Friday, 5 July 2013

Navachica a Medditeranean summit

In early June before it got too hot to do much I climbed Navachica. At 1834m it is the highest summit in the Sierra Almijara area of the Axarquia ranges and sits inland of Nerja. Starting from the El Pinarillo picnic area inland from the famous Nejra caves the route follows a number of dry barancos;- los Cazadores, la Charca and del Rey. The route follows an old mule trail which served a number of mines in the area, passing mine entrances at the track side. In its heyday this area must have been a hive of activity with a clear track running the length of the valley. Now with the route having been recently re way-marked we follow a less well maintained rocky path with the occasional short scramble up rock steps in the river bed. From the head of the baranco del Rey, the climb makes a tortuous ascent to meet a slightly easier line to the final summit. The guide book gives an ascent of 1,300m which makes this one of the biggest routes in the region and not to be undertaken lightly. Whilst my book described a return using the ascent, it also hinted at a number of more ‘’interesting’’ ways off. I chose to head due south from the summit along a route that I had spied during the climb. Heading toward the Med I descended toward El Puerta. What path there was limited to very vague lines through vegetation across easy ground. The route led to the top of a steep section of rock which I had noted during the ascent and had thought would be the crux. I had presumed it could be by passed on the far side, no such luck. There was a small cairn marking a vague descent line down through loose and quite steep ground and with a bit of shuffling around and backtracking occasionally the route did ‘go’ and reverted back to a reasonably clear trail. From here the path ran along a narrow ridge with some huge drops to the west into the upper section of the Rio Chillar valley. The north ridge of an unnamed 1,440m summit just north of la Puerta offered an exhilarating scramble before I returned to the normal route and a long descent back to the car. A great route for cooler days at the end of the year.