS going all the way up to the summit ridge. But Kate was yet to climb this route and rather keen, so today we set off south in search of 7 pitch mountain routes.
An easy approach walk is always a good start, especially so after Puig Campana yesterday! 30 minutes on good tracks to reach the start, sweet. And no need to remember where the route starts, the name is scratched onto the rock, just gotta love Spain for these fine touches. As a back up I did have a route description with me, but once on the route I recognised it all. The pitch lengths in the Rockfax guide are incorrect and in brief are much closer to:
30m; 35m; 40m; 40m; 35m; 35m; 40m
And the abseils off the back: 35m & 25m
I actually made the effort to measure most of these with a degree of accuracy, but they won’t be 100% so if doing this route have either a 70m single of 50m half ropes as an absolute minimum.
For the first 3 pitches we were in the shade and with a strong wind blowing were freezing! This wasn’t a good start and not how we imagined the day to pan out. Thankfully, during pitch 4 I climbed into the sun and wow did that made a world of difference, probably doubling the temperature. This was perfect timing as at the next belay ledge we meet all the other climbers on the crag (2 more parties and 5 more climbers in total). This led to a backlog and quite a wait for us. In the warm sun this was no hardship, just gave us time for a food and drink stop and some rest whilst we watched the others on their chosen routes above.
Our route veered abruptly leftwards taking us well out of the way of the other climbers as we traversed into a prominent groove which proved a delight to climb. Another pitch above gave some fantastic exposure whilst following an arête up to big ledges just below the summit ridge. An easy pitch to finish where we found a newly installed abseil station, always a nice sight.
As we were climbing on 50m half ropes we just needed 2 abseils to reach the scree gully, so all easy peasy. The descent down the scree is not so pleasing, it is very steep and very loose so great care is needed and still falling over is almost certain! Once beyond the horror show scree it’s back to nice tracks and an easy stroll back to the road.
What’s good about this route?
It is a long mountain trad route with only a few bolts at belay stations and a few old pegs to mark the way, so traditional leader placed protection is required. This instantly makes for a more interesting and memorable day out.
Any route of this length is committing and requires forward planning as well as route finding skills, all of which add to the adventure.
An abseil descent always leaves a little uncertainty right to the very end and what is an adventure if not a little uncertain. Will the ropes behave or will they decide to become one with a tree/rock/bush? Thankfully our ropes were kind to us and there were no dramas.
Walking out from the climb at the end of a great day out, we get to look back up and pick out the line of the route. This is something I really love doing, to remember where we were and playback the feelings in my head.
Cabezon d’Oro, thank you for a great day out and thanks too to Kate for her good company and much rope sorting and flaking during the day.
We offer guiding and instruction in the Lake District and Costa Blanca. If you have a route in mind or want to develop your climbing and mountain skills, get in touch and let’s make a plan.
Thanks for reading.