La Merica from Las Pilas. The route uses the spur in the far left
This is one of the two regular routes to La Merica, the more strenuous one from Calera at the mouth of Valle Gran Rey. An old camino heads of one of the western spurs of the mountain, endlessly zigzagging towards the top. The route is not difficult but it gets a lot of sun, even in winter. The best idea is to start in the early hours when the sun hasn't yet risen above Tequergenche in the east. The climb along the spur takes about two hours bottom-up.
In summer the idea is to use the camino as a descent route from La Merica. In that case you better start at Arure, about 100m of elevation beneath the summit of the mesa. Hiking the barren plateau to the spur with the camino still will burn every drop of moisture out of you.
La Merica from Lomo de Harinero, our route is to the right
The route starts at the roundabout south-east of Calera. Just take the Valle Gran Rey road until you reach it. If you intend to go by bus, there''s a big bus station close to the roundabout.
Riscos de La Merica from seen from the lookout spot above the south face
- Start altitude: 50m
- Summit altitude: 855m
- Prevailing exposure: E
- Type: 2-3h
- Protection: None
Effort: 800m elevation gain
Power: 2 - Strenuous
Psyche: 1 - Easy
Orientation: 1 - Easy. If you take the western path along the plateau orientation is a little more tricky but the La Merica summits are visible along the whole way.
From the roundabout head up the Valle Gran Rey road northward on its western side. After 300m you reach an intersection where the main road into Calera turns off left. Head up this road, which separates the two parts of the village. It winds its way up the La Merica slope. After a sharp right U-turn the camino turns off to the left (signs: Arure).It quickly gains elevation and reaches the last houses of the village.
In its first part the camino heads up the mountain in long straight stretches, u-turning at the end and returning all the way back. After a while, however the path gets steeper and you have to scramble over small rocks. The camino very quickly gains elevation, offering beautiful views of Valle Gran Rey, Tequergenche and the island El Hierro far out across the sea.
Shortly before the camino heads out onto the plateau a narrow path heads westward through the south face of La Merica. It heads for a small pine tree beneath which you find a perfect resting place, vertically above the beaches of La Playa at che coast. Return to the camino the way you came or head out onto the plateau where another narrow path also returns to the main trail. As an alternative you can head along the western ridge of the plateau. There are no marks there but the route is rather obvious, given the fact that the summit is clearly visible in the north.
Beneath the summit (marked summit with pillar) the two alternative routes recombine. To reach the summit turn left and close in on it from the north. The real summit is some 300m further north and can only be reached by an exposed scramble, bushwhacking through dwarf pines.
Essential GearHiking gear and lots of water, especially in summer.