The Puig Campana is the emblematic Magic Mountain of the Costa Blanca. It towers over the main tourist resorts centred around Benidorm, Europe’s favourite holiday destination. Tourists stop and stare at its ever changing appearance and an increasing number of them attempt to climb to the summit to enjoy what has been described as the best view in the Mediterranean – “stunning and worth all the sweat and blisters”[Click any image, then down arrow and Info icon to start pesentation]
There are scores of routes to the top, some of which require pro ropes, kit and climbing experience, but all the other routes need climbers/trekkers to be reasonably fit, supplied with warm clothes and a gallon of water each from the Font del Moli just outside the village of Finestrat, the standard start point for the ascent. It’s also the focal point for scores of land and plots now on the market to tempt nature lovers and outdoor types to refurbish old houses or build in own place on the slopes of the Magic Mountain.
The coastal views from the slopes of the Magic Mountain are magically, so the long climb to the summit is worth the effort as some of these gallery images show..
Challenging terrain but rewarding view
Joona Paatalo from Turku, Finland climbed Puig Campana in August 2017 just when temperatures in Costa Blanca hit their peak. Climbers often reply to the question “Why do you climb mountains” with an oblique “Because it’s there.” This is his account of how to climb Puig Campana:
“So we decided to accept the challenge with my girlfriend and went to climb this peak. The weather was really hot, the sun was shining in 32 celsius degrees. We had 5 litres water together and it was way too little.
We started our climb from Finestrat village through Font del Moli and went up straight from southern side. At first the path was pretty good, but as the notch with all the loose rocks started, the terrain became quite difficult. There is a not so clean path going on the right side of the notch, but it’s also rough because the way is so steep. This southern way is tough to go, especially if you aren’t in so good condition. And it must be even worse when getting it down.
The ascend took us about six hours from the village, alone I could’ve done it maybe in four hours.
We went down the northern side and that was easier, only a short area of difficult terrain. After getting down the path we continued the road until Polop and so the descent took about four hours. It’s way easier and recommendable to climb up and down from the northern side.
At the summit the views are stunning and worth all the sweat and blisters, so if you like physical challenges come here. But I recommend to have some kind of map or GPS, because the path is not always so easy to follow and there are many crossroads. The sunset here is incredible.”
Puig Campana features by UK Climbing members
As you drive up and down the coast there is one impressive bit of rock which stands high above all the other impressive bits of rock; the 1406m high Puig Campana behind the small town of Finestrat. Along with the Peñón de Ifach, this mountain has been a focus of climbing in the Costa Blanca since the 1960s.
Owing to the long approach walks, and the existence of other, significantly more accessible crags, the Puig Campana hasn’t been developed nearly as much as it deserves. Despite this, it is still home to some superb and important routes, which will provide many memorable days of climbing for those into long, traditionally protected climbs. The actual climbing is seldom hard, except on the newer routes.
The three main classics on the south face, Espolón Central, Diedro Gallego and Diedro Magicos, along with El Diamante and Espolón Finestrat on the Aguja Encantada, are the only routes on which you are likely to have company. If you enjoy exploring the mountain, the local guide (Escaladas en el Puig Campana by Manolo Pomares) lists 80+ routes on the various faces, enough to keep most people busy for several years.
This is a big mountain with a climate more familiar to big hills than Spanish crags – snow is not unknown up here in winter. The length of the routes means that it will take you most of the day to get up and down your chosen climb and, as there are no professional rescue teams in the region, it is best to chose the right objective according to your skill-set, gear and the available daylight.
It is essential to carry water, but also take some spare clothing for the upper sections, which are frequently colder than you might expect; the top is often shrouded in mist, which makes descents difficult and potentially hazardous. Having said this, you are probably more likely to suffer from sunburn than anything else, so light long-sleeve tops and neck scarves are also a sensible addition to your gear along with the high-factor sun cream.
Approach notes for climbers
The Puig Campana is approached from the village of Finestrat.
From the North or South – Leave the AP-7 at junction 65 or 65a and follow signs for Terra Mitica and then for Finestrat. Once at Finestrat, follow the road round the village to a T-junction. Turn right here (left leads to Sella) then left and drive towards the mountain on the road to the popular water source of the Font de Moli.
Continue along the metalled road, up the hill, around a series of bends and over a bridge. There are usually cars parked here as this is the most popular point to start the walk up to the summit. For climbing, it is quicker to continue for 0.6km to a short track on the right-hand side of the road. Park here and follow a path up the hill for 200m. Just after some pine trees on the right, and by a cairn, is a small track leading off to the right.
Sector Central – Follow the small path until it is possible to scramble up onto a big plateau. A well-marked path leads from here up under the face.
Sector Aguja Encantada – Continue along the lower path until the first track on the right at a junction marked by a cairn. Continue to another cairn which marks a track that zig-zags up the screes directly below the face. This sector stays in the shade longer than the main south face routes.
Image credits: UK Climbing members