Penon d'Ifach
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This has to be one of the classics of the Costa Blanca. A huge limestone rock towering 1000ft up out of the sea. The view from the top has to be seen to be believed. Now, you could walk up the tourist path but to get the real feeling for the moment it has to be climbed.


Penon from the Sea Spot the boat shed at the bottom for scale.


Long multi-pitch routes. Some of the lower graded routes are unbolted so you will need a full rack. The more modern routes are fully bolted. The incredible setting of this mountain makes this a must for any Costa Blanca trip. However be aware that restriction do apply on some cliffs at some times of the year.

This mountain makes for a superb days outing with very easy access and descent and a well earned beer in the bars of Calpe awaiting at the bottom.


bulletVia Velencianos is a classic route of it's grade and a wonderful day out for the relative beginner at multi-pitching. However beware, as the third pitch is becoming extremely polished and will require someone with a bit more experience. This pitch used to be rated as a F4, it now get F5+.
bulletThis mountain should definitely be treated with respect. Wear a helmet! Rock falls are common and when I climbed it in May, it was seagull nesting season and boy can they be nasty. Those splatter bombing runs can leave you wanting to be off the mountain fast.
bulletBe careful on the descent. The tourist path means that a lot of people have trampled the very top of this mountain and the limestone is polished to a fine sheen. Allow enough time for your routes so that you are not having to do this in the dark.
bulletI have also spoken to people who were half way up when the local police started shouting at them. Not understanding Spanish they assumed they were being asked to come down but did not understand why. Our best guess is that it being October the weather was somewhat dicey and if it turns bad it can really blow up a monsoon. It certainly is best not to be on the mountain if it does this. See the Time to Climb page for more info on weather.
bulletIf you get up the route early head for the walkway restaurants and order a seafood paella a magic end to the day. The restaurants are at the bottom of the descent, just as you reach civilisation. 
Thanks to Harvey and Steve Taylor for this tip.
bulletI did the Diedre UBSA this Easter. We took lots of smallish wires & small cams, it being limestone and all that. This was a mistake, it would have been much better to have dumped half the wires and taken big cams & hexes instead. There was a fair bit of choss on some of the pitches too which added to the excitement. I was glad we were the only party on it that day. Having said that, the belays are all on newish bolts and it is a superb route that I'd recommend to anyone. 
Thanks to 'Mr Gimmer' for this advice.

RockFax Routes Database

Check out the Penon page of the RockFax Routes Database for details of routes at Penon.

Favourite Routes

bulletRoute: Miguel Gomez (known as Via Gomez-Cano in RockFax). 6a, 5, 7b(A0/5+), 4, 3+, -, 6a, 6a, 6b

Description: The route is very demanding, very hard. You need strength, you should think in "getting there", which at the ends it means some "A0" (specially if you are a girl, like me). Beautiful, amazing, at the end, sunset at the summit.

Name: Maria Diaz Garcia


bulletRoute: Diedro UBSA -,4+,5+,5,4,5+,-,-,3+,4

Description: Accessible level. Lots of variety, that is the best. Watch out because in the 3rd pitch (I think) there is a quite difficult move, (generally in the guides is sub-rated)

Name: Maria Diaz Garcia

Description: Superb, getting a bit shined now, love the ab from the cave.

Name: Ewen

Description: Each pitch is better than the previous. Wonderfully varied climbing and stunning vistas. Bring med-lg nuts, and Camalots 1-4 only. You can rappel from the entire route with a single 70m. Belay ON TOP of the wedged blocks at the top of the pinnacle on pitch 5. The direct variation through the big hole on pitch 6 is amazing but maybe 6a (not in the guide book).

Name: Stephen Lew


bulletRoute: Costa Blanca 2, 6b, 6b, 6a, 6b+, 6b, 6c+

Description: Immensely enjoyable climbing with a mind-blowing 7th pitch. As good as it gets. We just had draws, but a couple of stoppers or smaller tricams would have been nice. Cruxes are aidable, but make sure you can dog your way up something like 'Kashba' in Sella before starting out, especially if you'll be leading the odd numbered pitches.

Name: Eric Hirst


Description: Excellent climbing!! We avoided the last hard pitch by climbing the last two pitches of Los Miserables making the route a three star 6b+...although you still have to swing through a roof! A good idea if your not feeling up to the 6c+! Take a few medium wires for the grooves on the third pitch as the bolts are spaced and the trad gear is good...enjoy!!

Name: Russell Birkett


bulletRoute: Via Valencianos
Description: Via Valencianos is a wondrous outing! Topping out on the knife-edge ridge and getting that view of all Calpe just can't be beat! The route has at least one bolt at almost every stance, and there were good belays partway through many of the pitches. How the hell you're supposed to do that second pitch in one go without stupid rope-drag I'll never know! Also there is a two-bolt belay above the crux, so it is (as Chris puts it) eminently friggable!
The ridge on Penon

I think its worth noting that the seagulls were a bit of an issue - I climbed this in early June, and although there's no bird ban we did annoy a couple of gulls who were (quite rightly) protecting their chicks. Best advice is avoid the route March-June. Also a helmet is STRONGLY advised, lots of loose rock sitting on ledges (or be first on the route....).

Name: Ian Silvester

And a few comments from Alan James himself:

Navigante is superb with great pitch once you have left the Diedro Ubsa. The finish is a bit gnarly though. I was told it was a one move wonder but in fact the whole pitch is a bit of a thrutch. However as good as Navigante is, Costa Blanca is better and New Dimensions is the best of the lot.

Thanks to Alan James for these comments.

Vote for own Favourite

Vote for your own favourite routes by using this page: Favourite Routes.

View from Via Valencianos

Spot the climber on Diedro UBSA

He's the blue fleck just leaving the top of the pinnacle.