Overnight in incredibly wild and natural mountain lakeside locations. Ideal trek for hikers and trekkers wanting to "get away from it all"!
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.
‘Inspiring The Adventure’, proclaims Spanish Highs’ blog. And it was reading some of their recent trip reports and looking at photographs on their website that inspired MY latest adventure: a traverse of Spain’s Sierra Nevada mountains taking in as many as possible of the 3,000+ metre peaks (Tres Miles) that I hadn’t already climbed.
The start of the track is on the northern flanks of Veleta above the Sierra Nevada ski station, at "Los Posiciones del Veleta". This can be reached by short walk from the Veleta Chairlift (July and August only) or by autobus from Hoya de la Mora (Albergue de Granada). Of course you could always walk, in which case the ascent from Hoya de la Mora to Posiciones will take 1.5 hours and rise you up 600m to 3100m.
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.
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.
Links the Refugio Cariguela south of Veleta to the Paso de los Machos. It provides a quick by pass of the main track, cutting off a substantial zig zag in the old track, saving 15 minutes walking. Starts at a cairn at the first right bend below the Refugio de Cariguela if going west to east. From east to west the start is via a track to the right just after Paso de los Machos.
We recently came across a little know way through some big cliff scenery in the Sierra Nevada. Not technical, just walking, but in an amazingly exposed situation needing a good head for heights. It's called the "Veredón Inferior".
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.
During the long hot summer one yearns for the cooler temperatures of winter. I came across some photos today reminding me of the night I spent on a pistebasher at the Sierra Nevada ski station.
The route up the south ridge of Mulhacen from the Hoya del Portillo may not be the most exciting in the world but at least it gives a high start point. An early start meant the 8 of us avoided the searing heat of the lower Alpujarras and we had the cool of the morning for the ascent.
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.
The following trip report was sent in by Volker Krenz after a 4 day trek in the Sierra Nevada covering "Los Tres Miles". This is a wonderful high altitude trek covering the major 3000m peaks in the range. We supported him in his self guided trek by dropping him off at high trailheads above Lanjaron.