Last summer some local spaniards developed a new walking trail between Alcazaba and the Puntal de El Goteron and Puntal de Vacares ridge. The old route meant a long diversion round the Loma de la Alcazaba involving much time and height loss (600m). With the passing of the winter snows the route is now open again.
This new path does’t exist in any english or spanish guidebook publications to date. Last Friday we walked the route for the first time (to my knowledge, the first ingleses to do so?). Leaving Alcazaba head down into the Meseta de las Borregas, the shallow valley SE of the summit. Make for the lowest point of the valley, marked by patches of green shrub. Just before the lowest point at the cliff edge you will meet a red marker (plastic circle tied to a rock) and also a cairn. This indicates the start of the descent route.
Initially trend rightwards then back left. Then follow a sloping rake going down rightwards. This whole area has loose scree and rocks and some care should be taken as there are drops below. Do not let this put you off as, surprisingly, there is little exposure. At the end of the sloping rake there is a short section of easy scrambling that takes you below the higher crags and onto safe ground.
The next section is not particularly pleasant. A few cairns mark the way which leads steeply down some 100m and then trends left to follow a horizontal trail between cliffs. The trail keeps level so if the track is faint or lost just keep traversing at the same height. Eventually a corner is reached and the final slopes leading to the base of the Puntal de El Goteron can be seen.
The character of the route changes here as we follow a good path between overhanging rock above and vertical cliffs below. Exposure is minimal though. Within 5 minutes you are back onto a rising scree traverse that leads to the main Sierra Nevada ridgeline.
This is a welcome addition to the trekking routes in the high Sierra Nevada, saving about 300m of re ascent and much time (we reckoned about 1.5hrs).