Costa Blanca Mountain Ridges - Els Casals ridge in profile
Els Casals ridge, Penya del Mighorn: Costa Blanca Mountain Ridges
Last night a friend sent over a photo taken of a ridge high above Guadalest. It looked magnificent and I could see why Tom was so keen to go check it out. Within half an hour we had a plan and I was packing for an adventure day in the mountains.
There is a tiny road that climbs high up into the mountains between Castell de Castells and Guadalest, I parked up at the top of this road by 9am this morning and began the long descent towards Guadalest to meet Tom.
We followed the surfaced lane alongside the reservoir for a while before turning off onto a small track leading up to a casita (with big dogs on guard). The good track didn’t last long, they rarely do, but neither of us were bothered by the lack of a defined way, that’s why we’re doing it.
After what seemed like a long ascent through lots of loose scree, we arrived at the base of the ridge. It was considerably bigger than either of us had imagined. A little daunting perhaps. We found a line of weakness up the rocks and decided to start there.
Sorting the kit out, taking time to check route options and escape choices, should they be needed all takes time but is time very well spent. Tom led off first, an easy start but far looser than it looked. He threw a few medium sized blocks of rock off, this did not bode well. Tom made a belay and I followed up to him.
Looking above at what was to be my pitch, I wasn’t feeling inspired, but definitely had my ‘adventure hat’ on and was keen to investigate further. So up I went. The loose rock theme continued, but this time the terrain was steeper and a fall would have been grim, something I was keen to avoid. After some deliberation it was decided a retreat was in order.
As we were part way into pitch 2 and surrounded by suspect rock with suspect protection, this wasn’t going to be an easy or enjoyable task. It is however what we sign up for on days like this and are always prepared for it.
About an hour later and having managed to only leave 2 nuts in the rock, we were safely back on level ground, all good. So now we’re all the way up in the mountains, how do we make best use of the time here? Hunt for more solid rock of course……
We followed scree runs and goat tracks to the right of the ridge and soon realised it would likely be possible to join the ridge much higher up and gain the summit of the mountain that way. A lung busting ascent of the scree followed but soon enough we were on the ridge, only much higher. We were delighted to find solid rock and amazing positions, what a treat.
Looking back down the mid-section of ridge we agreed it looked no better than the base where we’d started. So we hadn’t missed anything. We pressed on, enjoying delightful scrambling all the way up to the summit of Penya del Mighorn. A summit neither of us had even been before and looked like not many others have either.
Views from the summit were sublime. Aixorta, Mallada del Llop, Aitana, Puig Campana to name just a few. From here we had two routes choices to reach the roadside. A longer route that would reach a big track sooner, or a shorter route over some rougher terrain. We chose the path less travelled of course, that’s what adventure is all about.
So lots of bush-whacking later we arrived at the col where I was parked. The sun now much lower in the sky but still bright and now allowing the mountains to cast their shadows. It is a privilege to see such sights and to have such wonderful adventures in the mountains.
A day out in the mountains will always have an element of adventure, it’s why almost everyone chooses to go. Some days have a bigger element of adventure than others. Today was one of those days and all the better for it.
Thanks to Tom for joining me and suggesting it. For more about the accommodation Tom offers in the mountain village of Abdet check out his website here.
We spend lots of time researching and checking routes not only for ourselves but so others can enjoy them too. There are many Costa Blanca Mountain Ridges and many amazing mountain days throughout the region. For more check out our New Cicerone guidebook here.
And to find out more about what we offer in the region and back in the Lake District check out our Homepage
Thanks for reading
Penyo la Neu - Costa Blanca Mountain Ridges
Me at the base of the ridge - photo courtesy of Thomas Phillips
Tom at the top of the ridge - Costa Blanca Mountain Ridges
Retreating from the lower section of ridge
A dreamy morning in the Guadalest valley - Costa Blanca Mountain Ridges