Well, didn’t make it to Sierra Nevada in the end – instead we climbed to the very top of Torrecilla, the highest peak in Sierra de las Nieves – over 8 hours!
The Sierra Nevada trip was going to involve staying the night in a cave and I thought we stopped doing that a few millions years back! Returning to the heart of the Sierra de las Nieves, it was great to see that the Junta de Andalucia has really improved the signage for the routes in the area.
I recalled how the last time we attempted to reach the summit, we failed as we took a wrong turn and lost valuable time and only managed the first stage (October 15, 2006). This time we arrived early…in fact when we drove up to the park entrance, right in the middle of the road was a pair of wild boar – black beasts with little tusks and they had such a muscular stance on the road, but then quickly legged it into the undergrowth.
It was also really rewarding to see some major investment in protecting the rare plant life including the Pinsapo tree – a sort of dinosaur tree that has supposedly stopped evolving and is therefore super rare. In fact as well as these compact spruce there are some amazing ancient pines
and cedars that hug the mountainside as you climb.
The going is pretty tough and steep in places, but there are superb views across to Ronda and beyond and as you get higher, to Gibraltar
and the Costa del Sol from the other side. Plus overhead, at this height you are almost guaranteed to see vultures and golden eagles as well as more common Jays and Black Wheatears amongst the oaks below.
There are plenty of places to stop, take in the view and catch your breath.
but don’t be tempted to eat too much until you’ve made it to the summit, as the last bit is really steep and demanding and with a full stomach it would be impossible!
It was a great feeling to make it and place a stone at the summit. Once down at the bottom we have coffee and cake! But I realised I had really caught the sun.
It’s a good 3 – 4 hours going up plus the same coming down, so you’re out for over 8 hours.
We got back to the car before sunset and headed for a small hostel/hotel in Juzcar and had a few drinks and some great home-cooked food. I don’t think I’m happier than when I am on one of my tree-hugging days out!
GETTING TO LA TORRECILLA:
The mountain can be reached from the Ronda side of the Sierra de las Nieves or the Yunquera side. On this trip we accessed the mountain by taking the A397 Ronda road from he coast and then at around km12 and 13 took the right hand turning, signposted Sierra del Las Nieves, La Torrecilla and also Los Quejigale camping etc. There is parking here and your can start the hike. Click here for details on the camping.
If you have a 4 x 4 you cannot access the mountain, as most of the year the track is closed due to restrictions on access to prevent fires, but you can take the track down past the Pinosapo natural monument and also carry on through the Sierra de la Nieves park all the way to Tolox.