Espolón Central Top 50

3 Stars

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HS. At the top of the scree slope, locate a painted name on the rock 'Esp Central' - there are 2 painted names about 30m apart, the right-hand is the correct one to use. This painted name indicates the direct start.
1) 3+, 30m. From the right-hand painted name move up easily, to the left of a very smooth brown shield of rock, then belay beneath a long corner.
2) 4+, 30m. Climb up the corner, then move up and left onto the arete. Climb the arete (pegs) to a belay at a bolt and peg.
3) 3, 30m. Continue directly up grooves to a big ledge and trees on the left (this ledge is the point at which the Quick Start joins the route).
4) 3+, 40m. Move right a few metres from the big ledge and climb awkwardly up past a sapling at 3m. Continue up corners and cracks and move right to a belay.
5) 1, 12m. Walk/scramble right to belay on the ridge next to a small sapling sticking out horizontally from the rock.
6) 4, 20m. Climb the face of the arete to a ledge, and a peg belay just up and right of a large tree.
7) 4, 45m. Follow the cracks and arete to a good ledge.
8) 4+, 40m. Traverse left to the foot of a crack/groove. Take this with interest to easier ground and a large ledge and tree. A good spot for lunch.
9) 1, 8m. Move up and right a short distance to belay beneath the steep, crack-seamed wall
FA. J.Roig, C.Torregrosa, M.Gascon 1965


big day out, sat in car waiting for just enough light to set off on walk, takes about an hour to get to bottom of the gully you use if you want to miss out the first 3 pitches. Did'nt have too much problems following the route, stuck to the most worn bits of rock though where it is easier thats all over. near the final sections a few what felt like harder moves for the grade on each pitch but soon past then and onto big jugs. went past some of the earlier belays but higher up a lot of new bolts have been put in on the belays. says there is a 2 foot red dot where you need to end climb and start traverse path?? never saw it but just to left of a big bush as you look up half way up final pitch there is a new 8 inch bright red dot, level with this is a big ledge follow it right all way round and you will come to a short corner decent protected by a wire cable. We had no trouble getting down as long as you keep going on the wire and red dots and cairnes all the way to where the scree of the path up meets the path down. car to car was 8 hours
chris elfleet - 29/Jan/06

lots of new bolts at the higher belays, route finding lower down harder than higher pitches where you can follow the bulk of the worn rock. on the traverse pitch dont be tempted to follow the tat up before the move around the arete, the tat is where people have gone wrong and put something in to lower back onto route. follow the red dots and cables all the way to the scree
chris elfleet - 29/Jan/06

Fantastic day out - we had brilliant weather. If you use 60m ropes you can run pitches together, we did it in 10 rather than 13. About half the route is fairly easy scrambling, the rest around vd-sev. The Mark Glaister writeup in the Apr (?) 2006 climber on this route is well worth getting - has some updates to the Rockfax desc. It also has a picture of the finish "red dot" you're aiming for at the top of pitch 13. From this, contour around about 20-30m to the right, at the same height, for the start of the cables. When you get to the end of the cables don't be tempted to descend, keep going across and down, following path, cairns and red dots. The descent would be "interesting" in cloud - and downright worrying at night...don't forget your headtorch!
Paul Evans - 09/Apr/07

If your anywhere near this then its a must. Excellent day out!!
Trevor Olive - 16/May/07

A utterly fantastic and LONG day out! Don't hang around - it'll take you longer than you think. The scoop though (all credit to Rich at The Orange House for this info) is that the line shown in the picture in the Rockfax guide is quite wrong. There are four areas in which it deviates from the true line.

1. The description for pitch 4 is correct, but the line drawn does not match it; you arc much higher than the line suggests (the inset pic is closer to the mark) but still not high enough). When you arrive at the slab after pitch 3 (it's obvious) you will find a scratched arrow pointing diagonally up and left. Don't worry, you don't go leftwards at all, it's just trying it's best to stop you going any further right along the ledge. It is here that you 'Climb the slab to the tree'; straight up. We traversed right a little sketchily (4+) before we got up to the tree, but if you do go straight up you'll reach a huge ledge system along which you can scramble rightwards and downwards to reach a nice ledge 10 metres or so left of the arete. It's easy to run together pitches 5 & 6 from here without rope drag.

2. The line for pitches 6 & 7 is right on the arete (the edge of the shadow), not to the left as the book shows. The inset is nearer the mark, but throws in a mysterious extra belay.

3. The desciption and line for pitch 9 are wrong, or at the very least are not in keeping with the grade of the rest of the route. From the big tree, head up and leftwards and you'll find an obvious stance below a rightward-trending groove/crack. Follow up this to the big ledge, then traverse rightwards onto the arete and up to a bolted belay (not shown in the book).

4. From here on the belays are bolted and not at the locations shown in the guide. The true line also trends slowly rightwards of that shown in the book, and finishes to the left of the words 'descent lines' - strangely enough right where one of those blue lines begins!

At the route's end there are a number of faded red dots, and it's pretty obvious the direction in which you should go to follow the descent route.
Ian Silvester - 28/Sep/07

Nice route, allow time for the decent, it could be very tricky to follow in the dark.
Pitch 11 was more like 30m than 50m.
gerald duffy - 07/Mar/08

Had a great day on the route following the new downloaded topo available from rock fax, which I found better than the version in the guide book. There are new belay bolts in at all of the belays but they are set up for 60m ropes so beware after pitch 10 as you always seem to miss them by 5-10m. Completed the route in 5 1/2 hrs in good weather, the walk off / scramble is the worst I think I have ever done.
jon - 03/Apr/10

rope soloed 15 years ago, very good.
Andy Hulland - 28/Dec/11

A great day out-get a very early start unless you are a superfast climber, particularly now that the Feb 13 RF shows what was the "direct" start as the "normal" way onto the route. This will add on a fair bit of time, as it is an extra 3 pitches compared to the "quick start" (P.205) which a lot of teams soloed. Chris Heald
skiptonchris - 02/Mar/14

Brilliant route! Did it in 3 hours 40 mins (had done it before though).
Some tips for faster teams wanting to by-pass traffic:
If you are a team of two, skip the double ropes and use a single 60.
First two pitches can be combined into a 50 meter pitch. Step out on to the arête rather early instead of the corner/groove and continue up to the double bolt belay on top of pitch two.
Instead of following the route description from here, climb up trending right. With a bit of simul-climbing the ledge from where the fun begins at the base of pitch 6 can be reached. Radio's useful for this type of climbing as communication could be very difficult otherwise.
From the lunch ledge a few pitches up, following the corner up as the description is the best option, but to pass traffic a somewhat loose line to the left can be taken. If staying left the next belay can be by-passed. Continue up a bit and belay from a bolt and sling a way up the next pitch, extending for a comfortable belay.
From here on passing traffic is probably harder, but I haven't had to.
Mike C - 29/Apr/15

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