A collection of some of the finest and favourite mountaineering quotes of all time
I had done some scrambling and low-grade rock climbing in the past but as a non-climber, I was uncertain as to whether the Raspones ridge was within my capabilities. In November 2012 I would find out, when I was invited to join a Spanish Highs team.
I have been fortunate enough in my life to visit Patagonia 6 times and gaze with wonder and awe at the peak of Cerro Torre. Quite simply, one of the best looking mountains in the world and proof that mountains don't have to be judged in terms of height, as Cerro Torre stands a mere 3128m above sea level.
The east face of Cerro de los Machos is one of the most attractive routes for mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada and although it is infrequently climbed, it is a dream of many. From the base of the face to the summit (3327m) there is at least 300 meters of ascent, some routes there reaching 500 meters.
We were a group of 3. Myself (Richard Hartley of Spanish Highs with two often returning clients, Laurie and Dexter. They are both experienced mountaineers but, like myself, are getting on in years. Laurie the eldest is nearing 70 but bad health has meant his recent mountain trips have had to be curtailed somewhat. We might be "old foggies" but we still always have ambitious plans. This 3 day trip was planned to have a base camp at Siete Lagunas followed by ascents of Alcazaba and Mulhacén.
Learn basic use of ice axe and crampons, simple winter belaying and alpine skills to give you the necessary confidence to go off and enjoy the winters mountains.
A great scrambling route for the experienced mountaineer.
The expedition was beset by unsettled weather and enforced route changes due to unseasonal warm weather.
A report below from Kiersten Rowland of Spanish Highs about her recent scrambling day she had with us on the Tozal del Cartujo in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
In the north-east corner of the Granada province and half an hour to the north of Huescar, the south ridge of La Sagra is advertised as one of the best scrambling routes in Andalucía. Last week Felipe Nieto and I decided to take a look.
It forms part of a north-south ridge and is much visited, being on a popular walking route behind the town of Nerja. I walked this route in January 2015 and impressive as the Almendrón is, I was more intrigued by its little brother, Almendrillo. From the path I thought I could see a stone cairn on the summit and there appeared to be three possible routes of ascent: the first via the north ridge, the second via the much steeper east ridge and the third via the precarious-looking south ridge. Whichever route was taken, it would require a rope of at least two people and more than a little nerve.
Details of our proposed expedition in November 2016 to the Patagonian Icecap to climb the remote peak of Cerro Mariano Moreno (3462m). It is the third highest peak in Patagonia and is rarely climbed. It is the highest summit in the Cordon Mariano Moreno massif, in the centre of the icecap and is accessible only by lengthy trekking over the many glaciers.
The Espolón de la Caldera is in fact the NW ridge of the Puntal de la Caldera, found just to the west of Mulhacén's, Collado de Ciervo, in Spain's Sierra Nevada mountains. It gives a rough and sometimes loose scramble with many possibilities for making the ascent easier or tougher to suit. At it's easiest it's a Grade 2 scramble, and I guess about VD (4/4+) if the steps and pinnacles are taken direct. Difficult and dangerous to descend or escape due to the loose nature of many areas.
A report from Ian Tupman who made his first winter ascent of the NW ridge of the Tozal del Cartujo in Spain's Sierra Nevada in late April 2015 with Spanish Highs guide, Felipe Nieto.
As I stood at the foot of the 300m unnamed gully on Cerro Buitre in the eastern Sierra Nevada I received a phone call detailing the tragic news. A close friend of mine had passed away in sudden and unexpected circumstances. Shocking and terrible news. Wiping away the tears of anger, frustration and sadness, I started up the steep initial snow slopes.
The majority of the classic routes on these faces are of AD standard. Sure there are a few harder climbs and also some for the climber who searches for routes of PD standard. As you can see from this collection of photos there is plenty to go at! In particular the north faces of Alcazaba, Mulhacen, Puntal de la Caldera, Juego de Bolos, Cerro de los Machos and Veleta provide good sport.
Report and some photos from a couple of days ago at 2500m in the Sierra Nevada. With the cold temperatures of recent weeks the "Cascadas de Los Militares" has come into condition. We just had to go and have a look!
A trip report, photos and video links together with some personal thoughts, recommendations and musings after this years expedition to the Patagonian Icecap in November 2014 (by Richard Hartley of Spanish Highs)
Our guides here in the Sierra Nevada are always looking to increase experience and expertise. Thanks to Spanish Highs guide Jens Foell for this report about his recent fulfilling of a dream, that of climbing the incredible "Half Dome" in Yosemite National Park
Grade - Winter – AD (50º) (AD- in good conditions with footsteps to follow!)
In the Sierra Nevada mountains of southern Spain we can expect some bad weather in November. This is normally the month when the major snows fall. We had a three day crossing of the mountain range booked for four clients in the last week of the month. Up to then we had "endured" endless days of blue skies and sunshine.
The expedition was led Berghaus athlete, Julia Pickering, attempting to make the first ski and snowboard climb and descent of the highest active volcano in Kamchatka, Klyutchevskoy Sopka (4750m).
In April 2013, Richard Hartley and Kiersten Rowland of Spanish Highs Mountain Guides are to join a team led by British snowboarder/mountaineer Julia Pickering attempting to become the first people to climb and snowboard down the largest active volcano in the Northern Hemisphere, Kamchatka in far eastern Russia. The team's main sponsor is outdoor clothing and equipment manufacturer, Berghaus.
It sounded good on paper. Approach using skis, climb some simple gullies and then ski out again. But a blocked road meant a longer ski in. Combined with the additional weight for mountaineering kit gave a very long hard day in the Sierra Nevada.
All our snowshoes were out with another group having, as it turned out, a fantastic snowshoeing day. We didn't think we needed them. The overnight snow changed all that. For our 2 day winter alpine skills mountaineering course we were left with having to cope with the mental effort required to wade through knee and at times thigh deep snow.
The Cirque is to be found on the western side of the Cerro Torre massif, at the eastern edge of the great southern icecap which stretches 300 miles long and 50 miles wide between Argentina and Chile. In fact this is the largest piece of ice outside the polar regions.
Three days later we had two guests from Ireland, Richard and John, who’d come for some ski touring. After seeing the pictures of the Raspones they decided to give the ridge a go as well. So we made quite an ambitious plan: ascend Pico Veleta (3394m) from the North on skis, cross over and descend to the Poqueira hut.
This route is not done often, even by the spanish (we know of only 1 other british party that have done the full ridge traverse in winter), so decided it was high time to go and "take a look".
Clive Fenn recently gave his son an incredible 18th birthday present by taking him along the Raspones ridge in Spain's Sierra Nevada mountains. We described the Raspones as the best ridge scramble in Spain and have had much fun here in the past, including some incredible winter mountaineering adventures. It is alpine in nature at or about the 3000m level.
On Friday the Sierra Nevada looked stunning. Javier and Jim set out from the Ventura trailhead above Lanjarón to ascend to the Refugio de Caballo.
We had seen this ridge on our last visit to the Peñón de la Mata when we did a scramble on the north eastern flanks. The long whaleback shape of the west ridge looked interesting, with a somewhat difficult looking start. Trawling the internet found us a few spanish references, which gave us an idea of what was in offer. There were no english references, which suggested that we may be the first english speakers to "discover" this line.
Sometimes a basic snow wall is not sufficient to keep the elements at bay. The wind can drop spindrift on the leeward side thus burying the tents. Is there a solution in the way we can construct snow walls that would make them more efficient?
The Raspones emerges from the upper reaches of the Poqueira gorge, just west of the Rio Seco. It is a long shark fin of a ridge. A serrated ridge with many turrets, twists and turns. Approach is normally made from two directions:
Sometimes you need to do a bit of lateral thinking for your mountain adventures. We might be only two hours from the sun drenched beaches of the Costa del Sol, but there is still some good mountaineering sport to be found. An early alpine start is the chief requirement. The snows are still quite plentiful in the Sierra Nevada, but do become soft and slushy after about 11am. At 6am above 3000m it is hard and icy.
The following article was originally posted by David on his interesting site at http://spreadys.wordpress.com/. Thanks to him for allowing us to reproduce below. The article gives important hints and information to consider when planning a winter trip here. Also links to resources used. You will also find a great video of the trip below
By Gary Brown and his friends of the "Geezers of Croydon" MC. No idea if any Brit/Irish has done this before. Maybe a first British/Irish winter ascent?
Beth and Stephen from Leeds came to the Sierra Nevada with a clear idea of what they wanted to do: winter climbing and mountaineering. However, just after they arrived we met for a drink in Lanjaron: the sun was shining and it was 26C. Up in the mountains that meant the snow was melting fast, whilst the more sheltered North faces were still inaccessible to the high avalanche risk. So our first day climbing was spent in T-shirts rather than belay jackets as we went rock climbing instead.
Against a backdrop of adverse mountain snow conditions we had headed upwards. But what turned out was a day full of surprises as we enjoyed the mountaineering and winter potential of the Sierra Nevada.
The Sierra Nevada makes a wonderful winter holiday destination. Most people though are only aware of the downhill skiing opportunities, based at Pradollano on the northern slopes of the range above Granada. However, during the winter months from December to May when snow is in abundance there are many more ways for you to enjoy this winter wonderland.
We spent a cold night in the ruins of the relatively unknown Cebollar Refugio 2500m in the heart of the Sierra Nevada. High in the Rio Chico valley above Orgiva in the Alpujarras lies the ruins of the Refugio Cebollar. Access is normally via either the forest area at Puente Palo (1700m) or via the high track to La Pluca above the western side of Capileira.
Rough and narrow tracks cross steep ground but provide rapid ways between the north side of Alcazaba and Laguna de la Mosca at the foot of Mulhacens north face. This saves the long detour east round the eastern buttresses of Alcazaba and Mulhacen via Siete Lagunas.
Yes, I know it's June, but there is still plenty of snow fun to be had in the Sierra Nevada. An early start meant we managed to catch the best snow conditions and had a great days climbing around the Cerro de Caballo above Lanjaron in the Alpujarras.
Outside the tapas bars of Lanjaron temperatures reached 30 degrees. 2500m above we donned our duvet jackets as an icy wind tore across the white snow filled plateau. Such are the contrasts this year in southern Spain's Sierra Nevada, a legacy of the worst winter weather in living memory.
Sometimes chance plays a part in opening up a new mountain experience. A fully booked Poqueira hut gave our party the chance of an alpine start followed by a glorious sunrise as they summited Mulhacen, at 3482m, the highest mountain in the Sierra Nevada, Spain.
Rescued trekkers and climbers are to be charged the cost of recovery if they are found to have acted in what is deemed to be an unreasonable or negligent way, say the spanish government. This is to be implemented from the beginning of October 2009.
Report from Jane Fields on her experiences on the Patagonian Icefield Expedition in 2010 Rolling across the Patagonian Steppe on un-surfaced roads on a crowded bus was how this journey began. Nothing for miles but open grassland and hills on the horizon. My daydreams were interrupted by a stop at an Inn in the middle of nowhere where we were treated to coffee and delicious home-made cakes.
Things conspired against us from the start. A red wine or two more than we should have the night before, a late start and adverse weather. We parked the car above Capileira and made our way up the Poqueira Gorge on the normal route to the Refugio Poqueira. We had no real agenda other than to have a good time in the mountains.