Puig Campana Mountaineering Routes - Roldans Notch
The very first time I visited Costa Blanca on a climbing trip, the Puig Campana caught my eye and interest. On that trip we only made it as far as the base of the mountain and were turned back by the threat of poor weather. We did however make good use of the time and had a good poke around to check out where various routes started and what possible escape options might exist.
A good friend muttered the words ‘Time spent in reconnaissance is time well spent’ and this cheered us all up a little at the time. Those words have stayed with me and I do seem to refer to them quite often, it’s maybe a mountain thing. So often it is necessary to walk away from a route or objective due to all sorts of reasons. But the time can still be well spent. So thanks for this Kim Jackson of walkclimbdartmoor.uk
Puig Campana Mountaineering Routes - topo showing our route to Roldan's Notch
A month later I was back in Costa Blanca with Kate. Sights were set on the classic ‘Espolon Central’ and we got the weather window needed for it. The route was brilliant, a day to remember for ever. Over 400m of climbing followed by a technical and exposed descent route. For more about this and other big routes have at look at our blog here
I have since climbed Espolon Central numerous times as well as various other big routes on Puig Campana. All have proved to be magnificent adventurous days out. What I was keen to find was a route to take us to the big notch (Roldans Notch) that was more scrambling than climbing, so a more relaxed ascent speed could be adopted. Good for slower teams too.
This led me back to a route called ‘El Moro’ a HVD towards the right side of the main crag. To quote another friend, this is more ‘Climbing rocks than rock’ – thanks Susan. This is more of a scrambling route with some climbing pitches, just what I was looking for. The route finishes on the descent route for Espolon Central, so doesn’t naturally include the big notch. We had no idea what terrain lay beyond this point, but I felt confident we would work out a way to reach it and cover some fun ground.
Directly above are easy angled walls and we climbed these, soon leading to a fine ridge, all easy ground and definitely more scrambling than climbing. We kept on linking sections of good rock, even finding occasional fixed gear. All the while I was keeping note of where we were in relation to other routes I knew, just in case we needed to bail.
The terrain started to ease considerably, we put the rope away and took a breather. The moment we set off again the big notch came into view, we were almost there. An easy 10 minutes of walking / scrambling and we were stood in the notch. This was the first time Kate had been here and it had been on the tick list for years.
Scrambling rack for our route on Puig Campana
Coiling the rope before heading into the big notch
Roldan's Notch - Puig Campana Mountaineering Routes
After spending some time taking in the view and simply marvelling at the scale of the place. We began our descent. Straightforward but exposed down-scrambling following the cairns leads to an abseil point. The scrambling becomes trickier when nearing the abseil station and more bolts are in place to protect this if wanted. A 25m abseil reaches easy terrain at the base of a slab. 5 minutes later we are in the big gully, if you know, you know! A sort of scree run/slide for a long way gets us back to the base of the crag.
We take our time as it is still quite early. Making sure to look back at the massive rock face of Puig Campana. From the roadside it looks massive, but it’s only really when near the base that the scale can be fully appreciated.
Yet on the whole mountain today, it was just us and one other party of climbers who were on Diedro Magicos (Magic Corners).
So if looking for a mountaineering style day out when in Costa Blanca and want more scrambling than climbing, this is a route worth considering.
For many more ideas about what to do in the area please check out our new Cicerone guidebook Costa Blanca Mountain Adventures.
Thanks for reading