With good snow sure conditions from January to May, the Sierra Nevada is one of the best areas to learn the basics of travelling through the high mountains on skis. Hard to believe it is only 2 hours from Marbella! It is backcountry skiing at its finest. We run both beginners courses and also trips for the more experienced tourer.
More info about the ski touring potential here at http://spanishhighs.com/ski-touring-sierra-nevada.html
This has been a generally poor ski touring year in the Sierra Nevada but yesterday we did the west flank of Cerro de Caballo, above Nigüelas. A superb ski day!
Let's face it, most of us are not daredevil skiers. We don't really want to be hurtling down some ridiculously steep slope chased by an avalanche! Yes we want to be tested, be prefer the wide open, quiet and remote mountains where the only noise is the sound of skins gliding across the snows as we ascend to our peak. We access the conditions for the way down and try to judge when best to time the descent. When it comes, the descent is without drama, just the exhilarating movement of skis across snow. This is my kind of backcountry ski touring!
Well, we have had a superb snow year in the Sierra Nevada and at the beginning of June the snow on some faces still lay deep and consolidated. To be honest I had hung up my skis for the summer, but a chance encounter with a photo from a blog post by Ian Tupman showed the east face of Mulhacen to be laden with the white stuff. The plan began to form.
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).
Nothing beats ski touring up and down a mountain (skijoring) with man's best friend, in my case our husky, named "Khumbu"! Spain's Sierra Nevada mountains offer many opportunities for backcountry skiing with or without our four legged friends.
Snow affected access tracks meant we only had a thin ribbon of snow in the gully to ascend and descend the mountain but it turned out to be a superb ski tour in wild and quiet surroundings in a little known area of the Sierra Nevada. Not sure it has ever been skied before either?
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.
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.
The week before had been warm. Granada basking in 30 degree heat. The snow had retreated uphill. We aimed to start low at 1800m but would we still find good ski touring on the southern slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountains?
Report and photos from our guide, Jens Foell and clients, who found out recently after a frustrating few days weather led eventually to a marvelous descent in perfect powder snow conditions.
The forecast wasnt good which is why we had large smiles when we arrived at the Hoya de la Mora to find perfect weather and snow conditions. Sure, the winds were high, but the sun and gleaming white snows more than compensated.
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 have just had a week long visit by members of the Eagle Ski Club to Spain's Sierra Nevada. A good weeks ski touring was had, despite some adverse weather affecting some of the itinerary. During the week the party skied Mulhacen, the highest peak in mainland Spain.
Mulhacen is a magnificent ski touring peak. What ski descents are available for backcountry skiing enthusiasts? As can be seen from our trail map below, there are options for all grades of skier. Easier ways for the beginner or for marginal snow conditions, and tougher runs for the more experienced on good days.
We set off from the recreation centre at Puente Palo in the Alpujarras. I was disappointed to find that the high temperatures of the previous week had affected the snow pack and we had to walk up through the forest track carrying the skis and boots. Not quite what I had in mind. After 45 minutes however, the snow on the track began to thicken and it wasn't long before we donned our boots, skins and skis. We skinned up though the remaining forest before emerging into a beautiful white landscape.