The Mines Climb
CLIMB CATEGORY - HC
Length of climb - 13.2km
Summit elevation - 1,368M
Start elevation - 523M
Elevation gain - 845M
Gradient (avg) - 6%
Starting just outside Torvizcon and finishing near Busquístar, this 13.2km climb is far from easy. The first 10km are relentless, hovering around 5-7%. There are 200m of downhill at kilometer 10 before you head into the last three steep kilometers of the climb. These last kilometers maintain a gradient of 10%
The road is well surfaced and traffic is minimal. As you climb up in the direction of one of Spain's highest villages- Trevelez, the views never disappoint, as the mountains of the Alpujarras rise up around you. As you reach the last section of the climb look out for the mines on your right hand side.
At the top of the climb sits the El Conjuro Mines. These mines were originally used in Moorish times for the extraction of iron. The mining activity in the Conjuro began in earnest in the 19th century, with the mine eventually being abandoned in 1974. These mines have quite an interesting history, with their development in the 19th century strained by the lack of a rail system in the area. The province itself was marginalized by said lack of rail system. This was compounded by the difficulty in building a rail system in the difficult landscape of the Alpujarras The mining boom in Southern Spain in the 19th century eventually led to the creation of "The Iron Roads of the South of Spain", which was funded by a group of Spanish-French investors. Railroads were built but promptly destroyed by landslides arising from heavy rains.
The mines began to fall into trouble in 1964 as they ran out of ore to extract. The aerial cable that had been used to transport material was frequently in trouble as a result of high winds, with wagon derailments commonplace. Iron extraction eventually ground to a halt in 1974. At present a small amount of aggregates are extracted from the south side of the hill.