More Mula – Above (Pasillo) and Below (La Presa) the Dam

We hadn’t expected to return to Mula so soon, but I had a belated leaf through Donde Escalar before we started our journey north, and spotted a new “featured crag”. Pasillo gets a 5 carabiner rating and a one-page topo – a cast iron guarantee of a “must-visit” crag and a good reason for one last foray south.

Part of the attraction of Pasillo is its all-day shade, so we decided to warm up at Sector La Presa. As the name suggests, this is near the dam (in fact damn near the dam…. in fact directly beneath it!)

The parking couldn’t be handier (though apparently it can be boggy when wet) http://maps.google.com/maps?q=38.0600494,-1.4863507

The crag itself is very much a story of two halves – the chunk immediately above the parking and nearest the dam is steepish, orange and pockety, with routes from 6a to 7b. There was a Brit couple there being gently toasted, and the routes looked a little well-used. Over on the right is a pleasant grey slab with grades from 3 to 5c. Linking the two is a rather ramshackle wooden walkway, which you belay from on a number of the orange routes. Beware of holes!

Helen recommended Junko as the best of the bunch, and did a couple of the others. Pleasant quality for the grade and perfect gentle exercise for an “active” rest day.

Time to head for the shade – Passilo is covered in the Levante Sud book as well as Donde Escalar. We were slightly confused where to park, as there are conflicting road signs that suggest that you can’t walk or drive across the dam, yet the parking is at a very attractive picnic area just over the dam, in the middle of the “no go” area. We decided “when in Mula” and ignored the signs as the locals were doing. You get a great view of the crag from the dam:

… and it is easily accessed down steel steps just at the end of the dam, a couple of minutes from the parking. It’s a really impressive and slightly surreal spot, with a waterside pinnacle forming one side of a mini canyon, with more extensive rock layered in two tiers on the landward side. With the attendant palm trees and blue water you could convince yourself you’re in Thailand!

We were adopted by a couple of locals and when I explained that I only had time for a couple of routes they kindly determined my itinerary. I should warm up on Guilt 6b+ (tough – a bit polished on white, crimpy rock – reminiscent of Peak Limestone) then drop down to the pinnacle and try Un Higo Testigo, 7a. This had the appeal of being predominantly a crack line, but the disadvantage of being a stupendously steep one! Here’s me pausing for breath as the crack steepens and I just about managed to cling on for the onsight, much to our new friends’ approval.

Here he is projecting Martin Pirulero, 8a.

Definitely a crag to come back for, especially on a hot day, with around 80 routes across a range of grades from 4s to 8s (though probably only a couple of days’ worth below 6c). Another good DE find.

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