Please look after our mountain refuges in the Sierra Nevada

An open letter to the mindless, thoughtless, “people” who litter, defacate and ultimately ruin our glorious mountain refuge heritages here in Spain’s Sierra Nevada

Leer en Español

To all you mountaingoers out there who read this. A plea from the heart! When you stay at any unguarded refuge in the Sierra Nevada would you kindly:

Leave no trace

Leave no trace

1. Please take all your litter away with you. This is simple. Easy. Then why the hell are we still finding loads of trash around? If you really want to help, then take a plastic bag up to the refuge with you and help extract offending litter.

2. Please do not defacte or urinate in the vicinity of the refuge, especially not in it (yes true!). Go well away from the hut, well away from water sources, dig a hole and do your business. Cover it up with natural stones and rocks. You could even take it away with you I guess?

Andy Bissaker recently found a frozen turd in a room adjacent to the main room at the Elorietta. Thankfully he extracated the offending article and dealt with it properly.

Zach Arnold was disgusted at the defacation left frozen on top of the snow by the Refugio de Cariguela.

What is it with everybody? Respect required!

Refugio de Caballo

Refugio de Caballo

3. Dont leave half empty cartons of red wine or food for the next visitor (this may be a bit controversial). Yes, I know this can be very welcoming and friendly thing to do. BUT, in the summer when I helped restore the Refugio de Caballo with Accion Sierra Nevada we came across these half empty cartons and I can assure you I was not tempted to have a swig of wine. The food could have got up and walked away on it’s own!

The result? We had to carry the stuff away and off the mountain. It’s ultimately rubbish. I say, let each be responsible for their own actions.

4. Please support Accion Sierra Nevada

This initiative has been steadily gaining support. The Cerro de Caballo refuge was greatly improved through their efforts last summer. Now we have it clean, tidy and a door. It is nearly weatherporoof and a great place to spend a night in the mountains.

This next summer a initiative will be made to renovate the Refugio Elorietta. This is a much bigger project and a lot of funds and effort will be required to achieve the objective. If you love the Sierras please help via either donations or labour.

Visit the Accion Sierra Nevada website

5. Wild camping in the park

Whilst here I thought I would also state the official regulations regarding wild camping in the Sierra Nevada National Park

The Consejeria de Medio Ambiente of Andalucia states the following with regard to wild camping in the Sierra Nevada National Park.

  • It is permitted to bivouac or wild camp overnight anywhere in the park
  • You cannot spend more than 1 night in the same location
  • Tents should be erected only after the sun has set and taken down before the sun rises
  • Groups of more than 3 tents and/or 15 persons must seek prior permission from the park authorities
  • Not permitted to camp within 500m of guarded huts, tarmac roads or forest roads
  • Not permitted to camp within 50m of lagunas (lakes) or borreguiles (high wet lands)
  • Not permitted to camp within the Centursa ski boundary
  • Not permitted to camp in forest zones in periods of high fire risk 1st June to 15th October
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