Ascent of Canchal de la Ceja on 2009-10-10

Climber: Lee Newton

Date:Saturday, October 10, 2009
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Canchal de la Ceja
    Elevation:7963 ft / 2427 m

Ascent Trip Report

Locating the trailhead was almost as tricky as climbing the hill. The nearest town is Bejar about 110km Sw of Avila. When driving from Avila do not (as I did) take the obivous shortcut direct from Navacarros to Candelario (unless of course you are driving a narrow car and enjoy extremely steep cobble streets with deep open gutters). Instead continue into Bejar and turn left up the main road to Candelario. As you enter Candelario you will pass a Chocolateria which was still open at 2.30am on a Friday night and reach a junction. Turn right and contour round the hillside passing a church. As you come to the edge of the village a hairpin uphill (left) is clear and signposted La Plataforma and El Travieso. Continue uphill for 10km or so, crossing a large parking area with Hostal until the metalled road runs out and you are at a large, rough, parking place. This is the trailhead, Mirador El Travieso, altitude about 1860m (3 to 3.5 hours from Madrid Barajas airport).

From the trailhead multiple paths snake uphill, rejoining and splitting at regular intervals. All lead in the right direction and come together again just before the ridgecrest where the main path leads just west of south. At the first obvious top there is a contour path on the L (E) side but it is also trivial to take in the summit. A short descent follows before a slightly steeper reascent to the fine summit of Canchal de la Ceja, perched on the edge of a steep corrie headwall with massive granite boulders below. An odd metal rocket on a stick marks the spot. Took me about 2 hours at a reasonably leisurely pace. From there the descent is trivial but that would be missing the best bit of this mountain..

Instead descend southwest towards El Torreon del Calvitero. The path passes some nice cliffs (reminiscent in form of the Northern Corries of the Cairngorms in Scotland) and sreascends more steeply up a bouldery ridge. From the top there is a steep step to be negotiated before the summit of El Torreon and there are 3 choices. The marked route goes down to the left to the top of a gully protected by a chain. The easiest variant (perhaps necessary under snow) would be to descend further left for 100m and circumvent the crag completely. It is also possible, with some considerable exposure simply to go straight off the end (slightly on the RHS). Not knowing this at the time I descended the chain and came back direct to see if it would go (yes). The fine summit has 2 summits of almost equal height, a big granite tor (easy scramble) and a built stone pyramid with the trig on top which could feasibly have been built to intentionally overtop the tor.

For the full experience decend west towards the fine towers that were so prominent in the view during the ascent and use a combination of track, animal tracks and open hillside to contour back round to the car park. However, it is probably easier to descend by the route of ascent. A fine day out!
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3088 ft / 940 m
    Total Elevation Loss:3088 ft / 941 m
    Round-Trip Distance:8.7 mi / 14 km
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Beautiful autumn day, beware sunburn even in October!
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2104 ft / 641 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 1861 ft / 568 m; Extra: 243 ft / 74m
    Loss on way in:243 ft / 74 m
    Distance:3.1 mi / 5 km
    Route:Normal trail
    Start Trailhead:Mirador El Travieso  6102 ft / 1859 m
    Time:2 Hours 0 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2845 ft / 867 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 1861 ft / 568 m; Extra: 984 ft / 299m
    Gain on way out:984 ft / 299 m
    Distance:5.6 mi / 9 km
    Route:Via El Torreon de Calvitero
    End Trailhead:Mirador El Travieso  6102 ft / 1859 m
    Time:3 Hours 

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