El Camorro Alto

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Maybe you lose something if you amend things written with post-walk beery euphoria, but I decided the next morning our consensus 'a magnificent taming of a wilderness' (yeah - and tomorrow we're off to the South Pole) needed to be toned down to 'a wonderful mountain, hard work and worth it'.

The walk starts (and ends) with a gentle stroll in through farms of olives and almonds (hey, they really do harvest by shaking the tree and catching them in a net - see Picture 4) before the upward toil begins. As you start to ascend, the path through the limestone boulders is at first a little indistinct, but your objectives are obvious after the first phase 'base camp' at Puerto de la Escaleruela is gained, where you have a choice (of sorts).

The point at which a walk becomes a scramble is difficult to categorise. Personally I think that when your hand needs to touch rock, this status should be bestowed on the outing hitherto enjoyed as a walk. However, I will concede that scrambling can be categorised as easy and difficult. In my view easy (and acceptable) scrambling is sometimes using your hands to steady yourself and to pull yourself up the occasional boulder. Most importantly, acceptable scrambling is when, should you slip, your body remains at exactly the same spot on the mountain and you injure nothing other than dignity. Hard (and unacceptable) scrambling is when, should you slip, your momentary lapse of concentration removes you from your hard-gained position and deposits you at an altitude considerably lower, with the injury to your dignity being the last thing you are concerned about. This is your choice at Puerto de la Escaleruela.

You may, as my companions did, opt for the limestone ridge and if you think the sort of walk where 'It was a bit windy when we were climbing up overlooking that drop off the cliff but there were plenty of handholds' is the kind of walk for you, I'm sure you'll enjoy it. If however, you do not want vertiginous terror to spoil your pleasant day out you will walk round the ridge and approach the summit from the south-west. Here, it is true, you will still find a stiff climb for a couple of hundred metres or so, but nothing that would deter you on say, Great Gable in The Lakes or Tryfan in Snowdonia.

Either way, at the summit you will decide that it was worth it. On three sides mountains stretch away from you as far as you can see: El Torcal to the east in the immediate foreground, El Chorro to the west a little further away and The Montes de Malaga and the Guadalhorce Valley extending to the coast in the south. I have seen the snow-capped Sierra Nevada from further away and at lower altitude, so I would have expected that also but because of the haze, it was the only (small) disappointment of the day.

Spain - Southern Spain - Malaga - Sierra del Torcal


Birds, Great Views, Mountains

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