Scrambles
Home Up Canyoning Scrambles Via Ferrata

 

There are now a number of well established scramble routes in the Costa Blanca. The best of these are truly awe inspiring. I have only done the Bernia so if anyone has information on the Castellat or any other scrambles then please email me on a_bates@hotmail.com.

The Costa Blanca Mountain Friends website has a brief introduction to a few of the scrambles on their Walking, Hiking & Scrambling Routes 1, Routes 2 & Routes 3 pages.

Castellat Ridge

There is some information on the Castellat ridge on Howard Jones' website.

There is also quite a good write up in PDF format on the Compass West website.

Bernia Ridge

What a fantastic day out. I am convinced that this landmark of the Costa Blanca will become as significant to the area as say the Penon d'Ifach or the Sella valley. The Bernia Ridge is 4.5 Km long with consistently stunning exposure on both sides. The route is very well way marked with red dots which is useful as it drops from one side to the other always finding the easiest line. Nicely, the climb up to the ridge is on the North face so you are in shade. The descent is via a obvious line down a scree slope. Unfortunately this is the end of the obvious path and you then have to force your way through very sharp thorn bushes.

Bernia Ridge from the South side. Bernia Ridge from the South side.

Thanks to Chris Lilley

Directions

The following google map shows how to get to the restaurant where you can park.


View Larger Map

Guide

There is a very useful guide to this ridge produced by Paolo Fubira & Chris Newton-Goverd. This is a very high quality guide and the one I used when I did the ridge. It gives good directions of how to get to the parking spot as well as the ridge itself. You can find a copy of the guide on the University of York website.

Technical details

bulletScrambling up to grade 3
bulletOne pitch of grade F4 climb 
bullet5 or 6 abseils all of which are fully bolted
bulletThere are also a number of bolted exposed traverses.

Equipment Required

bullet40m rope for the abseils
bulletStout walking boots
bulletrocks boots if you are not confident climbing F4 in walking boots

Tips

bulletWear long trousers. The descent is through fairly dense undergrowth of the extremely prickly variety.
bulletTake a platypus water bottle with you. The ability to be able to be continually supping on water is invaluable.
bulletAllow 8-9 hours for the full traverse, you don't want to be finding your way down through those bushes in the dark and you certainly don't want to still be on the ridge.
bulletTake some money so that you can have a beer in the Bernia restaurant when you get back to the car. Go on. You deserve it.

 

Thanks to Simon Caldwell 

The York Alpine Club website has a trip report from 2003 that gives a write up of the Bernia Ridge. There are also some great photos to wet your appetite.

David Mora Garcia has recently posted the following advice:

The Bernia Ridge is great scrambling. The best option is to start in Casas del Bernia and then follow to the Bernia Hole (following the PR V 7 to the left). East to West. When you finish the hardest part (3/4 of the ridge) you will arrive to the easiest part (to arrive to the summit). It is possible to return to the car going down to the right (the last abseil).

Better is follow to the summit and return by the normal route, rounding the Bernia Summit then, and taking again the PR V 7. Not less than 8 or 9 hours, normally. Start early and carry water. The ridge is fantastic.

Thanks to David Mora Garcia for these tips.

 
The Crux (about F4)

Thanks to Simon Caldwell

The Bridge

Thanks to Simon Caldwell

 

Crest of Benicadell

If you head North out of Alcoy on the N-340 you will pass a mountain on your right. The crest of which forms a 1500ft scramble. I have received a guide to this route written by Trevor Allen:

Thanks to Trevor Allen 

Park at the refuge, 'Casa Forestal' then walk up the tarmac road until you come to a four wheel track branching off to the left. Follow this track until you see an obvious footpath on the right that runs parallel to the ridge. It first starts out as a good path but as it progresses it slowly decreases in size until only a few cairns and patches of faint erosion shows you which way to go. Eventually a long, loose, scree slope descends the hillside until you are nearly level with the foot of the ridge. It only needs a short traverse then to reach an obviously used area below a cavelike recess up from the eastern foot of the ridge. 

The Spanish guidebook states that the start of the route is supposed to be up an easy gully somewhere on the northern flank of the ridge, (maybe 100 mts up from its foot) but we haven't found it as yet. However, the ridge can be started by gaining access near its lowest point. On the right-hand side of the ridge, a small way up from its foot, there is an obvious cavelike recess. This gives access to the upper groove and so on to the ridge proper. There are two pitches to climb to gain the ridge which are about 4+ and 4. It starts in the cavelike recess, goes up over the bulge, (ring peg), traverses leftwards (peg) to an obvious belay at the foot of a groove. Pitch two goes straight up the groove (peg) until you reach the ridge proper. The long scramble starts here and a rope is only optional as to ones feelings. 

Further on, up the ridge, there are several climbing pitches. The first being an easy groove. The second is where there is a very steep wall with a thread up high on the face. On the left of this is a wide crack and the route traverses past this for twenty feet (peg) then comes back right to a short steep wall (peg) which puts you above the belay that you started from. This is the last serious piece of climbing before one reaches the summit. The descent follows a very good footpath that zigzags down the north side of the mountain back to the road.

If all else fails. One can also gain the ridge from the Gayanes side but the descent down from the summit on that side of the mountain isn't easy.

Thanks to Trevor Allen for this guide.

 

A good selection of photos from the scramble can be found on this page of the Paco Flor website.

 

Guidebook

I have heard from David Mora Garcia that there is a guide currently being developed by the Mountain Federation of Valencia (the governing body for climbing in the Costa Blanca area) that will cover scrambles.

The guide will cover all mountains in the Valencian area (including Bernia, Puig Campana, Castellets full topo, Benicadell, and much more). They are hoping to finish the work this summer (2004) and then to get it printed in October.