Last Tuesday me and Kim had a big day out on the most iconic mountain in the Alicante region, Puig Campana. We are both fairly familiar with the mountain having climbed a few routes and repeated them all too. Wanting a 'mountaineering' style day out, we naturally choose Puig Campana, but wanted to try a different route. The guidebook has been out of print for many years and route information can be difficult to come by. Two routes of interest were 'Sud Oeste Integral' and 'Sin Nombre'. Both similar grades (5) but we realised that we'd already climbed lots of the Sud Oeste Integral, so opted for Sin Nombre (No Name).
After some research we found a vague topo showing an outline of the 9 pitches. We had no description to accompany this. but felt happy this was enough.
At a claimed 300m we decided an early start wasn't necessary, so set out from the parking area above Finestrat shortly after 10am and were touching rock by 11am. We were the only climbers on the mountain that day. A late start was to prove an oversight.
As the information we had was limited, I spent time during the approach walk trying to absorb as much information about the route as possible. It was in full view for most of the approach. I could visualise a lot of the climbing and where belays might be, what the 'big ledge' would be like and I also considered potential escape options.
Once on the route the rock felt good, great in fact. Pitch 1 gave really good climbing on sound rock. In fact, much of the climbing was great and on fantastic rock, albeit interspersed with a few hollow / wobbly blocks, typical of a big mountain route.
Pitch 3 gave the first really challenging climbing, but this was well protected so felt good and was interesting. A couple more long-is pitches rambled mostly rightwards, keeping to easier terrain before a final sweep left landed us on the massive mid-way ledge. This was quite different to how I'd imagined it, but spacious and comfortable all the same. It was so big, finding the continuation pitches proved quite tricky. We did and away we went again, up the left arete which gave impressive exposure. A hard section followed and I was by now feeling knackered, so asked Kim to take over the lead. She led this upper crux in fine style.
The difficulties now behind us, but more climbing followed, I think 2 long pitches of easy climbing / scrambling before we decided it was time to put the rope away. We had actually come slightly too high and needed to descent to reach the top of Espolon Central where our descent would start.
The original plan was to continue to the summit via The Edwards Finish (VS). Time was no longer on our side, it was already gone 5pm and we had a long way to go to get off the technical terrain. Cables have now been installed for much of the descent from Espolon Central, making retreat this way a little safer and significantly quicker.
We arrived back at the roadside shortly after dark, tired but happy.
Having climbed about 10 pitches and maybe 350m, with challenging route-finding the whole time and being the only climbers up there all day. We felt privileged to have been granted a safe passage up and down. We didn't complete our objective to reach the notch high on the mountain, but that will always be secondary to a safe day.
The Puig Campana continues to be an inspiration and will no doubt draw climbers for many years to come. Most routes on there are mountaineering days with all that implies. Any climbers visiting the region on a Costa-clip-up holiday may want to have a look at this place for an alternative day. Expect long pitches, changeable weather, a long and technical descent, spaced protection and occasional loose rock. But what a brilliant adventure 🙂
If visiting the Costa Blanca and looking for inspiration for adventure days out check out our new Cicerone guidebook here