Upon seeing the huge Roldan’s Notch on the Puig Campana during my first visit to the Costa Blanca, it was firmly on the ‘to-do’ list to pay it a visit. Anyone even remotely interested in mountains will know why as soon as they see it.
Firstly, the Puig Campana is the most dramatic and shapely mountain in the region, although not quite the highest, that accolade goes to Aitana, its neighbour. Puig Campana, or just ‘The Puch’ as many refer to it, has masses of fantastic rock climbing to offer, and these aren’t little climbs, but generally in the 200m+ category with one route in particular taking in around 1650m of actual climbing as it weaves an intricate route from the very base to the southeast summit.
We’ve done a few routes on these massive faces, and there is still lots more for us to explore on this mountain. This week we added another route to the ‘done that’ list. The Edwards Finish to Espolon Central. This route covers around 500m of ground including some fantastic scrambling terrain as well as 3 fine pitches of climbing at around VS. On previous visitis to the top of the main climbs we’ve always been either too tired or it’s been a little too late in the day to continue and get this route done.
So that all changed this week, as we hatched a plan to stand on the southeast summit and more importantly, stand in Roldan’s Notch – if you’ve seen the notch you’ll just know, if you haven’t please do have a Google of it – the absolutely massive gash in the top of the mountain. This is just a wow place, I was struggling for words and still am.
So what was the route like?
The Edwards Finish – Very Severe
We started from the top of Espolon Central and scrambled over pinnacles for about 200m. These took us to very exposed terrain and for this reason we roped up and moved together in Alpine style. The pinnacles could be avoided on the right, but this would be missing the point, on mountain routes it’s the positions that make the day, so get in the best ones, always. Towards the end of this scrambling section, the exposure became quite breath taking, I think possibly the most exposed place I have ever been, and there have been quite a few!
Now for the climbing. An easy but wildly exposed pitch to start and takes us up to a big chock stone. The next pitch tackled a clean wall of fine rock before following a blunt rib, this was difficult to follow. The final climbing pitch was another good one, up a wall at about 4a/b to easier ground and a levelling. From here onwards we soloed up to the southeast summit and took our first close up glimpse into the mystical notch, wow! It was actually a bit scary and certainly very humbling to be so small in such a massive feature.
An easy path led us into the notch and at last we stood at the base of it, dwarfed and insignificant, but feeling pretty amazing.
Looking inland we spied the Castellets ridge, which was far below and looked tiny, as did the crags of Sella. Only the massive walls on El Divino and Aitana looked at all impressive from up here.
During our descent we happened upon a bivi spot which looked really nice. 1 abseil of 25m took us onto easier terrain leading into the big gully which we joined for the epic descent.
What a day, they don’t get as good as this very often. Big thanks to Neil for joining me on this adventure.