Whilst still waiting for the snow to arrive I took advantage of the good weather to do a mountain that has been on my list for a long time. La Maroma ( The Rope) is the large limestone mountain that lies NE of Velez Malaga. At a 2,068m it offers a great open ridge walk with views down to and across the med. to the south or back toward the Sierra Nevada and other ranges inland.
There are a number of popular ascent routes up this mountain. Two come up from the from the western end above Lake Vineula however the route which is easiest to access form Lanjaron is the one from La Robledal (the oak grove) which lies to the North East of the range itself. El Robladal , is an area of mixed forest with native oaks and pine, there is a camp site here and picnic areas. Higher up the route are yew trees which are quite rare with young specimens being protected by fencing on the upper slopes of the mountain. The car park at El Robladal can be accessed from Alhama de Granada or from Arenas de Rey both routes requiring some driving along tracks.
The ascent route itself is well way marked and starts easily enough as it follows forest tracks to eventually revert to a small path through the tress as the more serious ascent begins. The route eventually emerges form the forest and climbs more broken ground which leads to a very pleasant and rocky traversing section below the final slopes at a area called Salto de Caballo ( horseman’s leap). Once through this rocky traverse the route opens up as you crest the ridge to get views south to the coast.
Here a very steep path comes up from the countryside above Sedella just to join our route. There is then a a quite exposed section with a steep drop to our left as the route crosses a narrow spine of rock at Cortados de Maroma. From here cairns mark the final ascent across an open expanse of limestone blocks.
The summit marker is an obvious 3m high stone spire with rungs up the front to allow you to get even higher. I must say from where I sat and had lunch I’m sure it isn’t actually on the highest point which seemed to me to be at the eastern end of the ridge. The summit was quite crowded when I got there with walkers coming up from both ends of the ridge. A full traverse of the mountain seems feasible if you can arrange cars for pick ups and would make a good walk into a great one as unfortunately I had to return the way I came.