Levante Sud – Mula Sector Ferrari and Cieza Sector El Puente

The two-volume Levante Climbs books were only published in 2019, but have already been largely supplanted as the main reference point for Costa Blanca climbing by the Roberto Lopez guide. To be honest, the layout makes them borderline unusable – I know someone who resorted to chopping up their copy and reordering the pages – he had the weird idea that having the description and the approach next to the topos might be useful 🤔

Anyway, their redeeming feature is that their scope extends further north and south than CB climbs, and if you are patient the information for a whole bunch of additional crags is buried somewhere in there – including these couple of venues in the Murcia Region…

Mula Sector Ferrari is a real suntrap, accessed from above in only a few minutes from the parking (albeit along a couple of km of gravel road). It has a great outlook too, only a little spoilt by the RN15 running beneath.

The rock is a sandy limestone, strewn with pockets, though unfortunately prone to polish. Oh, and for the most part it’s STEEP! We arrived at a fairly leisurely hour, and a bunch of strong locals were already pulling hard having taken advantage of the cooler temperatures earlier, before packing in for an early siesta. Before long it was just us and an Eastern European couple who were daft enough to put up with the heat, plus a more relaxed Spanish team.

There’s a bunch of 6s as you arrive at the crag, and a further set of more amenable routes at the far right of the climbing, with a lot of beyond-vertical territory in-between.

We headed for the farther routes and did a few while we waited for the central sector to quieten down. We did La Hija Silvia, 6a, which has a tough section for the first 5m but then becomes a more enjoyable experience – the same can be said for the other routes hereabouts, but the location of the tricky bit varies. The middle bit of the classic Diedroki provides the difficulties, whereas La Ultima (below) saves it for a sting in the tail. They could all happily warrant an extra grade bump.

With the crowds thinned out, I tied on beneath Sikadur, 7a+ – more in hope than expectation, but I’d fought my way up it on our only previous visit and remembered it being fantastic. The person in yellow pants in the picture below is belaying someone on it, which gives an idea of the steepness.

You venture sideways through overhanging blocky terrain and then sketch across a steep wall to get established on an undercut arete in quite an intimidating position. A scuttle back around the arete enables more height to be gained until progress is blocked by a huge roof, forcing you back around the arete to grapple with a smaller roof instead. Urgent pulling with the aid of a couple of baggy jams gets you to the chains. Awesome! Lowering off you end up almost 10m out from the foot of the crag – looking tired but chuffed – see below:

I probably should have called it a day there, but I was bowled along by a wave of positive vibes and threw myself at the massively overhanging crack of Fissuros, 7a, without really noticing how run out it was. A couple of ventures way beyond the 3rd clip had me calling down for the clip stick – hey ho; it would have been a different story with a couple of grey camalots!

Not far from Mula is the pretty, partly fortified town of Cieza. We’d visited Sector Atalaya near the town a few years ago https://rockaroundtheworld.co.uk/2018/01/20/atalaya-cieza/ so decided to check out El Puente. Whilst both are referred to as Cieza, they’re about 20mins apart, with El Puente tucked out of sight in the almond-blossom filled hinterland west of town. Its south-east aspect should be perfect for a hot day, but unfortunately it’s in a ravine which makes for shady belay conditions on the lower part of the crag.

You can’t fail to spot the crag, as they’ve squeezed a newish road onto the opposite wall of the ravine (hard to fathom why – we must have seen half a dozen cars all day!) Makes a great viewing gallery.

Drive 100m beyond the crag to park, then for an atmospheric approach, retrace your steps and hop over the wall just before the crag (cairn) to follow the huge storm drain down to the foot of the wall.

It’s a crag of two halves – the left side has about 20 steep orange offerings, mostly 6c to 7b; whilst the right has another 20 or so grey routes from 5b to 6b.

Here’s Helen on Necropolis, easier than the neighbouring Kebrantahuesos (a real sandbag at 5b) Poema de Vida 5c, and Tambolinazo, 6a, were also very good, with thin starts easing to juggy finales.

Back on the steep side, Mentes Pelegrosas, 6b+, is the stunning entree – unfortunately I’m guessing it gets (ab)used as everyone’s warm up so it is hideously polished.

Buen Rolitto, 7a, takes a line up some very steep orange blobs but then has a stopper move within sight of the chains.

By now we’d been joined by a couple of friendly Spanish lads with an ill disciplined, over-active greyhound. When he wasn’t trying to steal our lunch, Leo kept us amused dashing up through the storm drain to the road, sprinting the couple of hundred metres along it and then tearing back down the far end to the base of the crag. They redeemed themselves by pointing out the tiny laminated topo in one of the larger pockets which helped to fill in the gaps where the odd new route had been done since the guide.

This gives Al Pan Pan y al Diablo Farlopa a 7a grade, which encouraged me not to down tools for the day. Fun, steep climbing and probably a bit soft for 7a really, but who cares?

We left our Spanish friends (and their now-chained dog) struggling on one of the 6cs, and as we waved our departing “Adios” they endeared themselves further: “The climbing here is very hard. You are OK because you are very strong.” Flattery will get you a long way!

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