The jagged ridge of the Raspones provides a high class scramble and mountaineering route to the main ridge line of the Sierra Nevada. It is not done very often, so we decided to check it out.
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:
- From the Refugio de Poqueira – head into the Rio Mulhacen, cross over immediately and begin a rising traverse across the hillside north west. The path emerges high above the Rio Seco. The right hand side off the valley is followed until a crossover to the foot of the Raspones can be made. The wonderful El Pulpito is to the left and the Rio Seco to the right.
- From Pradollano in the summer use can be made of the bus or chairlifts to gain quick access. Follow the old road over the Cariguela until just past the small pass that marks the top end of the Raspones. Drop down to the lagunas de Rio Seco and follow the path of the east side of the valley to the base of the ridge.
We took option 2 but from the Cariguela tried to shortcut it by crossing pathless terrain below Paso de los Machos, near the Lagunas de las Cabras to the west of the ridge and then going north of El Pulpito. Bad move! Great scenery reminiscent of a lunar landscape, but difficult to cross. Suggest stick to options 1 or 2 above.
This is not intended or meant to be a climbing or mountaineering guide to the climb. The fun of the ridge is discovery of all the little nooks, crannies and secrets that it has to offer. Delightful scrambling. Mostly good rock although great care and judgement is sometimes necessary. Similar to many parts of the Skye ridge in Scotland.
Some parts are escapable but the most fun will be had by taking the rock steps direct. Mostly its engaging alpine mountaineering, with some route finding difficulty at times. Take some abseil gear for some apparent dead ends! Suggest a grade of at least 3S (scrambling) and British HVD if the harder options taken. A group we supported during the first British winter ascent in March 2011 suggested a grade of alpine AD- (4a rock). They made 7 abseils.
Can be done in a long day with an early start from Hoya de la Mora, good weather and a fit and experienced party. Otherwise take 2 days, camp by the Lagunas de Rio Seco and enjoy 2 great days in incredible mountain scenery.
It’s a long route too. Just when you think you are at the end and the road is beckoning, an ultimate series of towers block the way. There is an escape to the left down an easy series of ledges and ramps but that would be cheating. And thats the fun. You never quite know whats round the next corner. Try it!