Espolón Paiju

1 Stars
 5+

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HVS. The compelling arete is a regional 'classic' following the huge rib towards the right-hand side of the cliff right under the summit of the Peña de Alicante. It has a short crux section that is normally aided to keep the grade at a consistent 5/5+. Take a rack, with a some big stuff. The penultimate pitch is a finely exposed, although rather retro, aided traverse along the diagonal crack that can be seen clearly from the approach track below. The aid section is equipped and will be straightforward for any competent team with a sense of adventure and a couple of foot slings. A little ingenuity with medium wires and cams is required to pass the odd blank gap and one awkward section. The crux aid pitch can be climbed free at a pumpy 6b. The lower pitches don't have much fixed gear.
Start at a cleared patch in the undergrowth just up and right from the lowest part of the rib.
1) 4+, 35m. Climb straight up cracks in the slab and then traverse left to move up a steep corner and belay on the rib.
2) 5, 30m. Climb to a steep crack on the left and then continue up and right to a belay.
3) 5, 35m. Continue up and then right across a terrace to belay in a corner below a steepening in the rib.
4) 4+, 35m. Follow the line up the corner then move right to a belay ledge
5) 4+, 20m. Continue up the groove to below the headwall to a semi-hanging stance on bolts.
6) 5+/A1, 35m. Launch out left along the crack following a variety of fixed gear. Halfway along awkward moves lead down to a niche and back up to rejoin the crack. Belay with wires in a block at the far end of the terrace. Can be free climbed at 6b.
7) 2, 10m. Up the easy gully to the top

USER COMMENTS

Did this in the am in July to avoid the sun. A good route and worth doing although the guidebook description is not accurate. I'm not sure what the guide means as 'big stuff' by way of gear as I don't feel it necessary. The aid pitch is straighforward but strenuous for 5+ and if your 2nd is not strong you may have some problems as there is little the leader can do to help as it's a rising traverse. P1. The traverse to the steep corner looks loose, our alternative was to continue straight up 2 belay on a large block. Then traverse left through bushes, down climb to the steep corner and ascend it on good holds to belay as per description. P2 Ok. P3. Continue up and RIGHT through bushes on terrace. Belay 1 bolt + gear (P3 nearer 35m). P4. CLimb above belay before stepping right onto slabby face, then up to a ledge and belay. P5. climb up and slightly right to headwall and traverse left to belay, bolt, thread and peg. P6. As per guide, though a better belay is is found by continuing 5ms left along the terrace to a mega thread on the back wall. P7. A short easy scramble out.
Rob - 12/Oct/06

Climbed this in August 2008- early morning, all of the route stays in shade. However because the lower pitchs have little fixed gear, except at the belay stances, it is more important to take note of the routefinding. Generally the route follows the rib as per the diagram on page 149. But note P3 should read: 35m, from the stance climb directly up, then move RIGHTWARDS to reach the top of a large flake, good thread, then up to the loose terrace. Scramble up carefully to the stance behind bushes.P4 35m and P5 20m, climb up and slightly right to headwall and traverse left to belay, twin new bolts.There is no longer any sign of a wooden wedge or thread at the stance. There is a rock scar here, so maybe something has dropped off. It is now a semi hanging stance in the rock scar.
P6- it should be mentioned that this is pumpy and sustained, more than the odd hard move. Take plenty of quickdraws for this pitch, which can be broken when you drop down at the niche.
A good route.
Stewart Muir - 05/Sep/08

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