Diedros Mágicos

On our last day we headed up to the the impressive south face of Puig Campana to climb the classic corner of Diedros Mágicos which is a 5 pitch f6a. Unusually for Spain, the route had no bolts other than for the belays which gave the route a UK grade of E1.

Also unusually for Spain there was actually a decent size walk in, although it looked pretty short from the car as the south face is so large. After a hot walk in with a fantastic view of the south face, we were soon at the crag which other than a team on the classic ridge of Espolón Central we had to ourselves.

Looking up at Diedros Mágicos in the morning

Looking up at Diedros Mágicos in the morning

Almost at the base of the route

Almost at the base of the route

From below the groove of Diedros Mágicos looked very impressive so I was pretty psyched to get onto the route and the lack of bolts made me even more excited. The first pitch was much harder than I was expecting, but the climbing was amazing. It involved excellent bridging and laybacking up the steep corner, with excellent unpolished rock, loads of gear and it finished at a very comfy cave belay.

 

Becky on the steep first pitch

Becky on the steep first pitch

The next two pitches involved more of the same, just a bit easier. At the end of the third pitch there was an excellent traverse over to a ledge, there is a vital flake at the start of this traverse which was very loose and will fall off at some point. The fourth pitch was meant to be very easy, but it turned out to involve enjoyable technical climbing which found the line of least resistance up a series of corners and cracks.

 

Approaching the exposed traverse on P3

Approaching the exposed traverse on P3

Local wildlife

Local wildlife

The penultimate belay was on a comfortable ledge below the outstanding final 50m long crux pitch which surprisingly was also not protected by bolts. This involved interesting climbing up to a roof, before some very hard & insecure (but well protected) moves out to the right into the corner above. A few easier moves lead to the second crux which was getting established in the left hand corner above, which was easier than the first but again very well protected. After this some easier climbing lead up to the final belay.

 

Becky approaching the final groove

Becky approaching the final groove

Long way down from the top

Long way down from the top

Summit selfie

Summit selfie

We quickly abseiled down the ground in four abseils down a bolted abseil line and made a hasty retreat back down to the car in order to get back to the airport for our flight home, late flights do have their advantages! (but did mean that we didn’t get home until 2am!)

Looking back up to Puig Campana in the evening

Looking back up to Puig Campana in the evening

Diedros Mágicos was an excellent finish to a brilliant trip, it was great to get on a long traditionally protected route with no polish. As the first few pitches were harder than I was expecting it made it a really balanced & sustained route, with most pitches feeling like HVS apart from the final pitch which was a solid E1. I thought the grades of the pitches were more like 5+, 5, 5, 5+, 6a+.

El Dorado

As we didn’t have time to climb El Dorado yesterday we had another chilled out start this morning with the aim of climbing El Dorado in the afternoon. To warm up we headed to the main cliffs of Sierra de Toix for a few sport routes in the morning.

El Dorado is an impressive line up a striking cliff face above the sea below Sierra de Toix. The first pitch is an exposed traverse onto a ledge below the main groove line, while the climbing was never hard it was pretty serious due to a lack of bolts or natural gear. The main pitches then follow a huge groove line up the cliff, from the bottom this looks incredibly intimidating as it is incredibly steep.

The climbing up the main pitch was absolutely fantastic, it is now also fully equipped with good bolts so it was just a case of enjoying the outstanding climbing. The route was impressively steep, but generally the holds were excellent so it was often possible to get the weight off your arms. This just lead to a brilliant atmospheric pitch, from the hanging belay towards the top of the groove the view down was fairly impressive and exposed.

The third pitch had a thin technical traverse to gain the final slab which had some enjoyable climbing up to the finishing ledge. Two easy abseils lead back down to the ground, the second one was fairly exposed as it went over a large overhang, which I was surprised to see a line of bolts through!

A long way down on P2

A long way down on P2

Sustained & steep climbing

Sustained & steep climbing

Nearly at the belay!

Nearly at the belay!

Slabby finish to the top pitch

Slabby finish to the top pitch

Abseiling back down

Abseiling back down

Glorious evening light

Glorious evening light

Impressive cliff

Impressive cliff

Magical Mystery Tour

After a mountaineering day out yesterday it was back to rock climbing today. We had planned on climbing the classic El Dorado in the afternoon and something else in the morning. After a very leisurely start which involved eating breakfast in the sun, we decided to head for Magical Mystery Tour which is described as a classic expedition in the guidebook.

The guidebook says that the route requires trad gear and is HVS 5a in UK grades, but it is now fully bolted and is certainly not HVS and I am not sure where the 5a the guidebook referred to was. If you aren’t confident climbing f5 then a set of wires may not be a bad idea for the final pitch.

The start of the route was an superb 40m free hanging abseil which was very atmospheric. The first few pitches were very easy and thankfully a slower party in front of us kindly let us past them on these pitches.

The main pitches of the route involved excellent climbing with lots of exposed traversing and enjoyable climbing. The climbing was never hard, but the atmosphere of the route was brilliant and it was just really enjoyable.

After this time was getting on, and we didn’t really feel like heading over to El Dorado, so headed up to some sport and enjoyed a few routes in the setting sun. The light in the evening was really surreal with strange cloud formations, and beautiful mist forming in the lowlands above Benidorm.

Exposed free hanging abseil

Exposed free hanging abseil

Atmospheric Abseil

Atmospheric Abseil

Exposed traverse on P2

Exposed traverse on P2

Becky leading the third pitch

Becky leading the third pitch

Excellent positions

Excellent positions

Another team on P2

Another team on P2

Becky on the last few moves

Becky on the last few moves

Weird evening clouds

Weird evening clouds

Bernia Ridge Traverse

After a few days of climbing we decided to enjoy the excellent weather with a mountaineering day out. We headed for the classic traverse of the Bernia, which is an excellent scramble which is like Crib Goch on steroids. For it’s entire length it has interesting and often exposed scrambling, with a very short section of climbing in the middle.

As the guidebook said that the estimated time was 5-10 hours we had a fairly early start to ensure that we had enough light, this had the added advantage that we weren’t walking up to the start of the ridge in the full heat of the day. As soon as we started scrambling along the ridge we were greeted with excellent exposure, interesting scrambling with some enjoyable down climbing.

 

Hot walk up to the start of the ridge

Hot walk up to the start of the ridge

Exposed scrambling on the ridge

Exposed scrambling on the ridge

Exposed walking

Exposed walking

Great positions at the start of the ridge

Great positions at the start of the ridge

Great views on the ridge

Great views on the ridge

We made really good time along the technical section and we were soon at the single graded pitch, which was as expected a bolt ladder which needed no gear. The climbing was up a very strange section of rock which had three vertical fins which were attached to a weird curving ridge. From here a short section of scrambling up the ridge lead to the end of the main technical section.

 

Weird Rock Formations

Weird Rock Formations

Dave climbing the crux

Dave climbing the crux

The team near the end of the ridge

The team near the end of the ridge

More scrambling...

More scrambling…

We thought we were nearly at the top!

We thought we were nearly at the top!

Exposed positions!

Exposed positions!

Despite the warning in the guidebook that the last section was a bit tedious and had lots of false summits, were were very surprised at how long the final section went on for and just how many false summits there were! At one point I started getting annoyed at one of the false summits having it’s own false summits.

Finally near the summit

Finally near the summit

Approaching the summit

Approaching the summit

Summit Selfie #1

Summit Selfie #1

Summit Selfie #2

Summit Selfie #2

Looking back down the ridge

Looking back down the ridge

Descending

Descending

Eventually we got to the final summit which had excellent views of the surrounding countryside, an quick descent down to the main tourist path gave us an easy walk back to the car. We were pleased to discover that the restaurant by the car was open so enjoyed a cold beer in the sun at the end of the day.