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Ascension to the Cancho from Navalguijo (El Gredos more inhospitable)

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The ascension to the Cancho It is one of the most inhospitable routes of all Gredos. A mountain quite apart from man and where to find a hiker is not always easy. It is undoubtedly the part of the Sierra de Gredos where we will most enjoy nature by observing the typical mountain goats, roe deer and the most elusive foxes.


Ascension to the Cancho from Navalguijo

Ascension to the Cancho from Navalguijo

24 hours before embarking on the ascent to the Cancho, we were debating from what location we were going to start, or from Navalguijo or by Navalonguilla. The scheduled day announced the possibility of snow from 12 in the morning, accompanied by a good storm that would arrive 6 hours later, so doing the route in the shortest possible time was a factor to consider. This was the trigger to choose Navalguijo as departure point and save us some kilometers. Coincidentally this town is the same one we use to carry out the route to Covacha, the highest peak in the western area of ​​Gredos, so we knew part of the road.

We start on the 08:30 AM after a copious breakfast in Barco de Ávila. The sun was beginning to rise high in the mountains and for now the sky was completely clear. Ahead we had about 10 kilometers to the top and about 1200 meters of unevenness, not counting that then we would have to return.


Ascension to the Cancho from Navalguijo

The beginning of the road starts from a dirt track whose access is exclusive by the owners of the adjacent farms. However, it is very short, about a kilometer and a half, ending in a stream and where a narrow path begins only for hikers. The truth, that this part of the route to the Cancho is very light, with hardly rises and where we will constantly have a river on our left that descends from the Knights Gorge.


Ascension to the Cancho from Navalguijo

This part of the ascent to the Cancho lacked snow and was quite flooded. This was due to the last great snowfall in the area and whose snow had already been removed by high temperatures. They are at least 5 kilometers without penalty or glory until you reach the Lanchón chorrera, a waterfall that falls more than 100 meters high and that we use as a point to cross the river on our left.


Ascension to the Cancho from Navalguijo

After passing them really cannons to cross it since it was completely runaway, we began to climb the mountain on the left side that goes up the throat of the Cancho, where the famous Pulpit. We would pass this a certain distance since our mission was the Cancho.


Ascension to the Cancho from Navalguijo

The snow began to appear from 1500 meters and although the temperature was high, it was completely freezing. Moment in which we decided to put on crampons to avoid unnecessary falls and accelerate our passage. In addition the place from where we placed them became an excellent viewpoint of mountain goats.


Ascension to the Cancho from Navalguijo

Armed with our crampons we continue the path following the slope of the mountain and avoiding moving too far to the right, where there is a steep slope. It is there when we begin to see Covacha, the lagoon of the knights and the Devil's Corral, another mountain that brings us great memories.


Ascension to the Cancho from Navalguijo

Below, in the throat of the Cancho we can see the remains of an avalanche of great proportions that had occurred after separating some snow plates on the mountain. It was just then that the sky closed for half an hour and began to snow heavily. Then the sun rose again to stay with us until the end of the route.


Ascension to the Cancho from Navalguijo

Continuing the path we go up to a rocky hill at 2112 meters high and go down to the porthole of Guarro. Don't ask me why it's called like that ...


Ascension to the Cancho from Navalguijo

From there we passed a good ice plate whose fall could stam us against the Pulpit several hundred meters below. Our mind was on something else, to start the crest that would take us to the pitch through the Fat Bun.


Ascension to the Cancho from Navalguijo

The ridge had to be very careful not to approach the edges.Castile on our right side and on the left we had to Estremadura short distance. From below we saw how several plates had collapsed and many others would sooner or later. The bad thing about not approaching was not being able to see the wonderful views, but life is much more worth it.


Ascension to the Cancho from Navalguijo

That's what we think when we reach the foot of the court, meters after passing the Fat Moncho. We were 2260 meters high and the court alone did not separate a few meters. The bad thing those meters were not easy. An almost vertical wall of snow and excessively fragile ice did not prevent it and by not carrying rope in our backpacks we decided to be intelligent and not to risk.


Ascension to the Cancho from Navalguijo

For us the goal was already achieved and the Cancho conquered. A few meters are nothing, but for the next time we will attack on the right side of the throat of the Cancho, much more accessible.


Ascension to the Cancho from Navalguijo

Practical data

When to make the route to the Cancho?

It is a long route and in winter it can become very hard if snow abounds and is soft. 8 hours is more or less what is needed but it is certainly when the mountain is more beautiful. Spring may be another good time, but in summer having other routes like theCovachaand the Laguna de los Caballeros very close may stay in the background.

How to get to Navalguijo?

We have to get to Barco de Avila (Avila) and from there go to Navalonguilla where the road to Navalguijo leaves.

What to wear

Route made in winter and where it is recommended to take the following.

  • Long pants, thermal shirt and fleece (Winter only).
  • Cap against the incense sun.
  • Much water. There is no water in part of the road
  • Winter hat and gloves.
  • Good semi rigid or rigid boots.
  • Backpack of at least 30l
  • Trekking sticks.
  • Crampons and Piolet.
  • Rope to solve the final step.
  • Map/GPS. Without this, don't even show up. As a GPS, our recommendation is Garmin GPS 64

Where to sleep?

There is a shelter at the beginning of the throat of the Cancho.

Other routes through this area of ​​Gredos


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