One of the best known routes in the Blanca is the magnificent ridge of Espolón Central on the Puig. The fact that you can see it from the motorway as you drive up and down the coast means that virtually every climber who comes here has contemplated climbing this feature at some stage or another.
I first included it in a guidebook in 1996 in the original Costa Blanca, Mallorca, El Chorro guide. Chris Craggs had already written it up in his Blanca guide from 1990. Since then I have put it in two further editions of the three-area guide, Chris included it in his second Costa Blanca guide from 1997 and finally we both included it in the joint 2005 dedicated Costa Blanca Rockfax. That’s 6 books in all.
So it was a bit of a shock when in December last year I realised that neither Chris nor I had actually climbed this major route. Chris’s original description had been written up by Dave Gregory, my information had come from Rowland Edwards, and the 2005 description was written by Mark Glaister. The information in the 6 books was always good, although the 1996, 1998 and 2001 Rockfax guides tended to confuse the route by describing too many alternatives and extensions.
February this year I was in the Blanca with Mick Ryan. We were staying at the Orange House and had a good weather forecast for the next day – the only decent day of our week trip as it turned out. Well the ascent went without real incident, we got up and down in plenty of time and were soon supping beers in a warm satisfied glow of the early evening sun – a magnificent route ticked in magnificent conditions – the stuff that great memories are made of!I decided to write up my own description for what is almost certainly the best version of the route. There are variations that try and tackle the full ridge from low on the left, and the full ridge in the centre of the face, but the direct start leads to a good and logical direct route up the pillar and adding harder variation pitches, or trying to mess with the line, seem to miss the point really.